The Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course at Pawleys Plantation is certainly pretty, but it’s even more certainly unforgiving to bad shots—especially a number of them hit in succession. The greens are often either narrow or shallow (or both) and usually play quite firm, which means that high shots hit with at least a moderate amount of backspin are required. Those sort of shots come few an far between for players with handicaps above 12 or so. And that picturesque back nine? You know—the one with all those holes along the marsh? That marsh is populated by egrets, oysters and thousands of golf balls. If your handicap is 15 or higher, you are all but guaranteed to add to the casualties.
Long Bay Club
Man, the Golden Bear isn’t a big fan of bad golfers, is he? His most northern course on the Grand Strand, Long Bay, offers a lot of the same punishment as Pawleys Plantation, albeit without any of the spectacular scenery. Just a bunch of elevated, elusive greens guarded by deep bunkers and lots of water. Do you like to hit bump-and-run shots from time to time? Sorry, pal; you’re out of luck at Long Bay Golf Club.
TPC Myrtle Beach
Usually, Tom Fazio’s courses tend to be more playable for the higher handicapper and somewhat pedestrian for the better player. But TPC Myrtle Beach was built for the Senior Tour Championship, which it hosted a grand total of…once. Well, at least it’s a good test for players who fancy themselves competitive at or near that sort of level, which is maybe 1% of the course’s clientele. There’s a lot of water, nasty bunkers and a lot of movement in the greens, which adds up to a long day for most players who arrive unprepared for the course’s hardships.
Yes, the fairways are wide and yes, the greens are large, but True Blue manages to psych suspect golfers out left and right. Blame it on the plentiful, scruffy-looking sandy waste areas that affect nearly every shot and the imposing water hazards that affect all the rest. Also, even though the greens are big, they are also quite undulating, which can make for a whole lot of three-putts.