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Golf Magazine unveiled its biennial list of America’s “Top 100 You Can Play,” a ranking of the nation’s best public courses, and four area layouts, including two of the nation’s top 40, earned a spot on the coveted list. Two of them are located along the award-winning Hammock Coast Golf Trail.

A Lowcountry classic, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club led the way at no. 29, followed by theDunes Club at no. 39, True Blue Golf Club at no. 77, and Barefoot Resort’s Love Course was no. 85.

Caledonia, a Mike Strantz design, has long been a favorite of the Golf Magazine ratings panel. The layout, routed along a stunning piece of property, is equal parts art and architecture.

Strantz carved a masterpiece between soaring live oak trees draped in Spanish moss and alligator-filled, lowcountry water that used to feed thriving rice plantations. The back nine, in particular, is golf at its finest.

The 11th is a devilish par 3 with a stream that snakes from tee to green, an understated but nonetheless daunting challenge. Caledonia’s finishing hole is the area’s most popular. The 18th is a dogleg right that plays over water to a green that rests in the shadow of an antebellum style clubhouse, where golfers gather to watch fellow players finish.

The Dunes Club, a consensus top 100 public course, is a Robert Trent Jones Sr. masterpiece. With uncommon elevation change, arguably the state’s best greens complexes, and Jones’ architectural genius, the Dunes Club is the area’s most revered course.

The layout, which hosted the 2014 PGA Professional National Championship, is anchored by Alligator Alley – holes 11 through 13 – which play along the swash from the nearby Atlantic Ocean and Lake Singleton. If you are a fan of classic architecture, smooth, fast greens, and a formidable challenge, Dunes Club is a must play.

True Blue, also a Strantz design and Caledonia’s sister course, deservedly retained its spot on the list. Everything about this 7,126-yard monster is big, including the fairways, greens and waste bunkers.

Golf Magazine said of True Blue, “Hole to hole, the variety is astounding. The course is mostly open, with beauty and menace mingling with lakes, marshland and plenty of scrub-filled natural sandy areas … Rarely has golf architecture had a shaper as artful as Strantz. The full measure of his formidable skill is on display at True Blue.”

Not much more needs to be said about the quality of the True Blue golf experience.

When Barefoot initially opened its fairways, some skeptics wondered if Davis Love III would be capable of crafting a course that was equal to more highly regarded architects Pete Dye, Tom Fazio and Greg Norman, who also designed courses at Barefoot.

Turns out Love bettered most of America with his work at Barefoot. With its generous landing areas, creative layout, and Donald Ross-inspired greens complexes, the Love Course is among the area’s most popular and playable layouts.

The faux ruins of an old plantation home anchor the fourth through sixth holes and provide the take home memories for many players.

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