The appeal of Pawleys Island’s laid back vibe is enhanced significantly by several of America’s best golf courses being located within a Dustin Johnson drive of one another.
Pawleys was ranked one of America’s best golf islands, and the area’s on-course offerings are anchored by Caledonia and True Blue, both ranked among Golf Magazine’s Top 100 You Can Play, Heritage Club and Pawleys Plantation. Pawleys is home to some of the best Myrtle Beach golf courses.
Both Mike Strantz designs, True Blue and Caledonia offer completely different yet equally compelling designs. Caledonia, No. 24 among the Top 100 You Can Play, is a masterful design that is impeccably maintained – think of playing golf in a botanical garden. The soaring live oak trees draped in Spanish moss provided an ideal canvas for Strantz to carve his masterpiece.
True Blue is a modern design with expansive fairways framed by waste bunkers and mammoth greens. It’s a terrific course that is certainly worthy of being ranked the 77th best public course in America.
Many golfers will argue that Heritage is the area’s best course – it has been ranked as high as No. 33 on Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses – and it’s a position that is easy to defend. Playing on property that oozes lowcountry South Carolina charm, Heritage is a beautiful design.
Pawleys Plantation is a Jack Nicklaus design that is as beautiful as it is challenging. Four of the final nine holes play along a saltwater marsh that separates Pawleys Island from the mainland. The 13th hole, a devilishly short par 3, is one of area’s most recognizable one-shotters
While those four courses attract the majority of the national attention, they are hardly alone in their quality. Founders Club, with waste bunkers framing every fairway, is one of the area’s most creative designs. The course quietly but comfortably took its place among some of the nation’s best courses upon its 2008 opening.
Willbrook, Litchfield Country Club, River Club and Tradition Club, located in the Litchfield Beach section of Pawleys Island, are big part of what makes the area so special. The quartet flies under the proverbial radar but provide an outstanding golf experience.
Litchfield is an old-school design, featuring tree-lined fairways, an abundance of doglegs, and, by modern standards, smallish greens. If you value classic golf course architecture, it’s a must-play.
Ironically, River Club doesn’t play along a river, but there is ample water on this beauty. The 14th, an island green par 3, and 18th, a great risk-reward par 5, have been ranked among Myrtle Beach’s top 100 holes and form the backbone of an outstanding track.
Tradition Club, as the name suggests, is a tip of the cap to the game’s classic parkland designs. But don’t in anyway confuse tradition with boring or ordinary. Architect Ron Garl crafted a course that pays homage to the game’s roots while also including a little excitement, primarily in the form of a pair of island greens, the par 4 seventh and par 3 15th.
Willbrook is one of the area’s most underrated courses. The live oak trees and lowcountry property combined with the work of Dan Maples make Willbrook an outstanding round of golf. If you have the opportunity to play it, do so and thank me later.