Waccamaw Golf Trail: The South Strand’s ‘Birdie Dozen’ (Part Two of Two)

River Club is situated in close proximity to Willbrook, Tradition Club and Litchfield Country Club, and many golfers build their vacations around the four courses.  For its part, River Club, a Tom Jackson design, offers an interesting look to players.  Whereas many area courses feature extensive mounding and sharp slopes, River Club’s broad, gentle shaping shows that subtlety can be as intriguing as boldness.  Its closing hole is a reachable to a wide, shallow green that players can reach in two if they challenge a pond off the tee.

A tribute to the natural beauty of the region, Caledonia Golf and Fish Club is an intimate, gorgeous 18-hole journey crafted by Mike Strantz and world-renowned in golf circles.  Its generous fairways and huge, undulating greens are bordered by majestic, gnarled live oaks as well as deep bunkers and well-incorporated ponds and streams.  Because houses can only be seen in a few places along the periphery of the property, Caledonia gives golfers the feeling of seclusion and heightens the focus on a great golf course and enjoyable time.

True Blue Plantation, set across Kings River Road from fellow top-100 public course Caledonia, is the Grand Strand’s other Mike Strantz masterpiece.  Where as Caledonia trades on intimacy among Spanish moss-draped oaks, True Blue plays through mostly pine forest on sandy soil, its wide fairways and spacious greens challenging players’ powers of distance control and putting.  Sandy waste areas border every hole, providing stunning visual contrast.  The par three 14th features an hourglass-shaped green and horseshoe-shaped tee area, allowing the hole to play completely differently one day to the next.

At Heritage Club, players will encounter some of the largest and most boldly contoured greens on all of the Grand Strand.  Some of the area’s stateliest live oak trees can be found here, as well as some of the boldest and most inventive bunkering in the South.  At the heart of everything is a traditional manor clubhouse that backs up to the wetlands outlying the Waccamaw River.  All thee elements make it easy to see why Heritage Club has been ranked so highly among “Courses You Can Play” by major golf publications.

Pawleys Plantation, one of two Jack Nicklaus Signature designs on the Grand Strand, opened in 1988 and has challenged and beguiled golfers ever since.  It features one of the most iconic holes on the South Carolna coast, the 145-yard, par three 13th hole, whose green is almost completely surrounded by tidal marsh that separates the mainland from Pawleys Island and the Atlantic beyond.  With extensive resort amenities, including the Phil Ritson-Mel Sole Golf School, Pawleys Plantation is a great place to spend a morning, afternoon, weekend or entire trip.

Finally, Wedgefield Plantation anchors the Waccamaw Golf Trail from its serene post outside of Georgetown, South Carolina.  Opened in 1972, Wedgefield is one of the “old guard” courses on the Grand Strand, but it is by no means tired.  With moss-draped live oaks and finishing holes that back up to a tributary of the Pee Dee River and the stately Revolution-era manor house serves as the clubhouse, Wedgefield drips with ambiance.  The golf is pretty good, too: the Porter Gibson/Bob Toski design is heralded as a hidden gem by many golfers.

From Murrells Inlet down to Georgetown, SC, the Waccamaw Golf Trail is very much the backbone of the South Strand golf scene.  Its twelve excellent courses give visiting and local golfers alike a variety of combinations of courses to play on a trip of any length, and exactly zero ways to go wrong in doing so.

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