Identifying trouble can be as important to success on the links as club selection.
Five tracks along South Carolina’s Grand Strand were as upfront as you could ask for.
Their designers embraced the canvases they were given, moved a bit of dirt to accent their strengths and made sure you’d never forget what they had to offer. It’s what sets them apart, and navigating their layouts is typically a singular issue.
WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE
From the very first hole at River Club, players are introduced to Tom Jackson’s philosophy, where water is dominating your thoughts. Even when it’s not the most important part of a hole, it’s going to be worth at least a nod to its consistency. In fact, only Nos. 5, 10, 13 and 16 are not routed around a pond or stream. An actual river may not run through it, but it sure will seem like it.
OH, GOOD – MORE SAND
Golf at the beach includes a number of courses who elected to make use of waste bunkers galore. Nobody went all in on the philosophy quite like Founders Club at Pawleys Island. This 2008 re-design of the old Sea Gull Golf Club trucked in truck after truck of the powder and made it the end-all, be-all for bunker-driven golf. Basically, every hole is countered by sand in a why unlike anything else locally. (Founders Club 9th hole pictured right)
FORCING YOU OFF YOUR GAME
Two holes in at TPC Myrtle Beach, and maybe you’re feeling good about yourself. That’s when the 410-yard Par 4 with a massive vegetation carry smacks you in the face. The hole plays uphill, making it that much more of a challenge. Get used to it, as (depending on your tee selection) there are as many as seven more forced carries to go. For good measure, there are a couple mock carries, where rough separates tee boxes and fairway.
THE GRASSY NO!
The Legends Golf and Resort Heathland Course is one of those joints where you miss the forest from the trees. It’s so wide open, that you can often view six or more holes from several spots. What you’re overlooking, though, is how deep some of the roughs are and how influential a few pockets of natural grasses can be. They’re unforgiving, even more so during specific portions of the calendar.
MARSH-AH, MARSH-AH, MARSH-AH
It’s easy to association the marsh Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club with only the devastatingly short Par 3 on No. 13. It’s a pretty special hole. The rest of the back nine, though, is dipped and dotted with aspects of that same terrain, even when players don’t know it. Feeding off the ebbs and flows of the waters off the Inlet, carries and shot selection are driven by that bit of knowledge time and again. (top photo Pawleys Plantation 16th &13th greens)