Our History

History begins for the Country Club of Charleston in 1786, just 32 years after the founding of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews, Scotland.

Scottish merchants known as the Charlestown Golfing Society would meet on Harleston Green (east of Rutledge between Calhoun and Bull) where a game called golf was played.

Bea Bower

The Club moved in later years to Chicora Park (on the Cooper River – North Charleston) and was called the Chicora Park Golf Club. In 1900 the Club moved to Belvedere Plantation (north of Magnolia Cemetery) where challenge matches with other golf clubs in the Carolinas were developed and eventually led to the formation of the Carolinas Golf Association in 1909.

In 1922 the Club was moved to its present location on the McLeod Plantation consisting of 900 acres on the Ashley River. The original clubhouse, considered of the grandest building in the Southeast at that time, was built on top of a bluff overlooking the Charleston Harbor.

In 1924, Architect Seth Raynor was hired to design and build the golf course. A protégé of C.B. McDonald, Mr. Raynor designed and built Yeaman’s Hall and many other renowned courses including Fisher’s Island, Yale, Camargo, Sleepy Hollow, and Monterey Peninsula. He would have been credited with more, but passed away quite suddenly while designing Cypress Point in 1926.

Henry Picard

Mr. Raynor’s courses were notable for the recurring pattern of holes from famous Scottish golf courses including the well known “Redan” holes. Our number 11 is a replica of the 15th hole at North Berwick and is so treacherous that Sam Snead carded a 13 and Ben Hogan, when asked how he liked the hole, replied that it should be dynamited. To honor Mr. Raynor, the Club commissioned a portrait of him during 2009. The portrait hangs in the entrance way to the clubhouse.

The Club is home to some notable golfers. Beth Daniel grew up in Charleston. She won the US Women’s Amateur in 1975 and again in 1977. Her professional career includes 41 wins, one major, and she is an inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Henry Picard is also an inductee of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Henry won the Masters in 1938 and the PGA Championship in 1939. Henry came to the Club as an assistant pro in 1925. He later became the Head Pro and served the Club until 1934. In 1973, Henry retired to Charleston and would often be present at the course during 70s, 80s, and 90s. The club is also home to the 1975 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Champion, Mrs. Bea Bower.

Webb Simpson

The Club has a rich tournament history and a tradition for supporting the game, hosting the Azalea invitational every year before the Masters. The initial tournament was won by Frank Ford Sr. who went on to win the tournament four times. His grandson Frank Ford III has won the tournament six times. Today the Azalea has developed into a National Amateur Event with amateurs coming from across the USA and it has an impressive list of former champions. The Club also hosts the Beth Daniel Junior Invitational and the Azalea Senior each year. Both tournaments are national in scope. In addition to the invitational, the Club has hosted 27 State Championships since 1925.

Many things changed in September 1989 with the arrival of Hurricane Hugo. The entire golf course and clubhouse were destroyed and the Club was in near ruin. The members however, persevered and the clubhouse and golf course were up and running in the Fall of 1990.

Cox Trophy

In March of 2006, golf architect Brian Silva (an expert on Seth Raynor designs) was hired to restore the golf course. Using photographs of the original course, 39 bunkers were restored and the original berm on number 15 replaced. All of the greens were cored out and state of the art irrigation, drainage and pump systems including a Subair green system similar to those used at Augusta and the TPC were added. The land adjacent to the number nine fairway was cleared and the short-game area was built based on a C.B. McDonald design of a “short course” featuring Redan and Eden style greens and numbers bunkers.

The members of the Country Club of Charleston are very proud of the restored course, as well as the beautiful clubhouse, swimming pool, fitness center and tennis facility. These amenities, along with our long history and tradition make the Country Club of Charleston one of the premier golf clubs in the Southeast.