When I think about Bluffton and Hilton Head, I think about a golf haven. Bluffton is home to a number of golf communities offering best in class golf experiences, and one that really stands out is Oldfield Golf Club. We partnered up with the Head Pro over at Oldfield to be able to check out the community, the facilities and most importantly their world class golf course; check out our full Oldfield Golf Club review below!
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Part of the excitement of playing a new course, or a course you love is the journey into the facilities; the first glimpse of the clubhouse, passing some holes on the way in, and taking in some scenery. I think first impressions are pretty important for a golf course, and we weren’t disappointed as we arrived to Oldfield.
Pulling up to Oldfield, the grounds closest to the street are enclosed with beautiful white picket fences and a pristine red barn, offering that quintessential low country feel. As we pulled in, we couldn’t help but admire the natural beauty of the property. Once you’re inside of Oldfield, it’s a little over a mile drive to get to the actual clubhouse as golf facilities. On the way, you pass stunning homes on all sides, setting the tone for the rest of the day.
The clubhouse at Oldfield is stunning; it has the right amount of grandeur, while still looking quite inviting. The clubhouse radiates a southern charm feel, and we were immediately impressed as we arrived.
While the actual property has been around since the 1700’s, the golf course was designed and unveiled by Greg Norman in 2002. The course is set on the Okatie River, and was Greg Norman’s first golf course design in the South Carolina low country. Both the greens and fairways are Bermuda grass.
From the tips the course measures out at 7142 yards, and the course offers 5 different sets of tees to choose from. Below is a full view of their score card and additional course info, per the Oldfield website.
What the Pro Says
Before we set out for our round, we asked the Head Pro, Kristen, to give us an idea of the course and what to expect. Kristen noted that the front 9 and back 9 play differently; the front 9 has many more trees with narrow fairways, while the back 9 is pretty open in a classic links layout. Her favorite hole? Number 12- it’s a short par 4 that will be drivable for many mid and low handicappers, offering a true risk rewards setup. The catch? you have to clear about 180 yards of carry over a water hazard, which can be a bit intimidating if you’re not in the right mindset.
How to Play
As far as getting on the course goes, this is not a golf course that is open to the public. The course is members only, but you don’t have to be a resident at Oldfield to be a member at the golf course. They do offer standalone memberships for non-residents, and have a few different membership options available.
Unfortunately, we came to Oldfield the day after a rainstorm, so for the most part the practice facilities were closed. That being said, we did sneak a quick look at the range and short game area. The range was extremely well manicured, and the separate short game practice area was excellent too.
As Kristen had warned prior to our round, the front nine and back nine offer completely different course set-ups and challenges.
The front nine was tree lined from start to finish, making it absolutely critical to keep your ball in play. There were also a few very shallow greens on the front of the course, which made your approach shot that much more important. There isn’t a ton of danger on the front side, however there are several water features you need to navigate around. As we made our way through the first nine holes, it was absolutely clear that this course is exceptionally well maintained and cared for not only by the maintenance staff, but by the members using the course. I didn’t come across a single ball mark on a green, or divot left unfilled; every aspect of the course was well-kept, offering the best possible playing experience.
The back nine is set up differently than the front, offering a refreshing set of challenges as you play through. Number 10 is a short par 4 that offers a chance to get aggressive on your tee shot, and from number 11 the course really starts to open up and transitions towards links-style play.
The hallmark hole on the back nine is number 12, and I can see why. The card says 348 from the White tees, but you can take a really aggressive line over a huge water hazard and land the green with a 240 yard drive. The 12th is a scenic hole, and is a huge risk/reward play that can tempt even the most conservative players. If you go for it, you should be prepared to dig out of a very deep greenside bunker if you land short of the green.
The backside of this course is just as demanding as it is playable, offering challenges for golfers of every skill level. The 18th hole is a three-shot par 5 that requires 2 good shots in a row in order to have a good look at the green in regulation, making this an excellent finisher.
We played Oldfield in the beginning of January, and what we got was an exceptionally maintained golf course, which is impressive given the time of year. The course is set up for year round play, and offers spectacular views of the Oldfield property. One thing we noticed from start to finish were the foundational details; white picket fences as you play through the course, and perfectly laid wooden cart paths to guide your way. As you play through the course you pass by stunning homes set right along the course and Okatie river.
Majestic Par 3s
Our favorite features at Oldfield are the par 3s on the course; in total there are four of them, two on the back and two on the front. The first par 3 on the course is the 3rd hole, which is set among dozens of majestic live oaks and Spanish moss trees. To hit the green you need to carry a small portion of wetland, however the green is quite deep offering a good chance to regulate. The next par 3 arrives at number 7, which offers another deep green guarded by a deep bunker. The 7th hole is also surrounded by some beautiful homes, offering a different type of scenery which we quite liked.
On the back, I found these par 3’s to be slightly tougher. Number 13 has a huge water hazard to avoid on the left, combined with an intimidating bunker guarding the front of the green. The 16th is a real challenge, requiring a great mid to long iron strike to carry the Okatie river; from the Whites you need to hit the ball 170 just to clear the water hazard.
Of all the par 3’s I enjoyed number 3 the most, and got stung by the water hazard on the 16th, making that hole my least favorite- still a great hole, but a real challenge!
Frankly, there are quite a few memorable holes at Oldfield, which is part of what makes this course so fun to play. Personally I love the opening par 3 the most; I really loved the mix between live oak and Spanish moss trees that are set around this hole. Number 8 is another great hole with an extensive bunker running the left side of the entire fairway; this hole is definitely reachable in 2, but has a relatively small green to aim for.
On the back, it’s really hard not to love the 12th hole; the setup is stunning and incredibly tempting. I really wish I had hit the green from my drive, but there’s always next time. Number 17 offers a great birdie opportunity hitting into an elevated green, which was very fun to play.
There’s not a bad hole on the course, but if I had to pick ONE, number 12 would be it for me.
Oldfield offers a true low country golf experience, and is one of the finest courses in the greater Bluffton area. This is a course that can be enjoyed by anyone, whether you’re a +3 or a 30 handicap, there’s plenty to love about this course. If you’re looking for an excellent golf community down here, you’ve come to the right place.