As is the case when you travel down to the southern U.S.A., weather patterns can be quite consistent. It was no surprise then when we woke up Sunday and looked out our balcony down at the golf course we’re staying on to see the sun reflected off the water in front of the tee box. Although there were numerous golf courses within a very short drive of our temporary home, we took the advice of our new friend Mike and decided to drive southward to Pawleys Plantation Golf and CC..
One of the first indicators of a quality golf course is a guardhouse at the beginning of the entrance road. This is typical when there are numerous beautiful homes in lovely neighborhoods surrounding the course. It was evident as we got closer to the clubhouse that this was a well-supported and popular golf course. Also, it was very well organized with a wide bag drop area and attendants waiting as you drove up. We checked in with Sean at the pro shop, who along with three other colleagues were very welcoming and prepared for our arrival.
After sharing a few pleasantries which seem to center more around NFL Sunday games than golf, we popped over to the practice area to loosen up and get our game face on. It was already 80°F so standing out in the blazing sun pounding balls was not really effective. We took full advantage of the close proximity of the practice range, chipping area and putting green which were very impressive.
Once we finished our warm up, rather than stand in the sun baking, we decided even though we still had 15 minutes to go till our tee off we would just park the cart and relax on it close to the first tee box.
Wally, the starter, offered us an opportunity to head out 10 minutes early as a two-some, so off we went. The South Carolina coastal area, much like where we played before at Jekyll Island off the Georgia coast, is home to beautiful stands of a variety of gorgeous trees. Typical of this area are the tall, spindly, narrow pines and beautiful moss draped live oak trees with huge sprawling branches fanning out overhanging the fairways. Another welcome feature of the golf course, again common to this coastal area, was a fairly flat landscape. Although the course was pretty busy, the pace was excellent partly due to the fact that the E Z Go electric cart we were on was not only quiet and smooth, but zipped along at a pretty good speed. It would be the dream of many golfers whether still working or retired to live in one of the beautiful houses on the course and play here on a regular basis. At no time did any of the houses encroach onto the golf course and make you feel that they were an obstacle.
Wally had given us a warning about a big, old alligator sunning itself over near the pond on the Par 3 Hole 7. Noticing our concern at this news, Wally convinced us not to be worried so we just concentrated on hitting great tee shots resulting in a good two putt par for Myra and my first birdie of the day from just off the green.
At no time did we feel pushed and we were enjoying the course immensely. It was when we came to the 13th that we felt we had perhaps made a wrong turn and entered another golf course. The stands of trees had disappeared and we are teeing off on a small runway of grass to an island green in the middle of an immense area of marshland. Four holes later an almost identical version of this Par 3 was one going in the opposite direction, off of the same 5-foot yard wide grass runway. Personally, I’m not a big fan of golf courses with two different themes. This one started out tree-lined utilizing a few water hazards and great bunkering which offered a challenging, enjoyable experience.
Now here were a few holes incorporating the wet marshlands appearing to be somewhat of an afterthought or designed that way due to a lack of available land. Not what I would personally consider one of Mister Nicklaus’ marquee design moments. Just when I was about to tie my shoelaces together and hang myself from one of their nearest oak trees, the 18th hole was my savior. The slight dogleg left Par 4 is one of the nicest looking and most playable holes on the entire course. With the stunning clubhouse as a backdrop to the green, it presented the perfect framework for an approach shot pin high that set up my second birdie of the day.
All in all, in spite of the change in terrain, Pawley Plantation Golf and Country Club with its very friendly and welcoming staff, quality fairways, beautiful smooth greens and really, really nice bunker sand is a great course. It’s one of the Founders Club top courses. I will leave it up to you to go out and play the course and make your own assessment. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
www.pawleysplantation.com 1 800 344 5590