Founders Club is the southernmost course on the Myrtle Beach golf scene and it’s the area’s youngest. Built on the site of what used to be Sea Gull Golf Club, architect Thomas Walker blew the old layout up and out of its ashes arose Founders Club in 2008.
Founders is a different type of design, particularly for Pawleys Island, where the area’s native lowcountry landscape tends to be the dominant visual feature at many courses (True Blue being the other exception). After recently teeing it up on this eye-opening design, here are 13 observations you may find of interest:
1. It’s different and I mean that in a good way. The property didn’t offer the type of beauty courses like Caledonia, Pawleys Plantation and Willbrook enjoy, so why reach and try to recreate that experience?
2. Founders Club is tough. That’s not meant to scare you off – golf is a challenging game – but this isn’t a course you are likely to shoot your lowest round of a trip on.
3. But it is a lot of fun. The elevated fairways surrounded by waste bunkers, often on both sides, create unique visuals and provide clear targets.
4. Make sure you have a good day with the driver. If you are playing from the fairway, the layout offers the opportunity to score.
5. Doubling down on the importance of the driver, at 6,394 yards from the white tees, Founders is relatively long. It helps to hit the longest club in the bag well.
6. Don’t be intimidated by the sand. The waste bunkers are everywhere but aren’t difficult to hit from, assuming you don’t let the shot get in your head. Put another way, don’t beat yourself mentally before ever swinging the club.
7. All those waste bunkers mean cart paths are practically non-existent, other than around greens and tees, and I’m here for it. Staying off the pavement is a win for everyone and on the rare day it’s raining in Myrtle Beach, there are no cart paths to stay on!
8. For us mid to high handicappers, the round’s scariest shot comes on the third tee. The 166-yard (all distances from white tees), par 3 demands a carry over water with little margin for error, if you want to be anywhere near the hole.
9. The 12th – a 491-yard, par 5 with a fairway divided by a series of pot bunkers, is the most fun to play. Conversely, the hardest hole is the 395-yard 14th, which features an uphill approach to a green flanked by a treacherous bunker on the right. Seriously, just hold on here.
10. The greens are surrounded by run-off areas that can create challenging recovery shots. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it Pinehurst-esqe, but players are well-served to aim for the middle green, as opposed to going pin-hunting.
11. Founders Club was in primo condition.
12. We’ve talked about how demanding Founders is, but you will have every opportunity to make birdie on the 338-yard 18th. Sure you have to carry water on the approach, but it will be with a wedge in hand to a green begging you to make a putt. Finish strong.
13. The clubhouse food is good, but if you are going off-site for lunch, make the short trip to Rustic Table and order the Grayman burger. It’s a decision you won’t regret.