Kept Secret" in South Carolina Announced for 2019
For Immediate Release
Michael Whitaker firstname.lastname@example.org
Myrtle Beach - Panel
Recognizes SC Golf's "Best Kept Secret"
The Aiken Golf Club, a family-owned facility more than 100
years old, has been selected the "Best-Kept Secret" in South Carolina
golf by the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel.
"We don't have a parking lot, a practice range or a maintenance facility,"
owner Jim McNair Jr. said, "but we do have a really good golf course."
The rating panel, composed of 125 golf enthusiasts representing a
diverse range of occupations, handicaps and backgrounds, agreed with
the assessment in honoring the venerable Aiken course at its spring
awards dinner in North Myrtle Beach. The club also earned a place
on the panel's "best you can play" list.
"Golf courses like ours got lost in the shuffle during the golf boom
in the 1980s and '90," McNair, whose family has owned the club since
1959, said. "Receiving this award is a huge honor."
Aiken Golf Club features the "rumpled" ground of classic
The panel's objective is to promote excellence in the state's golf
course design and operations through competitive ranking, education
and public advocacy. The best courses, public or private, are selected
every other year (even-number years) and the best courses you can
play are chosen in odd-numbered years. Criteria used in the judging
include routing, variety, strategy, equity, memorability, aesthetics
The Aiken Golf Club, located near the downtown business district,
meets that criteria. And the panel's executive director, Michael Whitaker,
said AGC dominated the "Best-Kept Secret" voting.
"We're short (less than 5,800 yards) by today's standards, but we
have members who say it's too hard from the tips," McNair said. "The
green complexes are incredible. The course is about strategy, accuracy
and position off the tee."
Aiken Golf Club has famed architect Donald Ross in its DNA. John Inglis,
a disciple of the man who created Pinehurst No. 2 among his many works,
completed the layout and remained as the club pro until 1939. The
club opened in 1912 with 11 holes and Inglis added the final seven.
Originally named Highland Park Hotel Golf Course to complement the
nearby resort hotel, the city of Aiken took over the course after
the Great Depression. McNair's dad, Jim Sr, bought the property in
1959 and the club prospered as a private club. However, a clause in
the deal gave the city the right to buy back the club... leaving the
family with little incentive to make improvements. An amended contract
with the arrival of the younger McNair, and a $1 million restoration,
has turned the layout into a touch of yesterday with modern maintenance.
History abounds at Aiken Golf Club. The original course was among
the first to have women's tees. And, the Women's Invitational Tournament,
played from 1937-39, brought the likes of Babe Zaharias and Patty
Berg to compete. Julius Boros, Johnny Palmer and P.J. Boatwright played
in men's events at the course.
Berg and “Babe” Didrickson play in the 1937 Women’s Invitational
On SC Golf Course Ratings Panel
South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel is composed of golf enthusiasts
representing a diverse range of occupations, handicaps and backgrounds.
These individuals have been charged with the task of identifying the
best that South Carolina golf has to offer.
objective of the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel is to promote
excellence in SC golf course design and operations through competitive
rankings, education and public advocacy. The Panel serves as an ambassador
for golf in South Carolina by striving to stimulate and facilitate
the promotion and marketing of outstanding golf courses, resorts,
and real estate developments.