Opened in 1925, the Country Club of Charleston was designed by renowned architect Seth Raynor, whose works include Fishers Island, Fox Chapel in Pittsburgh (2002 Curtis Cup) and Yale Golf Club (1952 U.S. Junior Amateur).
Given the relatively flat topography, Raynor still managed to create interesting green complexes. Raynor was never one to move a lot of dirt until the golfer approached the green. His bunkers were deep with a flat bottom and featured steep faces. He also tried to create four short holes, and he achieved this philosophy at the Country Club of Charleston. Some of Raynor’s genius in creating interesting green complexes is illustrated on holes eight, 10 and 14.
In 1989, Hurricane Hugo left a lasting impression on the course, taking out many of the trees that had been planted after Raynor left the property. Because of this, the course offers expansive views across the property and shows how little land Raynor moved other than some of the teeing grounds and greens. In 2005, the club hired Brian Silva to renovate the course back to Raynor’s original design. It was a difficult challenge, according to Silva, because many of the club’s greens had been rebuilt in the 1980s and changes ranged from “slight to major.”
One of the big projects for Silva was restoring the Lion’s Mouth on No. 16. The punch-bowl green has a horseshoe look with a 7-foot bunker protecting the front-center portion.
Golfers will also encounter a Redan par 3 at the 11th hole, which has become one of the most challenging holes in the southeast. During the annual Azalea Invitational, some of the country’s best amateurs have laid up. Even though the hole doesn’t feature a water hazard, an 11-foot deep bunker to the right of the green and a 7-foot bunker to the left can faze even the most elite player.
The Country Club of Charleston spawned a number of great players, including LPGA Tour standout and two-time U.S. Women's Amateur champion Beth Daniel, and longtime amateur stalwarts Frank Ford III and Bert Atkinson. For many years, legendary instructor and 1938 Masters champion Henry Picard served as the club’s head professional. Today, touring professionals William McGirt and Russell Henley, a member of the 2011 USA Walker Cup Team, call the Country Club of Charleston home.