Our guest author is Dave Theoret. He has been in the golf and golf travel industry for over 20 years. His writing endeavors include reviewing golf courses, resorts, destinations, equipment, golf apparel, and training aids. David’s articles and reviews have been published on many golf travel, equipment, and apparel websites. You can read more of Dave's work at TheGolfinGuy.com.
Savannah Lakes Village is a 4,000-acre master-planned private lakefront community located on over 20 miles of shoreline on Lake Thurmond. It’s a common-interest community where property owners pay assessments that help keep the common amenities up and running. They also pay nominal usage fees for amenities such as golf, clubhouse restaurants, the recreation center, and community docks. This a la carte approach allows members to build the lifestyle they want and, if you’re an avid golfer, play as much golf as you want.
The Community has received numerous awards including one of “America’s 100 Best Planned Communities” by Ideal-LIVING Magazine, “Best Overall Active Adult Community” by National Active Retirement Association, and America’s “100 Best Master Planned Communities,” by Where to Retire. They’ve also been recognized as a “50 Top Golf Community,” by Retirement Lifestyles. Savannah Lakes Village was also South Carolina’s first “Firewise” community.
For residents, there’s plenty to do; it’s a community practically built around recreation. In addition to watersports on and around the lake, Savannah Lakes Village boasts two championship lakefront golf courses on property. Within the community’s 23,000 square foot Recreation Center you’ll find 2 pools, tennis and pickleball courts, and a bowling alley. For the outdoor lover, there are literally hundreds of miles of land and water trails to explore. The community also has over 30 sanctioned clubs and groups with something for everyone from birdwatching to golf to shooting sports.
Savannah Lakes is home to two of the best golf courses in the area if not the state. Each course has excellent practice facilities including spacious driving ranges where you can hit every club in the bag, putting greens, practice bunkers, and pitching greens. These award-winning golf courses were designed by golf course architect Tom Clark and are seamlessly carved from the rolling landscape that wraps around Lake Thurmond. Watch bald eagles soar overhead as you putt and enjoy unique challenges, breathtaking vistas, and an exciting round of golf. In addition to great views, you’ll find some of the most scenic, challenging, and inspiring golf holes in the state.
The Tara Golf Course plays 7,002 yards from the black tees with a course rating of 72 and a slope of 140. The average golfer will find the white tees at 6,091 yards enjoyable and challenging. Ladies typically play from the red tees at 5,375. Pick the set of tees that best match your game and you’ll have a great time.
The Tara Golf Course winds its ways through the community and meanders along the naturally rugged terrain of the Sumter National Forest and around Lake Thurmond. The rolling topography of the land shows itself in several places throughout your round, while stately oaks and pristine pines frame each hole.
Tara has several memorable holes but the stretch from 8 to 10 can make or break a good round. Number 8 is a par 5 that plays 486 yards from the white tees and for the majority of golfers is going to be a 3-shot hole. Try and play down the left side or cut the corner of the dogleg and you can make it really rough on yourself. A good idea may be something less than a driver off the tee in hopes of finding the fairway. Playing your layup shot down the right side will give a better angle into the green, which is an odd shape and heavily protected by sand. Number 9 is a unique and fun hole. At 317 yards, it’s not real long and it plays downhill so it’s somewhat shorter still. Whatever you hit off the tee. Make sure it’s short of the water in front of the green. Number 10 is another dogleg left par 4, playing 397 yards. Favor the right side off the tee and leave yourself a long to mid-iron slightly uphill into another well-guarded green. Make it through these holes at par or better and odds are you’ll have a great round.
The Monticello Course seems to be the more popular of the two. At 7,032 yards it’s only slightly longer and the course rating of 74 and slope of 142 suggest that plays a little tougher. Monticello is best classified as a modern links course as it follows the natural contours of the forested coastline and brings water into play on at least 9 holes. The course features Bermuda fairways and rough, Zoysia collars and MiniVerde Bermuda greens. I found the white tees at 6,112 yards provided a good challenge and had me hitting every club in the bag.
The most stunning holes on the golf course are 3, 4, and 5 which play out on a lakefront peninsula and bring the water into play. Number 3 is a 469-yard par 5 with water all down the left side and bunkers that come into play in the landing area on both your tee shot and layup. The boomerang-shaped green is protected on the left by sand and water. The 4th is a short par 3, playing 139 yards into a green with water that must be carried off the tee and sand and mounding surrounding it.
Number 5 is a 346-yard par 4 with that pesky lake down the left side again. The hole has been named as one of the “18 Most Spectacular” holes in the Carolinas by Carolina Living Magazine. Favoring the right side helps to take the water out of play but watch out for the fairway bunker. A tee shot that finds the fairway will leave an approach shot over water into a well undulated green protected by sand and water on the left.
The clubhouses offer golfers full beverage service plus bar sandwiches and other snacks perfect for a quick bite at the turn. Both clubhouses are equipped with multiple televisions, and the covered patio at Monti’s is a wonderful place to enjoy drinks when the weather is comfortable. New for 2022, River Grille at Tara is christening The Overlook, an outdoor patio with a panoramic vista spanning the #1 tee, the shared #9/#18 green, and the shores of Lake Thurmond.
If you’re considering retirement to a warm-weather golf community, take a serious look at Savannah Lakes Village. The Upcountry of South Carolina is beautiful and offers plenty to do. You’re bound to meet friends and neighbors that share your interests. There are six different neighborhoods within Savannah Lakes offering lake, golf, and interior-wooded homesites ranging in price from the $200s to well over $1M. No matter where you live, as a resident of Savannah Lakes Village you’ll have full access to the golf courses and the lake via the community docks and local area boat ramps. For more information, visit their website, www.SavannahLakes.com.