Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Just across the James B. Edwards Bridge on I-526 lies Daniel Island, a community so neatly ordered, manicured and coiffed that it could be a Swiss enclave lying across the Wando River. This orderliness certainly extends to its Beresford Creek golf course, a Tom Fazio design and one of two private courses on the island. Built on land straddling the tidal salt water marshes and higher ground, it allows one to view the rapid changes in eco-systems that take place where land meets the marine environment.
As you travel along the ample paved cart paths you notice that the climbing plants that adorn the oyster shell encrusted split-rail concrete fences are in bloom, adding their fragrance to that of the many other flower beds and the freshly spread mulch. Numerous bridges travel through fresh-water swamps and over tidal marshes, all wide enough for two carts and sporting a strip of out-door carpeting that provides traction for those walking. When there are homes along the course they are not “double-stacked” – in other words they are only on one side of the course and all have ample green area separating them from the course itself.
This undoubtedly saves the residents a bit of money – there is not one of the signs usually seen on neighborhood courses that proclaim the resident likes living on the course, but doesn’t care much for golfers. Being a bit inland the area was somewhat sheltered when Hurricane Hugo hit, so there are still many centuries-old grand oaks adorning the course.
A large group of wood storks are nesting here this year – they winter in South America and migrate here each year to breed. Large populations of fox squirrels curiously peer at you from trees and bushes along the way. Osprey and hawks wheel over-head and deer tracks can be seen in many places.
Complimenting the numerous freshwater ponds and lagoons are tidal ponds that are refreshed regularly with the changing of the tides. The last third of the course skirts the waterway which is hundreds of yards wide at high tide, beautiful to observe at sunset when the sky lights up and colors the waters. At low tide multitudes of shore-birds descend on the area to feed on the exposed marine life, allowing easy viewing of the many species that call this area home.
The management at Daniel Island recently did the work necessary to become an Audubon Certified Sanctuary. In order to obtain this, certain standards must be met. These extend to water conservation and quality management, wildlife and habitat management, outreach and educational programs and reduction of chemical usage.
All of these efforts certainly show as this has become pristine example of what attracts us all to reside here in the Lowcountry. And you do not have to be a resident of Daniel Island to join the golf club. Mount Pleasant residents can join as well, and there is a National Membership program available that includes discounted accommodations for folks living over seventy five miles away.
David Emch is a Mount Pleasant resident who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.