Top Thirty Rated Municipal Golf Courses by Golf.comu

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By Chuck Z

  • 14 Replies
  1. Chuck Z

    Chuck Z
    Mt Pleasant, SC


    In this months issue of Golf Magazine they released their rated top thirty municipal golf courses and our recently renovated "muni" came in number 19. Something we who play their on a regular basis are proud of but now are finding it harder to get tee times. If you are heading to the Ocean Course it is on the left as you head down Maybank Hwy from Charleston. Come on by and say hello. Am there every M, W, F with my senior group (The Rascals). One hint to make you day easier, DO NOT FIRE AT THE FLAG. The greens have not matured.

  2. Mike M

    Mike M
    Salem MA

    Thank you Chuck.Could be heading to the Charleston area the first week in October. I'll keep you posted.....
  3. Chuck Z

    Chuck Z
    Mt Pleasant, SC

    Mike, this appeared in our local paper sports section this morning, following up on the article. Quote:

    "It’s not surprising to see the Ocean Course, Harbour Town, Yeamans Hall and others making the “best of” lists of national golf course rankings. But Lowcountry golfers got a welcome surprise June 9 when Charleston Muni showed up in a national ranking of top municipal courses., the online version of GOLF Magazine, released its first ranking of the 30 best municipal golf courses in America.

    Charleston Municipal Golf Course, which just reopened following a year-long renovation, is No. 19 on a list that includes Torrey Pines, site of next week’s U.S. Open, and other major championship venues including Bethpage Black and Chambers Bay.

    “It’s a big honor, no doubt, and I’m excited, especially this early on,” said James Island resident and golf architect Troy Miller, who helped spearhead the renovation project. “We’ve only been open since December and those things go into publication and production 60 days ahead of when they’re released. So we’re only talking about a small sample size of people who’ve actually had a chance to see it. I’m excited that the early response has been as good as it has.

    +2Top 30 You Can Play: Ocean Course among handful of Kiawah golf courses on SC list
    Top 30 You Can Play: Ocean Course among handful of Kiawah golf courses on SC list
    The Ocean Course on Kiawah Island, site of the 2021 PGA Championship in May, rates atop the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel’s list of the state’s “Top 30 You Can Play.”

    “I think it speaks to how important municipal golf is on a national level today and how much energy is going toward that.”

    Miller, who grew up playing Charleston Muni, said he and others who have played the course for years knew that the course had great bones and the potential was there for being recognized as a great golf course. But it was a lot of hard work by a lot of people, particularly the Friends of the Muni organization, which has raised approximately $750,000 to match the City of Charleston’s $1.5 million investment in the renovation.

    In releasing its list, said: “Though the game itself can never be mastered, one thing is for sure – the most affordable way to pursue our sport is by playing municipal golf courses. For that reason, none of our course rankings is, arguably, more important than this one, the first such compilation of munis ever put together by GOLF.”

    The rankings include some names familiar to fans of professional golf and some courses you’ve probably never heard of.

    Heading the list is Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, N.Y., which hosted the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens and the 2019 PGA, and will be the site of the 2025 Ryder Cup Matches. Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington, which held the 2015 U.S. Open, is second. Third is George Wright, a Donald Ross design in Hyde Park, Mass. Bethpage Red, the sister course to Bethpage Black, is fourth while this year’s U.S. Open site, Torrey Pines, is fifth.

    Charleston Muni, at No. 19, follows the Torrey Pines North Course. Wilmington (N.C. ) Municipal, is No. 21 on the list. notes that Miller’s “highly regarded renovation... paid homage to architect Seth Raynor (who designed the nearby Country Club of Charleston and Yeamans Hall Club) with grass-faced bunkers and memorable green complexes. The former were expanded with contours added to resemble famous templates, including the Redan, Punch Bowl, Biarritz, Road and Eden. The long views, especially on the back nine, are most attractive, but it is the strongly contoured greens that steal the show. With a location just 10 minutes from downtown, booking a tee time can be tougher than breaking par.”

    The publication also recognized Charleston Municipal for its affordability. The fee is $20 (walking) for locals, which is second only to the $15 residents pay at Wailua in Hawaii. In contrast, it was pointed out that it can cost $289 to play at Chambers Bay and the non-resident fee at Torrey Pines can go as high as $252 ($78 for San Diego residents).

    Miller said that while some have complained that the “new” Charleston Municipal is difficult, he was happy to see Charleston Ladies City Amateur winner Emily Rapp shoot a 4-under-par 68 in the final round, including a sizzling 31 on her final nine holes.

    “I think there’s a steep learning curve and Emily showed that pretty well,” Miller said. “You have to learn where to hit it and where not to hit it. I think the biggest compliment you can give a golf course is that you have to think your way around it. There’s no doubt that today you have to think your way around Charleston Municipal.”"

    The new Superintendent was formerly employed as the super at the Turtle Point course at Kiawah Island and is doing a great job maintaining the "muni'. Hopefully the greens will soften up sometime between by the end of this year and next spring and make our approaches more manageable. You definitely need to have you head in your game at the muni. The mayor recently announced that all "local" kids under 18 play free with a paid adult.
    The First Tee program is strong in our area and this is one step in the City of Charleston's support of the program.

  4. Chuck Z

    Chuck Z
    Mt Pleasant, SC

    The City Amateur Champion in 2021 shot six over and the champion in 2019 before the makeover shot 13 under.
    Nineteen strokes is a big difference. The golf architect is a regular in our tournaments and was twenty over for the first two days this year and no carded the third day. In 2019 he was 17 over for three days and is probably a six handicap. Maybe he should have not made it so hard. I feel that a muni should be playable by all levels which is not because of the degree of difficulty of the greens. The tourists are paying $80 plus dollars to find out how hard it is. If you play it do not aim at the flag. 100 is common for those who have never played it. The layout is great and it can be fun, because I play it three days a week. Knowing where to hit it can make the difference in your score.
  5. Don O

    Don O
    Madison, WI

    Great news about the local muni.

    Mike Kaiser, Jr (son of Sr. and now runs Bandon, etc) has fully capitalized a rebuild of a 9 hole muni in Madison, WI. Quality muni’s provide the easiest exposure to golf. Too many have either closed or are so under capitalized they don’t provide a good experience. Hopefully more benefactors or local leaders will see a need to continue to view the value to the overall community by retaining golf courses and not converting to park land and/or more housing.
  6. Chuck Z

    Chuck Z
    Mt Pleasant, SC

    The Jenkins family who leased the land to the City of Charleston in 1929, for one dollar, had a stipulation that it must always be a municipal golf course with affordable rates for city residents. If it ever changed then it would go back to the family. No homes or other development could ever occur on the property other than improvements to the course. It is also known as The Jenkins Links. This is a fail safe preventing the city from developing it. All of the employees at the golf course are city employees, including the head and assistant pro, plus the director of golf. It is run totally by the city. All three are teaching pros, plus they have two additional part time teaching pros who work in the pro shop. Lessons (group sessions and individual) are a big part of the programs offered at the course. As stated, tee times are a premium. Almost impossible to walkup and get a tee time as you could in the past. The greens are sweet and after this year of grow in they should be pristine. Now if we could teach people how to repair balls marks and rake traps. It is a privilege to play golf not a right to not take care of the course. Just sayin' with respect.
  7. scooterhd


    Nice find. Great list. Has me thinking about my travels. Nice to see a course in my neighborhood on there -Papago #15.
  8. I love supporting muni tracks, and it's easy to do when you get to play the ones on this list!

    Grateful for getting to four of these (Chambers, Gold Mountain, Corica, and Papago) and hoping to check more off the list soon. Playing Chambers this weekend and GM next...hard to knock more off the list when I keep replaying the same ones.
  9. I used to live about 5 minutes from George Wright and played it on a regular basis. That was about 30 years ago, and I heard it fell into disrepair but has made a nice comeback. Great Donald Ross design, if you are in the Boston area I highly recommend it.
  10. Mike M

    Mike M
    Salem MA

    George Wright is a great golf course. Tough as hell when you play it all the way back. 9 and 10 are 2 of the toughest back to back par 4's I've encountered.
  11. Chuck Z

    Chuck Z
    Mt Pleasant, SC

    They are actually rolling the greens about every third day on the new greens keeping them at a nice pace, around an 11. With all the Seth Raynor accents on the greens, it can make for an interesting day at the Muni. They greens are no longer friendly.
  12. Wade W

    Wade W
    Roanoke, VA

    Best munis I have played include Wilmington (NC) and Pinon Hills in Farmington, NM. Both spectacular.

    Rock Manor in Wilmington (DE) is also a lot of fun.

  13. Rob_Roth1

    San Diego, CA

    Here is the full list
  14. Chuck Z

    Chuck Z
    Mt Pleasant, SC


    Rob_Roth1 said:

    Here is the full list

    Number 11 is the hole they featured in the list. Had a hole in one on it in that very spot in January 2021. Hit it to the back of the green and it rolled down the hill into the hole. Talked with Troy, the designer this week and he said he is making some tweaks to the course to toughen it up. Told him I know he was joking. Need to play it when you are in Charleston to come to your own conclusion. Just remember, never go for the flag if it is in the number three position and all the flags are old school. SHORT. Holes 3 and 13 will not hold a ball, so be careful of your placement.
  15. DaFitzy!


    Literally rolled into town today. I’ll swing by this week! Thanks for the tips!

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