Where to play golf eat BBQ in SC
August 9, 2012 11:16 AM   Subscribe

My wife and I are going to South Carolina for a week to major in playing golf with a minor in eating BBQ/Southern food. I need some help picking where in the state to head.

We start in Charlotte and fly home from Savannah. Looking for great courses that aren't too pricey. Which area should we focus on to find the nicest courses? Myrtle Beach looks kinda tacky (and expensive). Some of the other coastal areas look too "exclusive", big resorts with golf, but very little else in the surrounding area.

Which areas would we enjoy the most? We live on the west coast, so ocean front golf isn't that critical to our decision making.
posted by Keith Talent to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Sorry, forgot to add we'll be going in October if that makes a difference.
posted by Keith Talent at 11:16 AM on August 9, 2012

You should definitely head down to Charleston. I think it has some of the best food in the South, if not the country. Bonus, if you can get onto the Kiawah Ocean course just south of town, you'll get to see what all the excitement is about this weekend at the PGA championship. There's lots of relatively cheap golf in the area if you don't want to spring for the pricey resorts (from what I understand; I'm not really a golfer). I hear good things about the City course when you consider that it costs between $10 and $25 a round. The other names I'm familiar with if you want to do some googling to see what interests you: all the Kiawah courses (obviously), Shadowmoss, Dunes West, Legend Oaks, and Seabrook Island. I'm sure there are many others that you can find through all the golf-tourist websites for the area.

The drive from Charleston to Savannah is also super easy, and through some interesting swampland if you like that.

If you want more specific food-related information about Charleston, let me know. I have been to almost every restaurant in the city at least once. Any specific type of food/dining experience you're looking for? There are literally dozens of excellent restaurants and bars that span super expensive haute cuisine to super fun dive bars.
posted by This Guy at 11:39 AM on August 9, 2012

Definitely Charleston. I live across the street from Shadowmoss and my wife's grandparents live on a hole at Dunes West. Both are pretty nice courses (to my not golf playing eye).

And Charleston probably has the best food per capita in the country.
posted by theichibun at 12:28 PM on August 9, 2012

All I can add is that, on your drive from Charleston to Savannah, I really really think you should stop in Yemassee and go to Ray's Rib King.
posted by ftm at 12:31 PM on August 9, 2012

Not exactly on the way to Savannah from Charlotte, but the area around Aiken, SC, along with nearby Augusta, GA and North Augusta, SC, has quite a number of courses to choose from. As a non-member, you won't be able to play at the Augusta National, but with all the other really good courses in the Central Savannah River Area, you're still bound to have a good time.

And to the other half of your question, there's almost as diverse of a selection of barbeque pits to choose from. One of the ones in Augusta is so popular with the locals, they elected the owner Mayor at one point.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:50 PM on August 9, 2012

If you do go to Charleston, I find that Bessengers lives up to the hype. Be sure to get something that comes with one of its giant onion rings.

One thing to be aware of if you're wanting to get a lot of BBQ in your face during this trip is that many non-chain places down there have very limited operating days - my favorite in Columbia (their food is much better than their website), for instance, was only open Thursday-Saturday. That's not at all uncommon, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Oh, and one other tip: You will probably see a Maurice's BBQ or two along the way, but I'd advise giving them a pass. This is a Columbia-based BBQ chain known less for its food than its racist politics...
posted by DingoMutt at 12:59 PM on August 9, 2012

Food-wise, what you should look for is pulled pork BBQ in a mustard-based sauce, a substance available at many local BBQ restaurants called hash served over rice that has no relationship to what's called hash in most parts of the country, and boiled peanuts sold by the side of the road. Collards and chitlins are also regional specialties but not my favorite.

Incidentally, if while you're in the Charleston area you plan a day trip to Bull Island or some other barrier island I think anyone with the slightest interest in the outdoors would find that a special treat as well.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 1:28 PM on August 9, 2012

Just so you know, the best BBQ places here don't put sauce on the meat for you. They either ask you what you want and bring it out or (more likely) it's already on the table.

Can anyone say Sauce Mixing Contest?

My wife and I go to Smokey Oak on James Island a lot. Dukes is also pretty good. Home Team over in West Ashley is more of a fast food BBQ type place. They're not bad either, but if I had to pick just one place that wouldn't be it.
posted by theichibun at 1:44 PM on August 9, 2012

Just moved to Charleston, which you will hear is one of the best places in the country period. BBQ isn't that big of thing here (compared to other parts of south), but you should look at roadfood.com to stop on the 3.5 hour drive from Charlotte. Smokey Oak and Bessingers are the big ones.

Just did some golf research and will give you the lowdown. Yes, there are a lot of expensive places, but the rates vary during the year and during the day.

Coosaw Creek Country Club , Shadowmoss Plantation Golf Club,
Patriots Point Links on Charleston Harbor

are the closest courses to town that are reasonably priced (when I mean reasonably, they are no more than $70 MAX and can be as cheap as $30. The public course has something like 50,000 rounds played on it in a year... I would avoid that on a vacation.

Also, remember, coming from the West Coast-- it will be very hot and very humid. I hope you come after September through May.
posted by sandmanwv at 2:59 PM on August 9, 2012

Roadfood is your friend. Do not leave Charleston without going to Jestine's, the Hominy Grill, Hymans or Ernie's for lima beans and neckbones. This last is in an unmarked building that looks like a seedy bar from outside. Go.
posted by brujita at 3:00 PM on August 9, 2012

I will echo lalex and counter brujita. Don't bother with Jestine's or Hyman's.

Note that BBQ isn't nearly as big in Charleston as it is in other parts of the state. Also, particularly in South Carolina, all the local chains are the same family, they're just different parts of it that don't talk to each other anymore. They still do have significantly different styles, though.

For a bit of an adventure, look up the Leech Museum (though I think it may have closed).
posted by 23 at 9:50 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have to agree with 23. Jestine's and Hymans are good but there's such better food in the area for the price you'll pay there.

lalex knows good food though. All three of those are great options. Definitely go to FIG instead of Hymans, since it's just across the street.

If you want to avoid some of the higher prices and touristy feels of the Market and East Bay, I'd suggest looking around Upper King St for restaurants. Our favorites are Fish (French Master Chef who does local lowcountry/French/Asian with a focus on local seafood), Rue de Jean (French Parisian), and Hall's Chophouse (OK, so it's expensive, but the steaks and service are amazing). They're all within 2 blocks of each other too, so that's a bonus.
posted by This Guy at 5:54 AM on August 10, 2012

You may want to check out Daufuskie Island, near Hilton Head. It's been years since I've been, but half of the island was golf resorts and half was an undeveloped barrier island.

Garden & Gun magazine has some good travel profiles: Greenville, SC, culinary road trip through South Carolina, BBQ pits...
posted by Frank Grimes at 10:22 AM on August 10, 2012

This Guy: "Hymans [is] good"

Hymans is a tourist trap pile of shit. If they had to rely on locals they wouldn't be in business anymore.
posted by theichibun at 11:51 AM on August 10, 2012

Wow. My southern sugar coating didn't work. I don't like Hymans and I wouldn't send friends there. People do seem to go there I droves and I know people who have enjoyed it. I literally know zero locals that go there though.
posted by This Guy at 1:21 PM on August 10, 2012

What do native Charlestonian's have to say about Ernie's? ;-)
posted by brujita at 7:32 PM on August 10, 2012

It was 3 years ago that I was in Charleston, so I will acknowledge things have changed....however, Roadfood has almost never steered me wrong.
posted by brujita at 7:45 PM on August 10, 2012

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