Thursday, March 7, 2013
Six miles up from the Ravenel Bridge overlooking the eastern bank of the Wando River lies an impressive brick structure built in Colonial Georgian style. Its stately columns and ample piazzas lead the eye up to gently curved dormers and the three large widow’s walks that crown it. It is nestled in the heart of a thriving hamlet where it serves as a focal point and a gathering place for the local residents. It is the clubhouse RiverTowne Country Club, and for those who are here to golf the course, its stately appearance gives a good presage of the pathway that awaits.
More than four miles of pathways are interwoven in this community, and not once does one fairway abut another. The first third of the course wanders among freshwater ponds and lagoons lined by thousands of clumps of Pampas grass.
long the edges of these ponds egret and heron wade and occasionally you see an alligator sunning or a river otter frolicking.
It is nest-building season, and both eagles and osprey can be seen carrying branches and Spanish moss as they construct this year’s abode. Deer can frequently be seen peering out of the wooded areas as gray squirrels chatter amongst themselves and squabble with ravens.
Loblolly, long and short leaf pines are interspersed with oak, almond, willow and gum trees. Turning away from the ponds, the next section leads across golden fields of spartina grass to Horlbeck Creek. The path now follows more freshwater ponds as it threads the gently curved contours of the creek. Then the last leg turns back to the high ground with its vistas overlooking the islets and marshes on the banks of the river.
Local residents who see me photographing the course regularly walk out from their houses to say hello and chat. “The club and the course anchor this community. The club is always hosting events for residents, and the restaurant is truly the best kept secret in Mount Pleasant,” states resident and club member Carl Piontek.
“We golf every day,” says resident and 10-year member Nancy Pelik before filling me in on the inside scoop of where to find the eagles nest under construction, where the river otter hang out and where the red fox used to nest. And yes, there is the restaurant. Everyone you meet gives rave reviews of the dining facility and the remarkable work of its chef Jason Ulak.
“We’ve got a great golfing community at RiverTowne Country Club,” states Pete Dunham, club pro and PGA professional.
“The design of this course attracts a very loyal following, and it shows in the membership as well as in every neighborhood surrounding the course. It is a pleasure to be around a group of golfers who are truly passionate about their club.” The course truly does provide many links within the community, and the passion shows in both the employees and residents. With seasonal rates ranging from $60 to $100, this is a venue well worth trip.
David Emch, local photographer and writer owns an art printing and framing business in Mount Pleasant. He can be reached by phone at (843) 276-9096 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.