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Palmetto Golf Club Membership Cost

Course Construction

Palmetto Golf Club was founded in 1892 by Thomas Hitchcock, a prominent sportsman from Long Island, New York. He and his wife attracted many wealthy families from the Northeast who established a Winter Colony in Aiken. These winter residents created several recreational facilities for polo, fox hunting, horseback riding, and tennis. Several large estates were constructed in the heart of Aiken in the vicinity of the Palmetto Golf Club, many of which continue to exist.

Recognizing the interest being taken in golf in America, Mr. Hitchcock laid out four holes in 1892 where holes #16, 17, and 18 and the practice range are now located. Title to the land and facilities was transferred to the Whitney Trustees in 1901 to assure that it would be preserved for the future. The Palmetto Golf Club has leased the facilities from the Whitney Trustees since that time and recently signed a new lease through the year 2080.

After the first four holes were constructed in 1892, Herbert Leeds, who also built Myopia Hunt Club in Boston, laid out the remainder of the initial nine holes. Palmetto was expanded in 1895 to 18 holes with the completion of the second nine holes that had been designed by Leeds and James Mackrell, Palmetto’s first golf professional. There is a record of Donald Ross having done some work at Palmetto in 1928. It is believed that his firm installed an early irrigation system on the golf course by damming up the creek down the hill from the 18th tee.

In 1932, when Dr. Alister MacKenzie had completed the Augusta National Golf Club, he was asked to draw up plans for converting the Palmetto sand greens to grass and lengthening the course. Many of the original Augusta National investors were Winter Colonists from Aiken who also belonged to Palmetto. Wendell Miller of New York, who had just finished building Augusta National, was contracted to manage the project. The work at the Palmetto used some excess materials from the Augusta National project.

There were many minor changes, mostly involving tree and bunker work, throughout the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Rees Jones suggested some bunker renovations, which began in the late 80’s and were completed when the course was re-grassed in 1995. In 2003, Tom Doak, a recognized authority on Dr. MacKenzie’s work, provided recommendations to restore some of the MacKenzie design characteristics on the golf course. This work was completed in 2005 and mainly involved reworking the bunkers and expanding the greens out towards the existing mounds and slopes. Noted golf course architect Gil Hanse is now serving as resident architect for the Club.