NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston's historic city center is close enough to tempt golfers into making the voyage about 45 minutes south to Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island.
But for a more convenient golf escape, follow the airplanes overhead to North Charleston and Coosaw Creek Country Club, just minutes from Charleston International Airport.
This Arthur Hills design in a country club atmosphere is set on inland terrain winding through the Coosaw Creek community.
Like most Hills designs, the layout has a heavy amount of artificial mounding to help alleviate the sight of real estate from many vantage points, and many greens are tucked inside a bowl, creating a small amphitheater.
Other holes are lined heavily with trees, like the slightly downhill ninth hole, whose fairway is almost completely shaded by towering pines before reaching the exposed green that's open to sunlight.
There is also an unusual amount of elevation change on several holes for the normally flat Charleston area. The par-5 16th utilizes the rolling topography remarkably well. It plays from an elevated tee down a tight corridor before bottoming out at wetlands that come across the fairway and come into play on the second shot. From here, the hole doglegs right, back uphill toward a small, guarded green.
The 18th, a short par 4, plays over wetlands from the tee before a delicate blind shot uphill to a small green tucked behind mounding.
Coosaw Creek Country Club's 18-hole yardage can be misleading, playing just 6,593 yards from the back tees. Take a better look at its demanding 140 slope, however, and it should tempt mid-handicappers to settle for the 6,068-yard white tees. The course guards its slope well with plenty of bunkering, sharp doglegs, water hazards and out-of-bounds on almost every hole -- a result of its place in the Coosaw Creek community accompanying the golf course.
"The houses do seem a little tight on a few holes," said Bill Michael, who was visiting Charleston from Washington D.C. and found his fair share of back yards during his round. "I'm surprised I didn't take out a window."
In fact, that does happen here. To the right of Coosaw Creek's par-3 11th hole, a long, tight par-3 that requires a long iron or hybrid from the back tees, there is a house under construction that has two broken windows already.
Players who want to keep their ball in bounds are better off leaving the driver in the bag on many holes if they have a tendency to spray drives. The sight of housing on either side can often lead to a tight swing, so don't feel the need to hit the big stick 14 times here.
Coosaw Creek Country Club: The verdict
Discovering the best Charleston-area golf courses requires a pretty hefty drive from the city center, but Coosaw Creek C.C. is only about 25 minutes away and offers a worthy course for business travelers or anyone in need of a quick round.
The semi-private club seems to be laid out more for members than for first-time guests. The facilities seem a little hard to find on first glance, and a few of the holes could use a sign directing where the next tee is or where to stay off the fairways. Some members even gave our group a stern talking to after seeing us on the fairway of the fourth hole, which is supposedly cart-path only, though no signs indicate so. A starter on the first tee offers advice on these issues; just be sure to remember them -- or maybe take a few notes.
Coosaw Creek is also just minutes from Charleston International Airport, and there's a chance you'll see some large military planes flying overhead on a few occasions during your round.
Where to stay in Charleston
Be sure to stay in downtown Charleston, about 20 minutes from North Charleston, so you can be in the heart of all the action. This historic and vibrant city is regarded as one of America's friendliest, and there's no shortage of shops, world-class seafood restaurants and hopping bars at night. The Renaissance Hotel is within walking distance of it all on Wentworth Street. It's the newest upscale hotel in the historic district but captures the charm of Old Charleston. Rooms feature spacious bathrooms with exceptional showers, and there is a hearty breakfast served each morning. A workout facility and pool is on site and valet parking is available to all guests.
If you're looking to stay near the airport, the North Charleston Inn provides easy access to the major freeways and is just around the corner from the airport. It also features a hot breakfast and a pretty courtyard with plenty of plant life and an outdoor pool.