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In his recent visit to the Grand Strand, The Traveling Golfer host Tony Leodora spent some time visiting Founders Club at Pawleys Island and its head golf professional, Corey Bowers.
Tony Leodora: The 18th green of the Founders Club, fronted by a pond, daunting shot to end the round, as general manager, head professional, Corey Bowers will tell you, there's a lot of birdies and a little bit of terror out here on the golf course, too. Correct?
Corey Bowers: Yes, sir. Sure is. It's a very unique style. A lot of risk-reward holes. A lot of position golf.
Tony: There is risk-reward on this golf course. The course has been around since 2008. There actually was an old course here before. They blew it up and Thomas Walker built this beauty that I happened to like from day one.
Corey: A lot of sand moved. A lot of mounds. Great creation of elevation. Lot of shots - do I take it? Do I not take it? At the end of the day, it makes and breaks your round.
Tony: I feel like there's some kind of excitement one way or the other on every hole and you can tell that the conditioning of the golf course really has picked up in recent years.
Corey: With the support of the new ownership, a combination of having all their brothers and sisters golf courses around, everybody's part of a good family and it has been a lot better and the golf course is thriving from it.
Tony: Emerald Bermuda grass on the greens here. Same grass that they had one time at Bay Hill. I don't know whether they still do or not. They've morphed into some other strange now, but this one here particularly seems to work well here.
Corey: It takes less water, really receptive to the heat, strong heat in the summertime.
Tony: One of the things I liked about the course is, as you go through it, you really feel like you're playing 18 separate holes. No back-to-back holes, no looking at one fairway, seeing people on another. It really is sort of each hole is framed.
Corey: You stand on the first two. You see the first hole and it's framed. It's got a great backdrop behind the greens with the elevation. Then, you go to the second hole and all you see is the second hole. It's that way all the way through the golf course. Holes that you can remember when you leave.
Tony: The elevated tees sort of help those vistas a little bit. You get to see everything ahead of you.
Corey: That's correct. There are not many holes. You cannot see the whole golf hole from standing on the tee.
Tony: Yeah. Before anybody think it's a pushover, this course goes 7,000 yards from the tips and has plenty of length. Even at the other tees, as they start to move forward, it's a player's golf course.
Corey: Yeah. Again, this goes back to the elevation. With elevated fairways and elevated greens, there has to be a drop off in there somewhere. A lot of tricky up and downs, something to challenge the game.
Tony: I did notice a couple of nasty looking pot bunkers out there.
Corey: Oh, yeah. We have some very tough ones. You want to stay away from them. I'll say this. They're more visual than they are in play. A lot of it shows up on the backside of some holes. There's some in the middle of a stretch of a split fairway. Both fairways are very forgiving. Most of them are just visual.
Tony: The waste area is really run throughout the golf course.
Corey: Absolutely. The golf course has the native sand, the waste areas, that run down both sides of most fairways. Not to be too worried. They're very playable. They're smooth. They're clear. Not really soft sand. If you hit, strike the ball solid, you know what you're going to get. You're going to get this perfect, solid shot that you would have right out of the fairway.
Tony: This particular hole, when you're coming in, it's framed by the clubhouse behind it. It really gives you the flavor of coming back home a little bit.
Corey: Oh, yes, sir. We come down. Eighteen is a nice, little position tee shot, right down to a little low-lying area. Probably a wedge, but it's a tough shot at the end of the day.
One of the things about this golf course: the more you play it, the more you appreciate it, the more you love it, the better you play it.