One year ago, Jack Nicklaus, golf’s greatest champion, returned to Pawleys Plantation to celebrate the 30th birthday of his two Myrtle Beach designs (Long Bay Club being the other one). The Golden Bear toured the course, led a junior clinic, and helped shine a spotlight on his unforgettable work at Pawleys.
When a man who has won 18 major championships, including six green jackets, comes to town, attention understandably follows. Nicklaus enjoyed reminiscing about the course, including a back nine that features five holes that play along a stunning tidal marsh.
It’s an unforgettable stretch of golf, but the Pawleys Plantation experience is about more than the holes along the water.
With that in mind, here are the three most overlooked holes at Pawleys Plantation, all among the layout’s first eight because nobody underestimates the back nine.
— Pawleys is a tough track, something the 401-yard second hole (all distances from Redtail hawk tees) makes abundantly clear. Mounding and trees on the right place a premium on accuracy off the tee, and a large undulating green requires a quality iron shot. It’s the No. 1 handicap hole and it demands your attention, lest a big number early in the round awaits. If you make par here, you’ve accomplished something.
— The par 3 seventh hole(top photo) appears innocuous on the scorecard, playing a slight 134 yards, and it’s supposed to be the easiest hole on the opening nine. Don’t get lackadaisical. The green is 42 yards long – sounds inviting, right? – but it’s only a fraction of that distance wide, and a sprawling bunker runs up the right side. The left side of the putting surface is protected by one of the course’s deepest bunkers. This the only par 3 that doesn’t have water, but that doesn’t lessen the challenge. This is an outstanding hole.
— A dogleg left, the par 4 eighth is a meaty 387 yards. The optimal tee shot will play to the left-center of the fairway, helping lessen the risk of a waste bunker and water that lurk along the final 130 yards of the hole on the starboard side. The eighth hole can just as easily yield a birdie as it can a double bogey, and that’s what makes it fun.