The fall 2019 issue of Palmetto Golfer magazine paid tribute to Musgrove Mill Golf Club as “home to some of South Carolina’s best golfers.” In fact, Musgrove Mill was far and away the club with the greatest concentration of golfers with single-digit handicaps in the state.

“On the men’s side, and overall, the club with the highest single-digit density is Musgrove Mill Golf Club, an Arnold Palmer design in the Upstate with proximity to more cows and goats than humans. In fact, as of the most recent U.S. Census, the club has twice as many members (about 260) than the nearest incorporated town, Cross Anchor, has people (126)… As Golf Digest magazine once observed, it is ‘remote.’ Yet good golfers want to play there.”

Palmetto Golfer is the South Carolina Golf Association’s official publication for news, results and stories pertaining to the clubs and the individuals that make up the SCGA membership.

“Using handicaps maintained through services provided by the South Carolina Golf Association, two out of every three male golfers who belong to the club are single-digit players. That’s a staggeringly high concentration when you consider that, nationally, less than a third of all men have handicaps that low.

“’They just love the challenge of this place,’ says Jeff Tallman, Musgrove’s affable and longtime director of golf… ‘It is a second shot golf course because it’s forgiving off the tee,’ Tallman says. ‘The golf course really starts from 150 yards in. You really learn how to hit golf shots, how to control your distances.’

“Indeed, thanks to perched greens, waste areas or water, there is barely a handful of holes where the ball doesn’t have to be flown in. You are constantly taking a yardage then adding or subtracting for an elevation change. The penalty for messing up that math or failing to execute the swing lends to the test that good golfers enjoy.

“As proof of that last point, Tallman notes that the SCGA’s current Player of the Year, Robert Lutomski, and Senior Player of the Year, Walter Todd, Sr., are both members at Musgrove. ‘That’s pretty amazing, I think,’ he says. ‘For one club to have both at the same time.’

“The club also attracts talented juniors. Roebuck’s Nathan Franks just returned from a seventh-place finish in The Junior Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Florida and Phoebe Carles from Clinton won the SC Junior Match Play Championship. Natalie Srinivasan, who went from Dorman High School to Furman University’s women’s team, recorded a top 20 finish at the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Invitational this spring. 

“Any surprised that Musgrove attracts such a wealth of good players comes from its geography, not the quality of the golf course. From the time it opened in 1988 it has been known as a ‘golfer’s course.’ Even now, more than 30 years on, and after a decade of intense high-end, new course construction from the mid-‘90s into the 2000s, Musgrove remains in the upper echelon. Golf Digest’s latest rankings put it at No. 13 in the state. Of the dozen courses above it, eight were built since Musgrove.

“Tallman says, ‘The cool thing about this golf course is that it’s challenging but it’s still very fair. There is nothing contrived about it. It just lays on the land, so all kinds of people enjoy it. We have guys in their 80s who play every Friday.’

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