I took up golf shortly after getting out of college. I had a good paying job, joined a local club and started to play on a regular basis. During that time, I made a few friends who had similar career and long term goals: work hard and save up some money for retirement. My thinking was that I would work until age 60 or so, retire, move down south where you can golf year-round, join a club and play my way into eternity.
Back then, that was the same dream of just about every serious golfer who lived in the frozen tundra of the northern states and Canada, and could only play the game 6 or 7 months a year. Unfortunately, the recession that hit in 2008 wiped out the dreams and IRAs of many baby boomers who shared my dream. Now it seems the economy is on an upturn and it may not be too late for many to rekindled their dreams. After all, the population of Florida is now greater than New York.
Golf Communities are plentiful in the southeastern “Golf States” (North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida); many offer multiple courses and superb practice facilities. Some are multi-sports communities, usually pairing golf with tennis, croquet or pickleball. Throw in an Olympic-sized swimming pool and you’ve got the perfect place to live out your golden years.
One such community is The Landings Club on Skidaway Island, 12 miles outside of Savannah, GA. The Landings Club is a private, luxury golf community of over 4,500 acres with more than 4,000 single-family homes. The Landings Club is also home to over 100 self-organized groups, two marinas, 3 tennis centers with 34 courts, five swimming pools, and more than 85 classes a week at the 48,000 square-foot Oakridge Fitness Center. Bottom line is that there is plenty to do here; and we haven’t even touched on golf or dining!
To be honest, golf is what sets The Landings apart from other private golf communities. There’s not just a couple of courses designed by local golf course architects, The Landings Club has 6 championship courses designed by the likes of Arthur Hills, Tom Fazio, Willard Byrd and Arnold Palmer. It’s also home to the nation’s 2nd largest women’s golf association; only the LPGA is bigger.
These six golf courses operate out of four independent clubhouses, each with its own pro shop, driving range and dining rooms. No two pro shops carry the same brands of apparel, so you learn where to shop if you are brand loyalist, or you check out this page: https://www.landingsclub.com/pro-shops. Only one pro shop – Oakridge – sells equipment, and you can get just about every brand made. They also offer custom fittings and club repair. Lessons and instruction are available at any shop.
The Landings Club offers several membership options. A Full Club Membership gives members and their guests complete access to all six courses and their respective clubhouses, the tennis centers, swimming pools, the wellness and fitness center, dining and all social events and activities. Club privileges are extended to the member, member’s spouse and dependent children.
An Athletic Membership provides members and their guests access to all clubhouses, tennis courts, the fitness and wellness center, swimming pools, dining and all social events and activities. Everything sans golf. A House Membership gives members and their guests access to all clubhouses, dining and all social events and activities as well as access to the Marshwood Pool.
Lastly, if you live more than 75 miles from the Landings and don’t own a home in the community, you may qualify for their National Membership. This option affords you all the benefits of a Full Club Membership for a total of 28 days during the calendar year. Keep in mind, The Landings Club is a private club and requires an application and sponsorship by a current member.
Since golf is the primary focus at The Landings Club, let’s take a closer look. The Marshwood Course was the first course to open at The Landings and was a collaboration of Arnold Palmer and Frank Duane. Golf Course architect Tim Liddy redesigned the course in 2003 by rebuilding the greens, bunkers and tees, installing new concrete cart paths and updating the drainage and irrigation systems. Marshwood weaves its way through oak and pine groves on the northeastern end of Skidaway Island and is one of the development’s tighter courses. The 12th hole, a 177 yard, par 3 that faces Romerly Marsh and Wassaw Sound is considered by many to be the most scenic hole at The Landings. From the Club tees, Marshwood plays 6,125 yards with a course rating of 69.8 and a slope of 122. The Marshwood Clubhouse is a favorite among the members and offers home-style cuisine. Their weekly pasta and prime rib nights are an island tradition: it’s also the go-to spot for lunch before or after your round.
The Magnolia Course is another Arnold Palmer collaboration, this time with Ed Seay, and was the second course to open. The front nine opened in 1977 and the back in 1979. In 2001, the course underwent a major renovation to improve the course’s drainage and playability. The irrigation system was updated and concrete cart paths were installed along with a 5th set of tees. Many members regard Magnolia’s front nine as the community’s most difficult, while the back nine is home to the course’s toughest hole, number 18, a 425-yard par 4 that plays itself over and around a lagoon to an elevated green. From the Club tees, Magnolia plays 6,134 yards with a course rating of 70.9 and a slope of 126.
The Willard C. Byrd designed Plantation Course first opened in 1982 and in 2004 the club, along with architect Clyde Johnson, gave the course a facelift. New drainage and irrigation systems were installed along with concrete cart paths, bunkers and a 5th set of tees. You’ll need total control of your tee shots on these tight fairways if you want to have a shot at the green. The Plantation Course is perhaps the community’s most scenic course, offering golfers uncompromising views of the surrounding lagoons, marshes and oak trees. The Plantation Course plays 5,977 yards from the Club Tees with a course rating of 69.7 and a slope of 123. The Plantation Clubhouse is reminiscent of a grand antebellum estate, making it a popular venue for wedding receptions. Members always look forward to special holiday brunches with family and friends.
The Palmetto Course is the first of two Arthur Hills designs at the Landings Club and originally opened for play in 1985. A renovation in 2005 saw the installation of new concrete cart paths, a new irrigation and drainage system, bunkers, an additional set of tees and a bulkhead around the 5th green. Since then, Palmetto is considered by many to be the most challenging course on the island. The first six holes set the stage and can make or break your round; the ensuing nine offer a little reprieve and a chance to catch your breath as you make your way down the final stretch. Numbers 16 through 18 define the course. Along the back nine are several gravesites including on number 13 that of Philip Delegal, a Commander in the Revolutionary War and one of Skidaway Island’s earliest settlers. The Palmetto Course plays 6,162 yards from the Club Tees with a course rating of 70.6 and a slope of 126.
The second Arthur Hills is Oakridge, which opened in 1988. After doing such a great job with the Palmetto Course, Hills was asked to create something a little different and Oakridge doesn’t disappoint. Oakridge is shorter than Palmetto but has a lot more water hazards and bunkers. It also brings into play Hills’ trademark split level fairways, making this one of the most popular courses in the community. The signature hole is number 15, known by locals as The Cemetery Hole because of the small family cemetery plot of Elcy Waters and her infant son on the left side of the fairway. Number 15 just happens to be the course’s most scenic hole with tremendous views of the marsh. From the Club Tees, Oakridge plays 5,907 yards with a course rating of 69.6 and a slope of 125. The clubhouse is home to the Oakridge Steakhouse, a high-end establishment with mouthwatering entrees at moderate prices. Renovated in 2011, the clubhouse offers views of the 18th green of the Oakridge Golf Course. The Steakhouse Restaurant is on one side and a pub style bar on the other, making Oakridge the perfect place for date night or watching the game with friends. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
The last course built at The Landings Club was the Tom Fazio Deer Creek design. Deer Creek opened in the summer of 1991 and in 2009, Fazio returned to oversee the rebuilding of greens and installing concrete cart paths. Fazio also added tightly mowed swales around the greens, add to the already arduous task of getting up and down. Deer Creek will challenge all skill levels as it allows you to spray the ball off the tee and still have the chance to recover. The par 3’s are the island’s most challenging and Fazio does a great job of offering golfers several risk/reward opportunities. Most memorable is the short par 4, number 5, which plays 264 yards from the Club tees. It’s about 225 yards over the water and the bunker that fronts the right half of the green sees a lot of action. From the Club tees, Deer Creek plays 5,981 yards with a slope rating of 70.1 and a slope of 127. The Deer Creek clubhouse offers a panoramic view of the 18th green. The interior sports a nautical theme and the covered patio makes this coastal grill a favorite for golf lunches, celebratory dinners and Friday nights. Whenever possible, the seafood is fresh and local, with many items coming from within 50 miles of the club and from local farms.
If you’re looking to relocate and/or start your retirement and golf is your game, then look no further than The Landings Club on Skidaway Island, it’s a community that has it all. For more information or to arrange a visit, call Membership Director Scott Edwards at (912) 598-8050. You can also reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to visit their website at www.landingsclub.com.