The Golf Club at Briar's Creek - Privately Perfect

By Chuck Hancock; Photos Courtesy of Briar’s Creek Club


JOHN’S ISLAND, SC -- Exclusive.  Acclaimed.  Elite.  Preeminent.


Lodge - The golf lodge, which now houses the clubhouse, pro shop, bar, and restaurant, will soon be replaced in December 2007 by a 13,000 square foot clubhouse, overlooking the Kiawah River, and nestled between the 9th and 18th greens.

Pick one of these prior four words to describe The Golf Club at Briar’s Creek, located on Johns Island, South Carolina, and, guess what?  You’d be right.  And, if you are lucky enough to play a round of golf there, I bet you’ll come up with several different superlative adjectives of your own to describe this wonderful ‘new’ private golf course.


Briar’s Creek is located just twenty-five minutes from downtown Charleston, and ten minutes from Kiawah Island.  As noted on the Briar’s creek website, Charleston and the South Carolina Low country have been heralded in more publications than can be counted.  Praises have been sung for its historic, artistic and cultural preservation; its white sand beaches and abundant sports, such as boating, fishing, equestrian; and as the south’s Mecca for world-class dining and entertainment.


While not exactly new, Briar’s Creek opened in 2001, and it didn’t take long for the rave reviews to come in.  Golf Digest, in January 2003, named Briar’s Creek ‘Best New Private Course’ in America.  Of the top 45 courses built since 1959, Golf Magazine has named it #10.  Not impressed yet?  Fine, how’s this:  Briar’s Creek is currently ranked by Golf Magazine as the 64th (out of 100) Top Course in the United States, and it is currently ranked #96 (also out of 100) by Golf Digest on its list of America’s Top 100 Greatest Courses.

This view of the 9th green embodies the marvelous surroundings which are prevalent at Briar's Creek.


Oh yes, the course itself.  Briar’s Creek is situated on a spectacular parcel of land, once used, like much of Johns Island, for agriculture.  Tomatoes were the primary crop.  For the technical minded, the greens are Tiff-Eagle, a Bermuda ultra-dwarf.  The fairways and tees are 419 Bermuda.


Mr. Rees Jones, also known as ‘The Open Doctor,’ is the course architect.  You may have heard of him.  With co-designer Greg Muirhead, Jones completed a major redesign for the Black course at Bethpage State Park, home of the 2002 U.S. Open.  Also, in preparation for the 1988 U.S. Open, Mr. Jones restored The County Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, site of the 1988 U.S. Open and 1999 Ryder Cup.


The green at the finishing hole. Getting here involves hitting a least two, and, more likely three quality shots.

Gus Bright, Director of Membership, Marketing & Member Services at The Golf Club at Briar's Creek, says that the scenery is “unmatched in a golf course development.”  He adds that Briar’s Creek was the first Audubon International Silver Certified Signature Sanctuary in South Carolina.  Says Bright, “your golf round will be filled with glimpses of many rare wild birds, deer, wild turkey, bobcat and American Eagles.  Many of your tee shots will be forced carries over wetland marshes and waterways.”


According to Mr. Bright, while picking just one signature hole is “tough,” the 234 Yard, Par 3, 17th Hole is undoubtedly considered “one of our best” holes.  The hole is all carry over the marsh, usually into a 1-2 club SE wind coming off the Atlantic Ocean.  Mr. Rees Jones calls it “perhaps the strongest and toughest Par 3 in the South.”


So, yes Briar’s Creek has indisputably earned all of its accolades. 

Arial view of the 17th hole. In a word, daunting.


In addition, the service provided by the professional golf staff equals the awe-inspiring golf course.  Mr. Bright continues, the “golf experience is enhanced by a very professional staff that greets you at your vehicle, sets you up on the practice area and provides helpful golf tips as they stand behind you as you hit balls.”  He adds that “most players opt to walk the course with the Sun Mountain Push Carts that are provided or take caddies (optional, arranged 24 hours in advance).” 


As a guest of a member, I was lucky enough to have played Briar’s Creek on a beautiful September Saturday morning.  With a tee-time of 10am, I arrived around 9, giving myself plenty of time to get loose, putt a little on the incredible putting green, and basically take in the whole “Briar’s experience.” 


The Par 3 15th hole, the most eye appealing Par 3 at Briar's Creek.

My car door had barely closed when I was greeted by one of the assistant golf professionals.  I asked him if they were busy this morning, assuming so based on the great weather that was ruling the day.  He said, “I think we have 6 players out on the course.”  I don’t know about you, but my experience tells me that at 9am on a beautiful Saturday morning, there may be 50 to 60 players making their way around any given golf course.


While hitting range balls (Titleist practice balls -- no stripes here) on the expansive grass practice range, one backward glance allows you to see one or two assistant golf professionals watching your moves.  Hit a 9 iron a few times, then put it back in your bag to get a six iron out?  No problem, when next back to your bag, your 9 iron is cleaner than if Steve Williams got a hold of one of Tiger Wood’s irons.  Don’t know about you, but this was way cool!  Good natured, but right on point, golf tips are readily offered by the professionals as well.


According to Mr. Bright, Briar’s Creek has “no tee times,” and allows no unaccompanied guests for its current membership measuring 150 (most of whom are not full time residents).  A maximum number of 300 members is planned. 

The tee at the 10th hole, a beautiful dogleg right.


The course averages 30 rounds per day, making it a bit like having your own private golf course.  Bright adds that “900 acres has been set aside for this golf-focused development.  Less than 100 home sites will be offered, all away from the golf course, on or around a 52-acre stocked lake.  There will be no homes along the golf course with the exception of 5 golf cottages lining Golf Cottage Lane.  The beautifully appointed cottages are accommodations that are available for rent to members and their guests.”

In my opinion, members enjoy a true private golf retreat; low density golf at its finest.


The Golf Club at Briar's Creek

4000 Briar's Creek Lane

John's Island, SC  29455


Phone:  843-768-3050




Course Designer:  Rees Jones

Head Golf Professional:  Chris Edwards, PGA

Golf Course Superintendent:  Kyle Bibler, CGCS

Director of Membership, Marketing & Member Services:  Gus Bright




Black  142/74.3

Blue    136/72.7

White  126/70.0

Green  120/68.0       133/75.7 (W)

Yellow 127/72.8 (W)

Red     118/69.7 (W)


Consult the club for membership information.

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