True Blue Plantation: Bark, Bite, Brawl and Come Back for More

The Course
True Blue was designed by the late Mike Strantz and opened in 1998. As many dozens of courses as opened in the Myrtle Beach area before it, True Blue was one of the first to offer a truly fresh look. With wild fairways, heaving greens and an awful lot of sand, the course has less a South Carolina seaside aesthetic than one of the North Carolina sandhills or, for that matter, one of southern New Jersey.  Pine Valley, anyone?

That’s what Strantz was thinking of when he was designing True Blue. Luckily, his modern homage to the greatest golf course in the world is much more playable, both in the sense of being public and more user-friendly. At first blush, True Blue looks like a true brute, but it’s really not such a beast to play, provided you choose the proper set of tees. Those fairways that seem pinched in by waste areas with flashed-up lips are almost always wider than they appear—often considerably so. The same goes for the greens; their degree of undulation makes them look unhittable at times, but in many cases a ball that lands some 30 feet from the hole just so can roll down a slope to tap-in range. True Blue isn’t hard—it’s fun.

Take the 10th hole, the second of back-to-back par fives (True Blue has five). The green, some 40 yards from front to back, features a slope some four feet high that can be used to maneuver a golf ball around. A front pin can be accessed in the conventional way or by rolling the ball some 50 feet up behind the hole and back down toward it. Watching that ball close in on the cup is a highlight of many a golf trip. Oh, the other 17 holes are pretty good, too.

The Experience
As one would expect from a top-notch golf course, True Blue’s peripherals are special too. The course is always in excellent shape—fast, firm greens and, best of all, the fairways don’t turn that unnatural shade of green that comes from polluting Bermuda grass with overseeded rye! The practice facility is the kind you could spend all day at and the clubhouse’s great pro shop will help you replenish your supply of golf balls in between rounds. Also, True Blue’s restaurant may get overshadowed by that of its sister course Caledonia Golf and Fish Club, it is its equal and well worth the time to patronize for lunch.

The Verdict
True Blue is one of the Grand Strand’s best golf facilities. The golf course is better than its neighbor across the street, Caledonia Golf and Fish Club. There I said it. Come play it and let us know if you agree.

Posted 3/19/13

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