By Hannah Dockery
Nestled away on rural Johns Island lies a golfer’s paradise. Spanning over 900 acres, The Golf Club at Briar’s Creek encompasses everything that makes the lowcountry special…sprawling landscapes, beautiful marshes, abundant wildlife, and of course, world-class golf. The private golf retreat, designed by architect Rees Jones, opened in 2001, powered by a joint effort between landowner Ed Myrick, custom homebuilder Steve Koenig, and 20 investors with ties to Kiawah and Seabrook Islands. Myrick turned down several previous offers to develop the land, but agreed to pursue Briar’s Creek with the promise that it would be a private and intimate retreat.
The Club recently welcomed its 200th active member and is on its way towards the goal of 300 members. Briar’s Creek prides itself on being a small club. “We have our priorities in order,” says Gus Bright, Membership Director at Briar’s Creek. “It’s all about the most special golf experience in the region and preserving the natural habitat that surrounds it.” At Briar’s Creek, there are no tee times; as a member, you can show up and play whenever is best for you. Quite often it feels like you have your own private golf course, Bright believes. There are also organized games each week for men and women, of all skill levels. The clubhouse is a 14,000 square foot building with views of the Kiawah River and surrounding creeks and marshes. Designed with a rustic lodge feel, the clubhouse stands apart from the typical island style. Inside, the spaces are accented with hardwood floors, leather sofas, ornate floor rugs, and rustic deer antlers. State of the art men’s and ladies’ locker rooms are provided, and the dining area offers a full bar and lunch favorites to replenish the golfer’s energy. The Club also serves dinner on the weekends.
Mike Martin, one of the founders of Briar’s Creek, believes that the intimate feel of the entire experience makes Briar’s Creek unique. “Part of the original vision of Briar’s Creek was that we wanted members, families, and their guests to have a special hospitality experience as well,” he says. Martin comments that the staff and members all know each other by name, and guests are welcomed in like family. Don Chase works at the gate and invites members and visitors in with a personal greeting and friendly smile. “The staff here has been trained to Ritz-Carlton standards,” Martin adds.
Both Golf Digest and Golf Magazine have recognized Briar’s Creek with awards such as “The Best New Private Course in America” and “Top 100 Courses in America,” but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a little something for everyone. Miles of nature trails intertwine the course, lakes, creeks, and marshes giving visitors a close encounter with the natural lowcountry habitat and over 50 species of rare birds nesting in the Bird Sanctuary. Briar’s Creek was one of the first developments in South Carolina to receive the Audubon International Silver Signature Sanctuary designation, Bright comments. The property is bordered by salt-water Briar’s Creek, where docks are available for members to tie up, go fishing, crabbing, or kayaking. The Club also has a 75-acre fresh water lake perfect for kayaking or fishing for trophy large mouth bass.
Situated away from the golf course, Briar’s Creek has developed 83 estate homesites, ranging from one to eight acres, and only 11 remain available. This is a tribute to a lifestyle experience that is seldom found – low density living in a community devoted to nurturing family and a peaceful pace of life, Bright says. The proximity to Freshfields Village, Downtown Charleston, and Beachwalker Park add to the living experience.
Though Briar’s Creek is only a fifteen-minute drive from its golfing neighbors, Kiawah and Seabrook, both Martin and Bright feel that the Club does not take away from all that those islands have to offer. “Briar’s Creek enhances the whole area,” says Martin. “We have members from Kiawah, Seabrook, and Johns Island as well as Charleston and Mount Pleasant. It’s an enhancement to the area and to the whole lowcountry lifestyle. We like all the clubs. Briar’s Creek is just a little different, because of size and intimacy.”
For more information, and to watch a video on Briar’s Creek, visit www.briarscreek.com or call 768-3050. Briar’s Creek Golf Club is located at 4000 Briar’s Creek Lane, Johns Island.