Wilmington Island Club (Semi-Private)
501 Wilmington Island Rd., Savannah
STAFF: Patrick Richardson is the Golf Professional; Don Hemmerle is the Superintendent
PAR/YARDAGE: Wilmington Island plays to a par of 71 with four sets of tees: Blue (6,672 yards); White (6,274); Gold (5,658) and Red (5,152).
COURSE RATING/SLOPE: 72.5/133 (Blue); 70.7/129 (White); 67.7/120 (Gold); 70.8/129 (Red).
ABOUT THE COURSE: One of the state’s most historic courses, the club has undergone many changes over the years, including its name and several renovations to the layout. Formerly known as the Savannah Inn & CC and later the Sheraton Savannah Resort, it became Wilmington Island Club in the 1990s after the once nationally known resort fell on some lean times. The club has since rebounded with the addition of a first class clubhouse and some major renovation work that has put much of the shine back on the classic Donald Ross layout. The original Ross design dates back to 1927, with Willard Byrd overseeing the first re-design in the mid-1960s.
The course became a popular tournament site for the Georgia PGA and GSGA, serving as host for the Georgia Open through the early 1990s, as well as the GSGA Championship in 1979. The club has also hosted the GSGA 4-Ball Championship four times since 1991, most recently in 2006, and is a regular stop on state and regional junior tours. The most recent renovation work came earlier this decade, and included some significant changes. The first and 18th holes were switched, with the former par-5 18th now a par 4 beginning with a tee shot over a pond. The new 18th is now a demanding par-4 with a pond fronting s small green that presents a very difficult target to hit. The nines have been reversed, with holes 2-9 now 10-17 and 10-17 now 2-9, with the front nine now playing to a par of 35. A ditch that winds through the course was expanded in several spots, enhancing the appearance and adding a little more challenge to the predominantly friendly layout. Water is in play on more than half the holes, including a trio of scenic, short-to-medium par 3s. A variety of coastal trees border almost all the fairways and place a premium on driving accuracy, with the well-guarded greens complexes including some bunkers that can produce some nervous glances with water looming just off the putting surface.