Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The earliest written historical account of the modern game of golf is when King James II banned the game in 1457, deeming it an unwelcome distraction to the sport of archery.
Golf’s origins were on the coasts of Scotland, utilizing the strips of non-farmable land along the beaches, with folks hitting small stones around the sand dunes with sticks or clubs. The game has progressed a bit since then, and the direction its evolution has taken provides many unforeseen benefits for our modern day community.
Over the last three months I have enjoyed exploring and photographing our local courses, daily watching the changes that the spring season brings.
Trees bore this year’s leaves, migratory birds returned, the animals did their courtships and the many flowering plants came into bloom. Not being a golfer, I view these large tracts of land through the eyes of a photographer and writer who loves both solitude and diversity. What I see is a very wise use of land that serves a multitude of purposes.
For the wildlife, this land allows an invaluable buffer between wilderness and civilization.
Deer, fox, coyote, raccoon, squirrel, alligators, otter and all manner of bird life actively use these spaces to live, breed and play. All manner of trees, bushes and grasses have space to grow and flourish.
Locally, we are blessed with numerous ecosystems which can all be clearly observed within a relatively small space.
Most local courses include aspects of the marine environment, freshwater swamps, lagoons, ponds and lakes as well as features of coastal forests. Clubhouses serve as community centers, bringing together neighborhoods with a vast array of sporting, social and charity events.
Yet for all of their likenesses, each local course has its own characteristics and personality.
Every one is a unique sculpture of land that bears testament to our creativity, diversity and persistence as a specie.
The festive feel of Patriots Point built on land created from the dredging of the harbor contrasts with the wilderness diversity of Bulls Bay sculpted with dirt obtained by the creation of numerous lakes.
The resort feel of Wild Dunes’ two courses contrasts with the wilderness feel of the two on Daniel Island – all feel pristine and exclusive, but each in a different way.
And the neighborhood courses of Snee, Rivertowne, Dunes West and Charleston National not only give residents large green spaces but serve as community focal points.
Recent decades have brought an explosion of growth to this area in which nearly every nook and cranny has been claimed for one purpose or another. Yet this growth has been well orchestrated.
The cooperation of the community to set aside areas as natural, historic and public sanctuaries has been remarkable.
This is well complemented by the lands privately developed for this game we call golf.
Taken together they are an impressive legacy of conservation and preservation that with continued good stewardship will serve many generations to come.
David Emch is a Mount Pleasant resident and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.