Eagle's Pointe Golf Club in Bluffton, South Carolina has all kinds of twists and turns
BLUFFTON, S.C. -- Eagle's Pointe Golf Club, designed by Davis Love III, has a fun-house flavor to it. There isn't a flat surface to be found, on fairway or green. That's quite a feat, given the course is at sea level and elevation changes might creep into double digits. Might.
The golf course's personality is clear on the first hole, a par 4 that veers right. Try to ignore the pond dug out right in front of you, its earth piled up past it, forming a ridge fronting a drop-off beyond it. Closer to the green, the slope tilts left, and the earth is scooped out of a deep bunker next to the green. Beyond that, there's a pond. A raised bunker is on the right.
The greens aren't flat either. They are sloped, tiered, undulated or all of the above. Most are guarded by big ol' bunkers, either pinching a tiny run up the middle or plunked right in front, giving you options of up and over or around.
The par 3s and par 4s stand out on the course, leaving the straight par 5s to serve as adrenalin releases.
"There are two things we preach around here, course conditions and service," said Brent Carlson, general manager and head professional at Eagle's Pointe Golf Club.
That service starts at the bag drop and carries into the pro shop and restaurant. The staff doesn't rest, given the work this year alone.
"We renovated the restaurant to brighten it up," Carlson said.
They added several TVs so golfers can linger after their round and catch the game or match.
On the golf course, they tidied up the last of a few problematic bunkers on Nos. 8, 9 and 15, so they match the rest of the course, complete with good drainage, fresh sand and crisp edges.
The Eagle's Pointe Golf Club team also added GPS to the carts, which enables the pro shop to serve as ground control. They can spot a slowdown in a hurry.
"We have a user friendly layout," Carlson said of the course that stretches to 6,780 yards or dials down to 5,210. "You can play it at your length. You can enjoy your round."
To keep you comfortable, there are at least three water stations per side and nearly as many restrooms. To help you find your way, the four sets of tee markers are freshly painted. To help you find your way out, the hazard areas are well marked.
"The value is excellent," said Mike Ambrose, who plays Eagle's Pointe Golf Club often. "Every time I come here, the conditions are great. I like the par 3s."
Seven is one of the course's more interesting holes, a par 4 with a stream cutting across in front of the green. The green itself is plunked atop a mound with a shot-stealing wall in front and lots of trouble right.
You'll remember the ninth hole because of "The Tree," a mammoth live oak dominating the right side of the fairway. There's plenty of room left, but how can you concentrate with that tree breathing down your neck like that, just waiting to grab your tee shot or block out your second shot? The approach to the green is pinched again, this time with the added risk of a sharp drop-off to a bunker on the left, with yet another tree in the middle of it.
The final three holes are all par 4s, but each with a twist. On No. 16, remember one thing -- don't go right or your ball will go bounding off the side of steep mounds and launch itself into the woods. The 17th hole has a little roller coaster down to the green, with water left and a large bunker right. It's a big green, so don't be scared.
On No. 18, it appears Love had some bunkers and bulldozer time left over, so he packed the hole with bunkers, swales and mounds. At the tiered, sloped and undulating green, there is one more fun-house ride for your putt.
Brian Warden, a golf student, likes Eagle's Pointe Golf Club because it likes him.
"I can score well here," he said, especially on the front, which has an abundance of shorter holes. "The greens are always in good shape, and it's one of the fairer courses around here."
Pete Smithmier also plays the course often.
"It's a good value," he said. "The greens roll true and they are medium-fast. If you see a break, it's there. It's a good test of golf. It's trapped well."
Eagle's Pointe Golf Club: The verdict
If you're in the Hilton Head Island area and want a lot of golf for your money, put Eagle's Pointe G.C. on your list. It's friendly, well maintained and offers nearly carnival-like fun.
February 14, 2011