Take any metropolitan area in the country. Nearly all of them sprawl out from one spot known by folks around the country.
New York. Philadelphia. Denver. Los Angeles.
Myrtle Beach is no different. While those across the United States recognize the focal point of the Grand Strand, it is important for golfers looking for the full experience to search out the areas immediately north, south and west of the primary city limits.
Here are four reasons to point the compass down from Myrtle Beach proper and take advantage of the Waccamaw Golf Trail.
1. Caledonia/True Blue Double Up
True Blue Golf Club has found itself in national top-100 lists and is routinely considered a top-10 play along the entire Grand Strand. Set atop a former rice and indigo plantation, Mike Strantz’s fourth design rolled some of those same aspects right into his course. The turf is spectacular, the layout is nearly perfect and the playability – stemming off those first two – is about as flawless as anyone could expect.
Cut and paste much of what is above, and it could be written about Caledonia Golf & Fish Club. The constant contender for Myrtle Beach course of the year honors by various panels may indeed be course perfection, especially for those of us who will never set foot on Pinehurst or Augusta National. It’s why those with the revenue to do so frequently package Caledonia (pictured right) and True Blue (top photo) together and then brag to al their friends back home about the duo.
2. Murrells Inlet Marshwalk
Away from the courses, the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk has developed into one of the finest and diverse close-knit options for food and drink. Steaks, seafood, burgers, sandwiches are all present, and with levels spanning the $5 lunch to the $40 dinner – all of which are served with boat- and wildlife-laden views of the inlet.
What’s more, nearly every venue along that stretch of U.S. 17 Business includes nightly musical acts. Some of the bands are among Myrtle Beach’s most popular and desired, and they continue to agree to gigs at the Marshwalk because of the concurrent popularity the restaurants provide. Whether your round was played at Tradition Golf Club or Litchfield Country Club or River Club, you too are only minutes away.
3. Name Says It All
In total, there are 34 clubs around the globe carrying the TPC label. Only 15 of those are accessible to the public, and only one – TPC Myrtle Beach – rests inside the Carolinas. The Murrells Inlet course once served as the host of the Senior Tour Championship and to this day has a feel of a tour-quality site that is constantly evolving to maintain its top-notch conditioning and appeal.
In recent years, a renovation project improved the cart paths and clubhouse while further strengthening its turf, especially on the back end of the course. PGA Tour star Dustin Johnson also parked his golf school here. It was the type of recognition that felt right given everything else TPC is about.
4. Southernmost Courses Impress With Flair
Among the high-profile list of options the Waccamaw Golf Trail provides are its two the farthest away from the hustle of Myrtle Beach. Down U.S. 17 stands Pawleys Plantation & Country Club and Founders Club at Pawleys Island. And while the Trail includes some high-dollar courses, the location of Pawleys Plantation and Founders Club can work in your favor.
The relative slimmer price tags attached to both, however, doesn’t equate to a low-dollar feel. Jack Nicklaus’ Pawleys Plantation (pictured right) design includes some of the more well-thought-out holes around the accompanying layouts. Virtually across the street at Founders Club, a large amount of the underlying sand was incorporated to create some wide waste bunkers that bring new meaning to the term “hazard.”