Small But Mighty: Top Grand Strand Short Par 3s – South Strand Edition

With nearly 100 golf courses lining the 60-mile stretch of Carolina coastline known as the Grand Strand, there are many variations on the numerous types of holes that one is likely to encounter on a golf course, from big, brawny three-shot par fives to seemingly unassuming but nonetheless potentially diabolical short par threes. There are not enough great short par threes out there in general—many architects would rather give players four 180-200-yard one-shotters and be done with it. Luckily, those who designed the southern Grand Strand’ many excellent short holes (for our purposes, holes shorter than 160 yards from the tips) were not so lazy. Here are four lovely short holes you will encounter if you decide to tee it up along the area known as the Waccamaw Golf Trail:

Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club: hole 13, 150 yards
The 13th at Pawleys Plantation is arguably the most famous or, perhaps, infamous single hole on the Grand Strand. Immortalized in magazine ads, television commercials and the memories of the thousands of golfers who play it every year, it features a smallish green almost completely surrounded by the tidal marshes that separate mainland South Carolina from the island of Pawleys Island. There is little in the way of bailout: a well-struck shot is a must. Some golfers don’t take too kindly to its all-or-nothing nature, but they are usually the ones who play too long a set of tees than their golf acumen dictates is prudent.

True Blue Golf Club: hole 14, 158 yards
One of two Mike Strantz designs in Pawleys Island, True Blue is the big, bold brother to the more intimate Caledonia Golf & Fish Club (more on that below). Number 14 is an oasis of smallness in terms of its yardage, yet is marked by the big features that make True Blue so memorable. From a big hourglass-shaped green to a huge teeing area that can make the hole play from a number of different angles, it is as much a theater as a golf hole. A solidly-struck short iron can result in a short birdie putt, but a mishit will likely put the player in position to struggle mightily to make a par or even a bogey.

Caledonia Golf & Fish Club: hole 9, 118 yards
If True Blue is the protective brother, Caledonia is the lovely big sister. The final hole on the outgoing nine puts a wedge in almost every player’s hand, raising immediate, greedy birdie thoughts. To assume this hole is a pushover is to risk hitting a shot that ends up short of the green in large, deep bunkers, long in grass bunkers or a couple lurking pot bunkers, or on the wrong side of a wide, undulating green.

Heritage Club: hole 8, 155 yards
Though Strantz did not completely design Heritage Club, he did have some say in the construction of the current huge, undulating green complexes, including that of the short eighth, where the day’s hole location greatly dictates the difficulty. The green has a low area in front with back and side boards such that a hole located there stands a decent chance of being accessed for a hole-in-one. If it’s cut on the upper-left shelf, though, all bets are off. The same goes for a hole located on the back-right portion of the green, which slopes to the right and somewhat away from the player.

Stay tuned for future lists of great short par threes from the central and northern parts of the Grand Strand! And as always, to book golf on these and dozens of other golf courses in the Myrtle Beach area, visit

(posted 3/31/14)

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