First honored by the Golf Course Owners Association as the best in Charleston and later the 2011 South Carolina Golf Course of the Year, The Links at Stono Ferry now eyes the country’s biggest prize
(HOLLYWOOD, S.C.) — In the past two months alone, The Links at Stono Ferry (www.StonoFerryGolf.com) has been named the 2011 Charleston Area Golf Course of the Year by the Charleston Golf Course Owners Association and the 2011 State of South Carolina Golf Course of the Year by the South Carolina Golf Course Owners Association.
Now, the renowned Ron Garl-design — located less that 30 minutes from downtown Charleston, and hearkening back to both the Civil and Revolutionary Wars — finds itself in the running for the year’s National Golf Course of the Year Award.
Presented annually by the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA), The “Course of the Year” Award honors a member that demonstrates four criteria: Exceptional quality of the course, exceptional quality of ownership and management, outstanding contribution to its community and significant contribution to the game.
The “Course of the Year” Award winners come from NGCOA’s core membership and are model operations to their peers. Each NGCOA chapter selects a “Chapter Course of the Year,” which is then submitted in the running for the “National Course of the Year.” The winner is decided upon at the annual fall meeting of the NGCOA Board of Directors.
One recipient each year is chosen by the Board, with the award dating back to 2004. Past recipients include World Tour Golf Links (South Carolina, 2004), Saratoga National Golf Club (New York, 2005); Pebble Beach (Oregon, 2006); The Legends Golf Club (Minnesota, 2007) and Reynolds Plantation (Georgia, 2008).
“The total Stono Ferry experience, and our commitment to making it the best it can be, reach far beyond tees, greens and fairways,” said Stono Ferry club manager Greg Wood, who in addition has been awarded for his outstanding efforts as the 2010 Carolinas PGA Section Merchandiser of the Year, as well as the Regional Ping Clubfitter of the Year.
“Our golf experience reflects our dedication to consistently provide superior course quality and playability for our members and guests,” Wood said, “while simultaneously fulfilling our responsibilities of environmental stewardship and historic preservation.”
A golf course that can trace its roots back before the Revolutionary War offers the type history golfers would expect to find in Charleston. The actual Stono Ferry site was used by plantations to ferry their goods across the Stono River, and as a redoubt and battery site in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
On The Links at Stono Ferry’s 12th hole, there is a cannon pointing at the old ferry landing, and one bunker on the course was part of a Revolutionary War battlefield. Meanwhile, part of the 13th hole is laid out where an old railroad line ran from Charleston to Savannah from the 1850s all the way up to the 1960s.
Given Stono Ferry’s spectacular setting along the pristine Intracoastal waters and salt marshes of South Carolina, its owners have set out to preserve and protect the environment with respect for the poignant reminders of its rich and storied past, and an appreciation of unique Lowcountry cultural traditions.
Given Stono Ferry’s involvement in charitable works for the good of its neighbors and its daily dedication to deliver unparalleled customer service to every member and guest, little wonder Stono Ferry has continued to grow its membership base as well as rounds played despite the current economic climate in the golf industry.
The 2,853-square-foot Stono Ferry Golf Learning Center was constructed in 2007 in partnership with The College of Charleston to provide a game improvement atmosphere for the men’s and women’s golf programs, as well as for Stono Ferry’s members and guests.
There are 1,877 square feet of indoor hitting bays (860 upstairs; 1,017 downstairs), along with workout facilities including treadmills, elliptical trainer, stretch cage, weighted balls, and stretch bands, a club repair area, and a pair of hitting bays that include the K-VEST product suite, the V-1 Pro video system, and the Vector Pro, which delivers launch monitor data with video swing analysis for both fittings and lessons.
“This practice facility is the best in South Carolina and allows us to attract recruits from all over the country,” said College of Charleston Head Men’s Golf Coach Mark McEntire. “I believe this facility is the missing piece to the puzzle and will allow us to return to national prominence. We are pleased to be associated with Stono Ferry and believe this will beneficial for the College of Charleston Golf Programs.”
Added Jamie Futrell, Head Women’s Golf Coach College of Charleston: “The practice facility has far exceeded our expectations. The attention to detail that has been put into all aspects of the facility will make this one of the top practice facilities in the country.”
Ron Garl designed Stono Ferry in 1989, giving the Charleston area a beautiful golf course enjoyably manageable from the championship tee yardage of 6,814, with four other sets of tees all the way up to 4,966 yards. Stono Ferry was also voted the 2003 Charleston Area Golf Course of the Year.