Tradition Club doesn’t enjoy the notoriety of its Pawleys Island peers like Caledonia and it has never been ranked among America’s top 100 public courses, but the Ron Garl design should be on a list of courses you want to play.
Tradition feels like a country club in all the best ways. The clubhouse is nice without being ostentatious, the practice facility is among the area’s best, and the customer service is always on point.
Once you step to the tee, here is what you can expect to find on a layout locals love to play:
— The name, Tradition Club, harkens back to another era, but this is a design that is equal parts classic and modern. Sure the fairways are tree-lined, but there is ample landing room and unlike a strictly classic design, Tradition is home to large, sometimes undulating, greens. Throw in Garl’s ample use of bunkering and Tradition provides plenty of striking visuals as well.
— Since installing new Sunday Bermudagrass greens in 2018, Tradition has been in superb condition from tee to green. The putting surfaces have been nearly perfect, playing fast without being treacherous and they are as smooth as nearly any at the beach. If you have a tee time at Tradition, you can sleep well knowing the course is going to be in good shape.
— Which holes will you most remember? The list of candidates is long but among my personal favorites are 3, 15 and 18. The third is a 300-yard (all distances from the white tees) par 4 so you are dreaming of birdie, but this isn’t as simple as grip it and rip it. A waste bunker runs up the right side and a large tree in the sand can impede your path to the green, even from the fairway. The 15th, a 157-yard par 3, plays to an island green so that’s always fun while the 18th is a 407-yard monster par 4. Par is a great score on Tradition’s finisher.
— Speaking of scoring, you better play well on the frontside because Tradition bares its teeth on the home nine. The course’s backside plays a brawny 3,251 yards from the white tees. Holes 11, 16 and 18, all par 4s, play at least 399 yards. Meanwhile the opening nine is just 3,062 yards, providing players a chance to get off to a good start. Take advantage of the opportunity.
— Tradition is home to a demanding set of par 4s, but Garl provided plenty of opportunities to score on the par 5s. The ninth (453 yards) and 14th (450 yards) are short par 5s that are begging you to make four. Those are your best chances to circle a number on your scorecard.
Tradition may not attract all the media attention but it’s a layout you will want to play.