After the first four holes were constructed in 1892, Herbert Leeds, who also built Myopia Hunt Club in Boston, laid out the remainder of the initial nine holes. Palmetto was expanded in 1895 to 18 holes with the completion of the second nine holes that had been designed by Leeds and James Mackrell, Palmetto’s first golf professional. There is a record of Donald Ross having done some work at Palmetto in 1928. It is believed that his firm installed an early irrigation system on the golf course by damming up the creek down the hill from the 18th tee.
The golf course is a par 71 layout and plays at 6,713 yards from the championship tees. What the course may lack in length it more than makes up for with its small elevated and undulating greens, and clever (some say diabolical) bunkers. The competitive course record of 59 was established by USC-Aiken All American golfer Dane Burkhart on Sunday, August 14, 2005 in the final round of the Palmetto Amateur. Burkhart’s victory margin was 8 shots and he scored a record 20 under par for the four rounds of the tournament.
The current clubhouse, completed in 1902, was designed by noted New York architect Stanford White, who also designed the Shinnecock Hills clubhouse. A number of the early members of Palmetto also were members of Shinnecock. The Historic Aiken Foundation has designated the Palmetto Golf Club as a place of historic significance.