Location: Graniteville, SC
Architect: Tom Fazio
November 6, 2012
I first visited Sage Valley back in early 2008 at which point I had played less than 10 courses on my Top 100 Quest. I absolutely loved the course and the profile I put up from that visit can been seen by clicking here. I was excited to play the course again to see if my feelings would hold up after having visited roughly 80 courses that are currently on the Top 100 or have been in recent years.
So I happened to be in the western part of South Carolina traveling with a couple of buddies and was able to arrange a game at Sage Valley through my same friends that I played with last time. We arrived around 11am, had a quick bite to eat in the clubhouse (the fried pickles are fantastic!) and hit the range. We had two groups playing so once we were all warmed up all sixteen of us (8 players and 8 caddies) made our way to the 1st tee. It was a little cool and slightly drizzling, but its pretty tough to dampen the spirits at a great golf course. The yardages below are from the 6,752 yard member tees.
Hole 1 – 397 Yards – Par 4
Teeing off from the elevated tee box provides some extra yardage, so the 1st hole plays a little bit shorter than indicated on the scorecard.
The photo below is a look at the green from the left side of the fairway and shows some of the movement on the putting surface.
Hole 2 – 169 Yards – Par 3
This tricky little hole played particularly tough with the wind. As some in our group found out, it isnâ€™t quite enough to land the tee shot on the green here. We had two guys hit balls that landed on the green and rolled right off the front and into the water.
Hole 3 – 374 Yards – Par 4
Here we have a mid length par 4 with a carry over water from the tee. Players taking a line further to the left will have a longer carry to reach dry land. The safe shot is to take a line at the bunker on the far side of the fairway.
Below is a view of the approach shot into the green. The putting surface is two tiered with the back tier being lower than the front.
Hole 4 – 476 Yards – Par 5
The 4th hole is a short par 5 that plays uphill. The photo below was taken from the tee box. Unfortunately, the rain started to pick up here and I forgot to get photos of the rest of this hole.
Hole 5 – 399 Yards – Par 4
The 5th hole is a beefy par 4 that is just short of 400 yards. The hole moves slightly right to left, so drives that hug the left side of the fairway may have a shorter approach shot than drives sprayed out to the right.
Below is a look at the approach into the green.
Hole 6 – 320 Yards – Par 4
This short par 4 is driveable for big hitters, and I know this for sure because one of the guys in our group hit his tee shot past the green. The safe shot here is to hit a 200-220 yard shot just to the left of the bunkers on the right.
Here is a look from the green back down the hole. Note that the bunkers have disappeared from this angle.
Hole 7 – 213 Yards – Par 3
This par 3 requires an excellent shot to reach the green from over 210 yards. There is a little bailout area on the right side of the hole, but shots that are mishit short or hooked short and to the left are likely to be lost balls. The photo below was taken from the tee box.
And here is a little closer view.
Hole 8 – 536 Yards – Par 5
This is one of the holes I really liked on my last visit to Sage Valley. The drive from the elevated tee box is fun and provides a little extra yardage.
Although I would normally consider 536 yards to be outside the distance that is reachable in two for me, I hit a good drive here and decided to go for it with my 3 wood. Below is a look at the approach into the green which plays directly uphill.
Hole 9 – 436 Yards – Par 4
The front nine ends with a very stout par 4 where the landing zone of the drive is blind. The photo below was taken from the tee box.
Here is a view of the approach shot into the green.
Hole 10 – 544 Yards – Par 5
The back side starts off with a lengthy par 5 that swings right to left just a touch. The photo below was taken from the tee and the best play here is to hit a draw, or something down the left side of the fairway.
Hole 11 – 406 Yards – Par 4
The 11th hole is another one that I loved on my first visit back in 2008. Here the drive is hit from an elevated tee box into an uphill fairway. With the chute of trees to be negotiated, a draw is probably the best shot shape to play here.
Below is a look at the uphill approach into the 11th green. This green has a HUGE false front, so its crucial to make sure to hit the approach shot to the middle of the green and not just the front.
Hole 12 – 187 Yards – Par 3
This mid length par 3 is a little deceiving from the tee. The green appears to have a false front which had one of our group scared his ball was going to roll off before he had a chance to mark it. Upon reaching the green we realized it was an optical illusion from the tee and his ball was safely on the putting surface with no chance of going anywhere.
Here is a little closer look.
Hole 13 – 345 Yards – Par 4
Here we have a shortish par 4 that doglegs a bit to the right. The smartest play here is to take a line down the left side of the fairway with a fade back to the middle. Any drive that is hit moderately well should leave a short iron or wedge into the green. The bunker on the right is in play and aggressive lines too far to the right may end up having to hit their approach shots from the sand.
Here is the view of the approach shot taken near the fairway bunker. The green is heavily bunkered and plays just a bit uphill so club selection is critical here.
Hole 14 – 407 Yards – Par 4
This lengthy par 4 plays a little bit downhill which helps to shorten it up a small bit, but the hole still requires two solid shots to reach the green.
Below is a view of the green from about 100 yards out.
Hole 15 – 509 Yards – Par 5
This par 5 starts off from an elevated tee box and bends significantly to the right. With a good drive down the right side of the hole the green will be reachable in two for long hitters. One of the guys in our group who is very long actually hit his ball over the trees on the right side in an attempt to severely cut the corner. The caddies all thought he had cleared the trouble but we never found the ball. I suggest hitting something to the middle of the fairway.
Below is a look at the approach into the green. Players going for the green in two will have an awkward stance with the ball below their feet and may have to carry the bunkers along the right side of the hole.
Hole 16 – 206 Yards – Par 3
Here we have the final par 3 on the course. There is no significant trouble to speak of, but the hole requires a 200+ yard shot to reach the putting surface which always, in my opinion, makes for a tough hole.
And a little closer look.
Hole 17 – 441 Yards – Par 4
The 17th hole is the only one that had changed considerably since my visit in 2008. Back then the hole played as a 391 yard par 4 and today it has been beefed up to a 441 yards par 4. The photo below was taken from the tee box and the best play is to hit the drive up the middle or maybe favor the left side of the fairway. The right side makes for a slightly more awkward shot into the green . . . at least to my eye.
Below is a view of the approach into the green. The old version of this hole did not have the lake in play at all. In fact, the lake was tucked back behind some trees and barely even noticeable. Itâ€™s definitely noticeable now and the hole is a much more stern test late in the round when matches are tight.
Here is a little closer look at the green.
Hole 18 – 387 Yards – Par 4
The finishing hole at Sage Valley is a solid par 4 that bends to the left and sets up well for players who can hit a draw. All three of the fairway bunkers in the photo below are definitely in play from the tee.
Below is a look at the slightly uphill approach shot into the heavily bunkered green.
After we finished on the 18th green we still had some daylight left and decided to grab a couple of clubs and pop over to the three â€śDormie Holesâ€ť. These holes were created to help settle bets that finished dormie on the 18 hole course. We decided that we would each take 3 clubs and make a little game of it. My choices were Driver, 8 iron and putter.
Dormie Hole 1 – 378 Yards – Par 4
A straight away par 4 with an uphill shot into the green.
Dormie Hole 2 – 327 Yards – Par 4
This hole runs back down the hill and bends slightly to the right. I was pleased to hit a nice greenside bunker shot here with my 8 iron. That was something Iâ€™d never done before!
I forgot to take a picture of the 3rd Dormie Hole which is a 147 yard par 3. It was decided that we should all tee off with the longest club we had brought with us for this hole which meant I was going to be hitting my driver. Now Iâ€™ve hit many a 147 yard shot with my driver, but never on purpose. The results were not good. Not one of us hit the green!
Iâ€™m glad I made it back to Sage Valley for another visit and confirmed my feelings about the course. I stand by my assessment that this is a great golf course with a variety of fun holes that are built on excellent terrain. The new changes at the 17th hole certainly make for more drama coming down the stretch and the overall vibe of the club is very laid back and relaxed which is always nice. Iâ€™m a big fan of Sage Valley and hope I make it back there again one of these days.