The idea of an all-walking golf club devoted to the grand traditions of the game in the heart of the South Carolina Lowcountry was conceived in 1985. Gibbes Island Limited Partnership was formed in 1988 to create and develop Secession Golf Club. The Partnership purchased Gibbes Island, where the Club is located, and in the fall of 1992, the course was officially opened for play.

In the ensuing years, a Clubhouse was completed, featuring typical Lowcountry architectural charm and 12 guest rooms. Additionally a Member Grounds Area on a separate property adjacent to the Golf Club was developed. It includes a short-game practice area and member-owned rental cottages where members and their guests may stay during visits to the Club.

Membership at Secession has always been on an invitation-only basis. Using this approach, the Club has created one of the most interesting and strongest playing memberships in the country. Members include the 1993 Walker Cup Captain and a Senior PGA TOUR Player as well as PGA of America professionals from several fine clubs. The Club's membership is unique. Nearly two-thirds are single-digit players who hail from fine clubs all over the United States and abroad, including Pine Valley, Winged Foot, Augusta National, Baltusrol, Congressional, Merion, Shinnecock Hills, Oakmont, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club, Royal Dornoch, Royal Portrush, and Muirfield.


Origin of the "Secession" Name


In 1851, the first of several meetings to discuss and, ultimately, draft South Carolina's "Ordinance of Secession" was held at the Beaufort home of Edmund Rhett, a prominent lawyer, state representative and state senator. Known then and still today as the "Milton Maxcy House," or "Secession House," it is located at 1113 Craven Street.
(Photo - A Boat Against the Current (Blog))

The name for Secession Golf Club recognizes the rich history of Beaufort, SC, and the surrounding Lowcountry region.

It was at “Secession House” (see inset) in Beaufort that the first meetings were held to draft what came to be the “Ordinance of Secession.” This document was ratified by a unanimous vote of 169-0 in St. Andrews Hall, Charleston, SC, as the “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union,” and South Carolina became the first of the southern states to secede.

While the formal definition of the word secession refers to “the action of withdrawing formally from membership of a federation or body, especially a political state,” our Club chose its name, its crossed flags logo (see Origins of our logo) and the manner by which we conduct our affairs to reflect and embrace an altogether different meaning. 

While visiting with a group of prospective Secession members at the Union League Club in Philadelphia, David Heinsma, a Founder and early General Partner, said this about the name’s origin and meaning. “Secession,” David said, “represents an opportunity for our members to secede from the pressures of their everyday lives and for the Club itself to secede from what golf clubs have become. We intend for Secession to focus on the Game itself and its great traditions, while fostering an inclusive, relaxed and unpretentious atmosphere.”

Those who have joined us as members and those who have visited can attest that the “Secession Experience” delivers what the Club’s Founders intended. 

Origin of Secession's Logo


Offered as a prize for an amateur open competition and still awarded today, The Carnegie Shield was presented by Andrew Carnegie in 1901 to Royal Dornoch Golf Club in Scotland. Note the crossed flags at the top: on the left, the Royal Banner of the Royal Arms of Scotland; on the right, the flag of the United States of America.
(Photo – Bunkered Golf Magazine)

The Club’s Founders, therefore, focused on ways to emphasize the result of this great conflict, the rejoining of north and south into the lasting union it has become.

The idea of the crossed flags came to an early Secession Founder on a trip to Royal Dornoch Golf Club, where he observed the crossed U.S. and Scottish Lion Rampant flags at the top of the Carnegie Shield. The crossed flags symbolize unity, and it is this spirit of coming together through the game of golf that is captured by the United States (or Union) flag and a stylized version of the first Confederate States of America flag.   

This stylized Confederate flag, which never actually flew or, for that matter, even existed, differs from the official version in two important ways. First, the canton or inset field color has been changed from a dark blue to the light blue color found in the state flag of South Carolina. Second, the circular pattern of seven stars, representing the original seceding states, has been altered to place one of the stars in the center of the circle, representing South Carolina and its place as the home of Secession Golf Club. 

Unlike the crossed flags of the Carnegie Shield, the Secession Golf Club logo depicts the U.S. flag on the left with its staff in front, consistent with current flag display etiquette. It is also important to note that great care was taken not to use a representation of the Battle Flag of the Army of Tennessee and the Army of Northern Virginia. This flag, lately referred to as the Southern Battle Flag or Southern Cross, has been a source of controversy and divisiveness since being co-opted, long after the Civil War, by fringe groups promoting their own brands of hate and prejudice.

Those who have joined us as members and those who have visited can attest that the “Secession Experience” delivers what the Club’s Founders intended.