From tidal marshes to the Intracoastal Waterway to the sites of Antebellum plantations, golf on the Grand Strand is a feast for the eyes as well as the body. These four courses exemplify that statement.
The southernmost of these courses, Pawleys Plantation spends its first 11-plus holes well inland before the player bursts out onto the salt marshes separating Pawleys Island proper from the Waccamaw Neck, which makes up most of the southern Grand Strand. From the 12th green through the 18th, players must play solid golf in order to keep their shots dry. The par threes on the inward half—the short 13th and the longer 17th—demand heroic carries over march to shallow putting surfaces. You may be the only player in your foursome to hit the green on either one of these holes. If so, don’t let them forget it!
Tidewater is, in many respects, Pawley Plantation’s cousin to the north. Situated near the North Carolina-South Carolina border near the world-famous seafood-producing village of Little River, Tidewater has nine holes that feature marsh views—some toward the mainland and others with long views of Cherry Grove Beach and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. There is good reason why some visitors and writers liken Tidewater to a seaside course on the West Coast: Pebble Beach.
Grande Dunes Resort Club
Not all of the Grand Strand’s most scenic courses are hard by the ocean and its nearby tidal marshes. In the case of this Roger Rulewich gem, the Intracoastal Waterway is the source of awe-inspiring scenery. In the summer, it is not uncommon to have an audience on certain tee and approach shots of boaters traversing the Waterway. The par three 14th hole, with its putting surface perched precariously over the water. If you miss to the right, you may hear a catcall or two from the Waterway. No pressure.
Caledonia Golf and Fish Club
To play Caledonia Golf and Fish Club down in Pawleys Island is to feel as though you’ve been invited to a private Antebellum estate—say, Tara from Gone With The Wind. It begins with the entrance road, lined with decades-old, Spanish moss-draped live oaks and the meticulously pruned hedge spelling out “CALEDONIA” by the first tee. From there, the player is sent on a journey through flowers, gorgeous shrubbery and still more live oaks. The 18 holes themselves, to boot, are among the best on the entire Grand Strand In springtime, it is the sweetest-smelling golf course you are likely to play. Small wonder why Caledonia is a mainstay on numerous “Top 100” golf course lists.