Bluffton, South Carolina is home to dozens of golf courses and communities, but there a few that truly stand apart from the others; Berkeley Hall is certainly one of them. The North Course is one of the two golf courses within the Berkeley Hall community and is easily one of the absolute best courses you can find in Bluffton. From start to finish Berkeley Hall offers a world-class golf experience; check out our detailed review of the course below!
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The first impressions at Berkeley Hall start long before you get to the golf course; the community has excellent curb appeal from the main road, and as we made our way in we knew we were in for a special day.
Driving from the entrance of the community there are stunning homes on all sides, only adding to the anticipation and excitement of the course. Once the clubhouse is in full view, the sight is nothing short of breathtaking. The Jeffersonian-style clubhouse itself is a work of art, making you feel like you’ve just arrived to a Top 50 Golf Destination.
As far as first impressions go, there’s not much that can top pulling up to the majestic Berkeley Hall Clubhouse.
It’s important to note that there are two golf courses within the Berkeley Hall Golf Community: the North Course and the South Course. Both courses were designed by Tom Fazio, and the North Course has is noted to be one of the Top 100 Courses in South Carolina (ranked 51st- we think this should be higher). We’ve had our share of rounds of golf in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, and frankly we can’t think of one that compares to the beauty of this course.
From the tips, the North Course measures out at 7,148 yards, and the course offers 8 sets of tees, allowing for golfers of all skill levels to be able to play. Here’s a quick look at the scorecard, with info on the Course Rating and Slope:
How to Play
Of course, it doesn’t need to be said that Berkeley Hall is a private community, and the golf courses are members only. That said, you don’t need to be a resident in Berkeley Hall to be a member! Berkeley offers Equity Memberships for residents, and their Signature Membership for non-residents. They also have a Berkeley Hall Discovery Package for an introduction to the facilities- feel free to check out what that entails here.
The Practice Facilities at Berkeley Hall are World Class, and are a huge differentiator between their facilities and other private communities in the area. In fact, the Berkeley Hall Practice Facility has earned a spot on the “Top 75 Golf Practice Facility” list by Golf Digest- and after visiting, we can see why. The practice area covers 33 acres of land, and is so much more than just a driving range.
On the Warm-Up side, there is a well equipped and neatly arranged driving range that has exact yardages posted to 6 different pins. Each station has a spot for your bag, a wet towel, alignment stick, and a generous pyramid of balls. There is plenty of space between each spot on the range, allowing for about 10 feet between each station- plenty of room to warm up without feeling crowded.
Here’s a quick look at what these stations were like- there were easily 20-30 of them total, but these were empty!
Adjacent to the range, there is a separate short game area that allows for a chipping green, practice putting green, as well as a practice bunker. This side of the practice facility is enough to help you to feel fully prepared for your round, and the Warm-Up area is conveniently next to the first tee of the North Course.
But then you have the Learning Center, which takes the practice facilities to the next level. The Learning Center has a ton of features: climate controlled hitting bays, a mobile canopy for practice in any weather conditions, swing analytics via Trackman and a short game area with four different practice greens with practice bunkers. This side of the facilities gives you access to swing data, and a lot of options for honing in your short game.
In short, these facilities are pretty unbelievable and are some of the most advanced practice facilities you can find, period.
As a whole, the North Course is nothing short of a phenomenal golf course. The course is extremely well kept, and is genuinely a world-class design from Tom Fazio. This is easily a PGA quality golf course, and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to hear about a PGA tournament being held here; it’s that good.
The front nine at the North Course begins with a relatively short par four with a narrow landing area and well guarded green protected by two bunkers. As we started playing through the front of the course, it quickly became evident that accuracy is rewarded, and wayward shots can quickly find trouble. For instance, the 2nd hole has water lining the left side of the hole, yet a solid ball striker would be able to hit this par 5 in two shots.
Most holes can be quite punishing if you don’t nail the fairway on this side of the course; for instance, the 4th hole is pretty intimidating from your tee shot, as the landing area is guarded by massive bunkers on both the left and right sides of the fairway. The biggest risk reward hole on the front side is the 7th hole ; on paper this is a longer par 5, but a good tee shot leaves you in position to take the short way home over the water onto a pretty narrow green. When we say narrow green, we really mean it; the green has a false front and a false back, so you’ve got about 20 paces to land and stop your ball.
The North Course’s natural rolling hills allow for elevated greens on Number’s 5 and 7, while Number 8 features an elevated tee box, with a menacing green surrounded by bunkers and steep slopes just off the sides. The front 9 finishes up with a tough Par 4 that leads up to the clubhouse, revealing one of the most impressive views of the entire day. The 9th hole is a phenomenal finisher for this side, practically looking like a painting from the tee boxes.
The back nine opens up with a par 5 that features a very undulating green; I was just off the left from my approach to this green, and I had to play my pitch shot well high of the hole for it to settle up close.
Frankly, the challenges from the front nine continue on the back; there were still plenty of tight fairways and landing zones. The 11th tee shot plays right into a group of bunkers, and the green is well guarded by bunkers with a tough sloped green. Moving on, the 12th is a risk/reward play with a green that you need to regulate. The 12th hole is drivable for a big hitter, but you need to be wary of the water on the left and the steep sides on the right.
The 14th is an intimidating par 3 uphill with a ton of slope, and missing the green on this hole makes par a huge challenge here.
While yardage-wise the back is similar to the front, it seemed to play longer down the stretch. Holes 15, 17 and 18 all play pretty long, requiring you to keep it together through the late stages of the round.
As for the 18th? Another stunning par 4 playing in towards the clubhouse offering awe inspiring views as you finish your round. The back is just as fun and challenging as the front of this course, with some pretty challenging finishing holes.
Favorite Par 3
The par 3s on the course are all excellent and challenging, but my favorite of the group was the 8th hole. I loved the multi-tiered tee box, and and how critical it was to regulate this green. I found this to be a really fun mix of challenge and scenery, making the 8th my favorite of the group. It’s also interesting to know that the 8th hole used to be the highest point in the entire county.
Favorite Par 4
Numbers 9 and 18 are the most picturesque holes on the entire course, but for me there’s no contest. Number 9 holds my favorite views from the entire course. From start to finish this hole looks like it belongs on a painting. The view you get coming into the clubhouse is unbeatable.
Favorite Par 5
Again, not a bad pick in the bunch, but the hole that’s most memorable for me was the 7th hole. I love the fact that you really can play this hole both ways; if you don’t catch your tee shot right there’s no harm in going around the water hazard, and arguably there’s an easier shot into the green. On the other hand, the bold can be rewarded if you take an accurate shot into the green. This was a really fun one that I’d love to play a second time.
What else can be said? This is a world-class course, and was a perfect experience from beginning to end. If you’re looking for a golf community to join in the Bluffton area, Berkeley Hall is up there as one of the absolute best. We loved this course, and can’t wait to go back.