Lake Marion Golf Course (Santee, SC on 12/25/17)

On my way back from Hilton Head I was planning to stop and golf somewhere. You’ve heard that before if you read my blog! I was driving back to Virginia on Christmas day so finding an open course was going to be a bit challenging due to the holiday. There were a few courses open near Orangeburg that I considered but ultimately, I decided to play Lake Marion again.

I’m editing my review from earlier this year so I won’t have two posts about the same course. However, if you saw the original post you’d have seen that I had fond memories of Lake Marion when I played here in April. I went on a Masters trip with some friends and we played here on the way to Augusta. Today, I played on Christmas and Christmas rounds are always special. Heck, I’ve only golfed on Christmas a couple times! So, there is plenty of nostalgia for me at Lake Marion.

When we played in April, we got rained out after 15 holes. I mentioned in my original post that I wanted to get back to Lake Marion on a sunny day, and by golly I did it! After a family breakfast and a short stroll on the beach I left Hilton Head about 10am. I had booked a tee time a bit after 1pm on and ended up getting to the course early. The proshop was extra nice and let me out early where I tailed a twosome until the 8th hole. The twosome let me go and I played in three hours, catching up to some foursomes at the tail end of my round. Gotta love those quick rounds!

Lake Marion is likely to only be on your golf radar because of its close proximity to I-95. The course is right off of I-95, just to the south of Lake Marion, after which the course is named. My first time here I expected a very average layout. The area is pretty flat and the course’s driveway is in-between a Taco Bell and some motels. While turning onto that road earlier this year I was thinking “I’m glad this was only $30!” As it turns out, you see the motels on the 10th and 11th holes, and that’s it! Most of the course is what I’d call a hilly, parkland style layout with an abundance of pine trees.

The front nine starts out with a beautiful, slightly downhill par 5. It is potentially reachable and the green is framed by water, flowers (in the spring), and pine trees. The 2nd hole is only a mid iron, but you might have to shape it for a short birdie putt and cannot miss over the green. 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! You need to be sharp and thinking well to leave the best angles into the greens. The only quibble I have about the front nine is the road noise from I-95 on the 8th hole.

The back nine is flatter and closer to the row of motels and a gentleman’s club. The design of these holes is fine, just their setting is more in line with the surroundings. On the back nine the 14th, at 322 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 the water and so you don’t go through the end of the fairway. The green sits just over the water and slopes hard from back to front. My first time here I thinned a wedge over the green and had an almost impossible chip. This time I made sure to catch my wedge solid and walked away with a two putt par. The closing holes on back nine include two reachable par 5’s (with good tee shots) and a long par 3. Something that stands out is how much the yardages vary at Lake Marion!

Both times I’ve played the tips which are 70.9/120/6413. 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 it around in the trees. The biggest difficulty will probably be gauging all the small elevation changes and putting the greens, which have plenty of slope. And, if you get a bit of breeze you may be scratching your head all day long!

Both times, the conditions were good, everything was nice and green! I love green grass in the winter and the overseeded fairways and tees always look so nice. 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 when we played in April, but this time around they were quicker and had some trickle to them. It cost us $30 to play in April and I found a deal for $14 on Christmas.

There’s no way for me to avoid it saying it, I loved my second round at Lake Marion just as much as the first! 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 our trip in April and my group all agreed that we liked the course. Lake Marion has a lot going for it including some decent scenery, elevation change that adds to the design, and it is priced so you could afford to play here consistently. Opinions differ of course, but I think Lake Marion is worth checking out if you get bored on your travels.

#1 (488 yard par 5):

#2 (158 yard par 3):

#3 (427 yard par 4):

#4 (561 yard par 5):

#5 (332 yard par 4):

#6 (177 yard par 3):

#7 (410 yard par 4):

#8 (322 yard par 4):

#9 (387 yard par 4):

#10 (399 yard par 4):

#11 (150 yard par 3):

#12 (414 yard par 4):

#13 (366 yard par 4):

#14 (322 yard par 4):

#15 (354 yard par 4):

#16 (475 yard par 5):

#17 (204 yard par 3):

#18 (467 yard par 5):



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