The afternoon forecast wasn’t looking great as storms, off to the east, were headed our way that evening! It was just a matter of when they got to us. Knowing us, we decided to take a chance and go for an afternoon round in the Santee area!
I stopped at a course nearby last year on my way to Florida, Wyboo Golf Club. I enjoyed my round there, but I’ll tell you what, I loved my round here at Lake Marion! Periodically you see the words “hidden gem” to describe a golf course and I think that best describes Lake Marion. This course was the surprise of the trip! We had a 2:30pm tee time and as soon as we got everything loaded onto the carts we heard a clap of thunder and had to let that cell pass. I’m just sad we ended up getting chased off the course on the 16th hole by that big line of storms.
We got going in some light rain on a layout that I expected to be very average. Boy was I surprised! The course is right off of I-95, just to the south of Lake Marion, after which the course is named. The area is pretty flat and the course’s driveway is in-between a Taco Bell and a motel. While pulling into that drive I was thinking “I’m glad this was only $30!” As it turns out, you see the motel on the 10th and 11th holes, and that’s it! Most of the course is what I’d call a hilly, parkland style layout.
The front nine starts out with a beautiful, slightly downhill par 5. It is potentially reachable and the green is framed by some water, flowers, and pine trees. The 2nd hole is only a mid iron, but you might have to shape it for a short birdie putt. The 3rd is a long par 4 that slides right and has an oak tree guarding the green. The rest of the front nine continues with these type of great looking holes that require your full attention! The only quibble I could see someone having about the front nine is the road noise from I-95 on the 8th hole.
We unsuccessfully tried to hurry around the back, so I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t enjoy the back nearly as much as the front. I don’t think it was just the hurrying either, the back is flatter and closer to a row of hotels and a gentleman’s club. The design of the holes that we played were fine, just their setting was more in line with my expectations!
On the back nine the 14th, at 320 yards, is one of the most interesting par 4’s on the course. It doglegs almost ninety degrees right and probably requires a layup club off the tee to avoid water to the right. The green sits just over the water and slopes from back to front. I thinned my wedge over the green and had an almost impossible chip!
We played the blue tees which are 71.6/121/6474. So, not only does the course look good, it is playable too! That’s another reason I enjoyed it so much. Unless you lose a ball in a hazard or slash one out of bounds, you should be able to at least find your wayward shot after rattling around in the trees and get it back in play. The biggest difficulty will probably be gauging all the small elevation changes and putting the greens, which had plenty of slope.
The conditions were good, everything was nice and green so I think the course was overseeded last fall. There were a few thin spots in the fairways where the overseed didn’t come in perfect, but no complaints for the price. The greens were a bit fuzzy so they were slow, but smooth enough.
Overall, my group all agreed that we liked the course! It has a lot going for it including good scenery, elevation change that adds to the design, and it is cheap. Something that stands out is how the yardages vary on the holes! You bet that I’ll be looking to return to Lake Marion on a sunny day! Sorry, I wasn’t able to get pictures of the last two holes!
#1 (490 yard par 5):
#2 (152 yard par 3):
#3 (438 yard par 4):
#4 (562 yard par 5):
#5 (376 yard par 4):
#6 (178 yard par 3):
#7 (410 yard par 4):
#8 (316 yard par 4):
#9 (390 yard par 4):
#10 (397 yard par 4):
#11 (150 yard par 3):
#12 (425 yard par 4):
#13 (367 yard par 4):
#14 (320 yard par 4):
#15 (350 yard par 4):
#16 (476 yard par 5):