Founders Club is a different golf course.
Located in Pawleys Island, the Grand Strand’s youngest course doesn’t play through a lowcountry environment like its neighbors, featuring instead a design that is unique among Myrtle Beach courses.
What makes Founders Club standout and why should you want to play the Thomas Walker design?
— Other than around the greens, Founders Club is devoid of cart paths. Golfers ride on elevated fairways or the waste bunkers that frame nearly every hole, but that’s a welcome perk not a design feature. After a relatively tight opening nine, the layout opens up on the back, treating players to elevation change that is uncommon along the beach. Founders Club is a target course that is varied from start to finish and players relish the test on a layout that challenges every aspect of their game.
— Sand is everywhere at Founders Club. Waste bunkers, pot bunkers, large bunkers, deep bunkers. If there is a sand feature to be found on a golf course, Founders has it but having said all that, don’t be intimidated. Hitting out of the waste bunkers isn’t difficult. As a matter of fact, PGA Head Golf Professional Tom Vanhoogen thinks it’s easier than playing from the sand than the rough. The sand can be visually intimidating, if you let it, and that realization is why golfers tend to play better at Founders Club the second time around.
— The formula for playing well at Founders Club isn’t complicated. You have to hit fairways, a task made easier by the fact driver isn’t a necessity on every hole, but the quality of your approach shots will likely define your day. Pot bunkers and run-off areas around the greens can lead to trouble, but quality iron play will equate to good scores because you can make putts on this course.
— Which hole will you like best at Founders Club? Here is a vote for the par 5, 12th, (pictured right) which features a split fairway divided by a cluster of pot bunkers and mounding that unfold over 100 yards. The hole is a little shorter playing to the left side of the fairway but safer going to the right. Best advice: aim for the center and bet on the fact you won’t hit the ball dead-straight.
— If No. 12 is the course’s most fun hole to play, the third features the round’s most knee-knocking challenge. The 166-yard par 3 (pictured below) is all carry over water to a shallow green, a scary combination. On the flipside, the 135-yard 16th is the day’s easiest hole. The short par 3 is there for the taking, and players need to take advantage of the opportunity in the midst of a difficult finishing stretch.
Surrounded by Pawleys Plantation, Caledonia, Heritage Club and True Blue, Founders Club, which is just south of all those courses, is too often overlooked. Give the course a try. It’s challenging track but the variety of holes and shots makes Founders Club a treat to play.