Founders Club at Pawleys Island
Location » Pawleys Island, S.C.
Phone » 843-237-2299
Rates » Morning $64, afternoon $60, rates increase to $78/$68 on Sept. 9, $98/$88 on Sept. 16 and $108/$100 on Sept. 30.
Description » The shot maker's course winds through the woodsy neighborhoods of Pawleys Island, yet the trees rarely come into play. Instead, the holes are surrounded by massive sand waste areas that wild tee shots regularly find. The waste areas also act as the cart path for most of the course. Water also is a prominent feature on the course, with many fairways being tightly hugged. There is little elevation change throughout, but a ton of mounding that can help or hinder shots depending on how the ball bounces.
Conditions » 5
Layout » 4
Facilities » 3
Value » 4
— rating out of a possible five
Reasons to play » You won't find a course like this in the metro area. With sand and water around every corner, every club in your bag will be tested. Playing from the tips requires length and accuracy, while the shorter tees will require players to leave the driver in the bag on a number of tee shots. The huge, rolling greens having multiple tiers and can turn lightning-quick after the morning dew dries. Thankfully, they roll true.
Replacing a legend » The Tom Walker-designed course reopened in 2008 with a new name after a three-year, $7 million renovation to the old Sea Gull course -- which was built in the 1960s and was one of the first courses in the region. The layout remains the same, but every hole has been resculpted from the ground up. It now sports Bermuda fairways and Emerald Bermuda greens (the only other course to use this grass is TPC Scottsdale).
Best hole » No. 18, par 4, 373 yards
Hitting the fairway isn't the only challenge on this closing hole. A wedge or short iron over the water offers one final test before facing a three-tiered green that slopes toward the water.
The short holes » Par 3s at Founders Club are not overly taxing. Just one plays longer than 200 yards. The tee shots, however, are designed to be visually intimidating, with bunkers appearing larger than they actually are.
Worth the trip » Founders Club is a bit of a drive if you're staying in Myrtle Beach (20 to 30 minutes), but not overly far. Like many of the courses in the region, there are steep discounts during the summer months. And with more than 50 courses in the Myrtle Breach area, ranging from discount courses such as Cane Patch Par 3 to the immaculate TPC of Myrtle Beach, there's something for every skill and price level. Also, the city is incredibly family friendly, so a golf trip can easily become a family vacation.