Ocean Creek Golf Course Review

50 Words or Less

The Ocean Creek Golf Course at Fripp Island Resort in South Carolina is a test off the tee.  Much longer than the scorecard indicates.  Fun approaches and greens.  Great variety of holes and natural beauty.

Introduction

In a state with as many golf courses at South Carolina has, it can be hard to know where to play.  Fork over huge money to play the big names?  Throw a dart at the golf guide?

In this review, we’re going to answer that question with one of the lesser known destinations that’s on its way to single name status.  Ocean Creek Golf Course at Fripp Island Resort is a Davis Love III design that’s challenging enough to host the Big South Conference Championship but still has enough fun for a high handicap buddies trip.

Practice Facilities

Ocean Creek Golf Course is home to a driving range and a small practice green.  Both are located within steps of the first tee, which is a major plus in my book.

The range allows you to hit every club in your bag, but you need to be fairly straight lest you find the road to the right or the first fairway to your left.  Also, be mindful of slicers coming from the first tee to search for their balls on the edge of the range.

Customer Service & Amenities

Fripp Island Resort is home to a wealth of good times and things to do.  To get a full picture of Fripp Island Resort, please check out our feature, coming soon.

At the Ocean Creek Golf Course, you’ll find a medium sized pro shop and a snack shack.  The pro shop is stocked with high quality logo gear and a handful of hard goods in case you have a misbehaving club.  I think Fripp’s sailboat logo is great, so you’ll want to bring home at least a hat or polo.  The snack shop has all the drinks and packaged foods you could want; if you need a full meal, you’ll have to head to one of Fripp’s many restaurants.

Get the full story on Fripp Island Resort HERE

Finally, Fripp Island Resort has a great feeling throughout that’s created by both the resort employees and the guests.  Wherever you go at Fripp, people are smiling and helpful.  The person at the bag drop will ask about your round while cleaning your clubs.  Everyone is having a good time, appreciative of their beautiful environment and warm weather.

Beauty & Scenery

Ocean Creek Golf Course is a prototypical South Carolina low country beauty.  The highlights are holes 6 and 7 which offer long views of the marsh to your right.  There’s water in sight on almost every hole, and the course is flooded with wildlife.  The deer on Fripp Island mosey around as if they own the place, completely unbothered by golfers.  On the more dangerous side, alligators are liable to show up on any hole.  We had to reroute our cart several times to give them a wide berth.

Find more ocean views at Fripp Island’s Ocean Point Golf Course HERE

Tee Shots

To the surprise of those who glance at the scorecard, the place where you will be tested the most at Ocean Creek Golf Course is the tee.  From the tips, Ocean Creek measures “just” 6,392 yards.  There are five sets of tees, going all the way down to 4,209 yards.

I cannot stress enough how deceptive these numbers are.  Ocean Creek is at sea level, and there is a constant, “heavy” breeze.  Even when the wind doesn’t feel strong, it’s robbing you of at least one club of distance.  Zack and I are both capable of carrying the ball over 250 yards, and we got everything we wanted from the gold tees at 6,021 yards.  I played one round from the blue tees (5,610 yards) and was still hitting drivers and full approach shots.  Ocean Creek plays much longer than the number on the card.

An even bigger ingredient in the challenge is the lack of width off the tees.  Most of the fairways are average in size, but there are precious few places to miss.  Of the 26 sides of the fairways (left and right of the 13 fairways), 12 are stroke hazards (water or inescapable tree lines and brush).  Only 7 fairway sides give you significant room to miss.  The course doesn’t favor one shot shape over another, but you need to take one side out of play to the best of your ability.  Going around Ocean Creek Golf Course with a two-way miss is a recipe for a huge score and a lot of frustration.

On a happier note, if you hit the fairway, you’ll be setting up a great approach.  There is only modest movement in the fairways, so you should get a favorable stance.  Additionally, with the exception of a couple doglegs, you will always have an unfettered view of the green.

Approach Shots

After navigating the treacherous tee shots, you can relax slightly on the approach.  The greens at Ocean Creek Golf Course are average to above average in size and conventionally shaped, making them inviting targets.  This course also provides fair sight lines with almost no visual trickery.

As long as your ball is dry, you shouldn’t have any problem making good contact on your approach.  The rough – at least during our early spring visit – is very light and springy.

The main challenge on the approach shots is that they must be played through the air.  Water runs in front of the green on numerous holes, taking the ground game out of the equation.  The hazards are generally not tight to the green, but coming up a club short will often result in a lost ball.

Finally, I’ll note again the impact of the low elevation and heavy air.  Throughout our rounds at Ocean Creek Golf Course, we were hitting at least one full club more than normal, two or three if we felt much wind.  The wind also enhances the subtle elevation changes.  From the fairway, an approach may look level, but that one or two degree incline can rob you of the few yards you need to hit the green in regulation.

Greens & Surrounds

The greens at Ocean Creek Golf Course add variety to your round.  On the whole, they feature moderate undulation, but there are instances of sharp tiers and dramatic shaping.  As you gain experience at the course, you’ll learn where the most makable putts are and the few spots that are to be avoided.

It’s a similar story around the greens.  By and large, the surrounds are modestly shaped, allowing straightforward recovery shots.  You’ll have the option of playing whatever types of short game shots you feel comfortable with.  There are spots, however, that are quite penal.  #15, for example, has one of the more elevated greens and some spots in the surround that require a high, soft, precise pitch.  The collars are very putt-able, essentially enhancing the size of the greens.

Finally, the bunkers at Ocean Creek Golf Course are sneaky tough.  They’re fairly large, but, in my opinion, are never the dominant feature of the hole.  They seem benign because they’re not very deep or aggressively shaped.  What makes them tricky is their square footage.  Because they’re so big, it’s easy to end up with a bunker shot that has to fly six or seven paces just to find grass.  If you’re not a confident sand player, do what you can to avoid them altogether.

Favorite Holes

#4 – Par 4 – 274 Yards

This short par four is a gem because there’s risk no matter how you play it.  The narrow fairway sits between dense woods on the left and water hazards on the right, so even a mid iron shot will test your nerves.  If you go for the green, you need to get the ball all the way there or else you’ll be stuck in a deep valley.  The green is the most dramatic on the course, and the pin position has a major impact on the hole’s difficulty.  If the pin is in the bottom of the bowl, most approaches will end up close.  If the pin is on the upper rim, hitting the green in one is no guarantee of birdie.

#6 – Par 3 – 151 Yards

This looks like a mid-length par 3 on the card, but it plays much longer thanks to the prevailing wind.  Try not to be distracted by the beautiful views and make sure to get your ball on the green.  The marsh comes up fairly close to the front edge of the putting surface, so being short is not the play.

#18 – Par 5 – 512 Yards

After a straightaway drive with ample room right and left, your second shot is played over a natural berm that runs almost perpendicular to the fairway.  After crossing the berm, the hole veers to the right.  Getting home in two is possible with two strong shots.  The closing hole was a point of contention in our group with some players feeling like it was unclear where to hit the second shot.  Whether you love it or hate it, this is definitely one of the more memorable holes on the course.

Ocean Creek Golf Course

Conclusion

Whether you’re traveling with low handicappers or a more recreational bunch, Ocean Creek Golf Course is a great destination.  The weather allows you to golf almost year round, and the course’s beauty takes the sting out of the occasional water ball.  Book your trip to Fripp Island Resort before the word gets out.

Visit Ocean Creek Golf Course HERE

Matt Saternus
Latest posts by Matt Saternus (see all)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *