Only six months after making his miracle comeback to win the 1986 Masters at Augusta National, Jack Nicklaus scored another major golf victory in the Southeast by launching one of his proudest signature courses – Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club.
Built on a former rice plantation in the charming South Carolina Lowcountry town of Pawleys Island, which is located 25 miles south of Myrtle Beach, Pawleys Plantation stands as a monument to the Golden Bear’s talent for letting nature dictate his design.
According to his Nicklaus Design Inc. website, he was struck by the natural beauty of the 500-plus acre property, which features tidal creeks, salt marshes and maritime forests filled with sprawling live oaks, towering loblolly pines and native wildlife.
“I have a particular fondness for the Lowcountry area,” Nicklaus, an 18-time major champion and an equally prolific golf architect, said at the semi-private club’s 1988 debut. “We used what’s here, without forcing or changing what Mother Nature provided.”
Mission accomplished: After consulting with his crew throughout the process to determine all the particulars of the 7,026-yard layout, Nicklaus put the finishing touches on a course that presents golfers a serious challenge as well as a lovely experience.
“Each of the 18 holes has a distinct strategy – green placement, water, tree lines, traps, mounds, split fairways … a spectacular double green. You’ll have to think your way around the course, all the while aware of how beautiful it is,” Nicklaus said.
Pawleys Plantation uses Tif Eagle Bermudagrass greens that are meticulously maintained boasts a back-nine stretch similar to Augusta National’s Amen Corner, where Nicklaus claimed a record six wins. The Golden Bear set a high bar on the course, as well as a designer.
The front nine features tight tree-lined fairways and serves as a nice tuneup for an amazing back half built around the salt marsh. Elevated tee boxes and greens surrounded by water on three sides. A manmade causeway doubles as a cart path and launching pad for several carry tee shots.
The home stretch features the 563-yard, par-5 11th that entices golfers to go for it but offers plenty of obstacles from tee to green. Standing in stark contrast, the 145-yard, par-3 13th requires a soft touch to land on the shared island green with the 444-yard, par-4 16th.
Featuring bridgework that carries golfers over scenic salt marsh scenes, the toughest portion of the layout if also the prettiest. The stretch includes the 523-yard, par-5 14th, featuring a two-century-old live oak called Jack’s Tree in a strategic location.
The finishing holes are two one of the finest on the Waccamaw Golf Trail. The tee box for the 201-yard par-3 17th is surrounded by marsh and requires pinpoint placement for a chance to make par, while the 443-yard par-4 18th leads to the palatial clubhouse.
After a beautiful day on the course, check out the 19th hole for food and drinks while you recount your round and take in the last of the scenery. The grounds include a conference center, which attracts top events to Pawleys Plantation, and the driving range, practice facility and golf school are top-notch.
Those are some of the reasons Pawleys Plantation was named one of the top 50 courses in South Carolina, one of the top 10 in the Myrtle Beach area and acclaimed from such publications as Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, ESPN and Zagat, just to name a few.
Whether you are flirting with par or just trying to keep your score in the double-digits, Pawleys Plantation offers a unique experience in golf and nature. Be sure to follow the Golden Bear’s lead and include it in your package plan when you book your next Myrtle Beach Golf vacation.