Residents of Charleston have long known that the city is an excellent place to live for those who love to golf, but not everyone has always been fully aware of all that the city has to offer. Thanks to a recent awards ceremony conducted by the International Association of Golf Operators (IAGTO), the whole world will soon learn of Charleston’s golf course home offerings. This is because the city was named the Golf Destination of the Year North American at the organization’s Awards Ceremony, which took place on October 30th in Lake Como, Italy.
A closer look at Charleston’s golf offerings makes it easy to see why the city was selected for this elite distinction. In fact, Charleston is home to 19 championship courses. Among these is Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course, which hosted the 1997 Ryder Cup, the 2007 Senior PGA and the 2012 PGA Championship. Many of the courses within the community were created by legendary architects, including Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Reese Jones, Tom Fazio, Arthur Hills and Robert Trent Jones, Sr.
While Charleston certainly has plenty of golf courses to select from, the city was also awarded with this distinction due to its other features. These include 60 miles of beautiful coastline, a historic downtown area and award-winning dining options. Charleston was also the site of the first golf club in the United States.
Established in 2000, the IAGTO Awards were developed in an effort to reward those destinations that have made an exceptional contribution to golf travel. The organization consists of 525 golf tour operators representing 61 different countries. These operators vote on winners for each of five regional categories, which include North America, Europe, Latin America & Caribbean, Asia & Australia and Africa & Gulf States. When making their selections, the operators were asked to consider the following criteria:
- Customer satisfaction
- Golf course and accommodation quality
- Value for money
- Professional conduct of suppliers
- Support from the local tourism industry
- Tee time accessibility
In all, the IAGTO consists of 2,160 accredited golf tour operators, hotels, golf resorts, golf courses, airlines, receptive operators, tourist boards, media partners and business partners within 96 countries. The 525 specialist golf tour operators create the core of the organization. In all, the IAGTO’s operators control more than 85 percent of the golf vacation packages sold worldwide.