Willbrook Plantation is on nearly every list of Myrtle Beach’s hidden gems. The course is tucked away in Pawleys Island, surrounded by some of the area’s most prominent designs – TPC Myrtle Beach, Caledonia, Pawleys et al – but it’s the type of layout that makes the Grand Strand America’s premier golf destination.
For more insight on the course, we talked with Kevin McGuire, Willbrook’s longtime general manager, and he provided five nuggets everyone should know before teeing it up on the Dan Maples design.
— The opening tee shot on the par 4 first hole, a dogleg right, is a doozy, but don’t be intimidated. It brings water into play but aim at the big tree on the left and trust
your swing. No matter how No. 1 turns out, take comfort in the fact that the day’s toughest tee shot will be in the rearview mirror. Willbrook is a very playable course, providing players of all ability levels a chance to score.
— Willbrook’s greens are large and tend to be slightly elevated, so take an extra club if there is any doubt in your mind (don’t forget you are at sea level, meaning the air is a little heavy to boot).
— Holes five and six are the best back-to-back challenges on the course. With water running up the right side, No. 5, which plays 369 yards (all distances from white tees), might be the day’s most scenic par 4. You must clear water off the tee and on the approach, though neither carry is daunting. Also, don’t be surprised if there is an alligator sunbathing in the fairway!
The 127-yard, island green sixth hole is the course’s most photographed. It’s a short and the green is plenty large, but there is something about the water that tends to attract golf balls. On a memorable layout, holes five and six standout.
— Expect great customer service from the bag drop through the 19th hole.
“People save their money to come play golf in our area,” McGuire said. “They have a lot of courses to choose from and when they choose Willbrook, we want to give them a memorable golf experience.”
Speaking of the 19th hole, make sure you stop in after your round and have a bowl of Ms. Kay’s homemade chili or gumbo. Both are delicious.
— The Willbrook experience is more than just golf. Enjoy the property’s lowcountry beauty, highlighted by sprawling live oak trees draped in Spanish moss, and pay attention the plaques outlining Willbrook’s history, which dates back to the 1600s when it was part of a land grant from King Charles II.
(All photos used in this feature piece captured by golf writer Chris King)