Founders Club is one of the Myrtle Beach area’s most creative designs, with waste bunkers framing nearly every hole on a rolling layout.
The abundant sand and elevated fairways create challenges unique to the area, particularly Pawleys Island, where coastal South Carolina’s lowcountry landscape is the dominant feature for many courses.
Architect Thomas Walker had other ideas at Founders Club. The course is home to uncommon elevation change and it’s a layout that necessitates accuracy off the tee, lest you will spend to much time in the sand.
Founders opened in 2008, making it Myrtle Beach’s youngest golf course, and it has continued to improve with maturity. Group leaders are increasingly booking Founders Club as a layout of choice, and we asked PGA head golf professional Tom Van Hoogen to name course’s toughest hole and how to play it.
Length: Black tees – 449 yards, Blue tees 427 yards, White tees – 395 yards, Gold tees – 358 yards, Red tees – 313 yards.
Van Hoogen immediately identified No. 14, the layout’s longest par 4, as the day’s biggest challenge. The brutish dogleg right demands both power and precision.
The tee shot is slightly downhill with the left-center of the fairway being the preferred landing area, providing a better angle into a green flanked by deep bunkers along its starboard side.
“You have to hit a good drive,” Van Hoogen said.
Off the tee, players have 65 yards between the sand at the fairway’s widest point, so it’s not super tight but you are absolutely aware of the hazards.
A 235-yard drive (white tees), still leaves a 160-yard, uphill approach to a narrow green. It’s a perilous shot and getting up and down from the sand is a substantial challenge. There is room to miss short, despite sand that runs across the fairway 35 yards short of the green.
If you face an approach is that is too long, the smart play is to lay up short as opposed to attempting a heroic shot that could compound your woes.
Make par on No. 14 and you have a right to be proud, and bogey isn’t a bad a score, either.