FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Pawleys Island, S.C., True Blue Golf Plantation

Oct 1, 2014
2014 / September 2014

In the July 2014 issue of Global Traveler, I reviewed one of our all-time favorite golf courses in Myrtle Beach, The Caledonia Golf and Fish Club. Its sister course, True Blue, is a great course to complement your visit to the Caledonia/True Blue complex.

True Blue is consistently ranked one of the top courses to play in South Carolina and, like Caledonia, was designed by golf architect Mike Stranz. The course opened in 1998 to much fanfare, immediately taking awards and top rankings. The design offers wide fairways and not much rough, but these features are countered by elevated and undulating greens that play fast.

Indigo was the cash crop of the 1700s in this area of South Carolina, hence the name True Blue Plantation — a name carried for centuries, even after it was converted to a rice plantation.

Hole 1 | 624 yards, par 5
Leave it to Stranz to give you a swift kick out of the gate. The first hole is also the No. 1 ranked handicapped hole on the course. The key: Drive your ball favoring the right side of the fairway and continue this approach through the second shot. The fairway turns left and doglegs around to the green, so favoring the left might block you out of some opportunities. Furthermore, a large waste bunker runs along the left side of the fairway and ends just before a creek which crosses in front of the green. I thought our warm-up game at Caledonia made us more than ready for True Blue, but we had many a mishap on this opening hole.

Hole 3 | 190 yards, par 3
A beauty and a difficult hole, as the pin placement on our lovely day was up front. This offered Gerry Patrick the ability to skip across the water and roll up onto the green. The green is an amoeba-shaped structure within a pond, with a “foot” connecting it in the back, making the green a near-island. Any faulty hit ends up wet or in the large bunker in front of the green. I took an overzealous swing and landed in the back of the green, so far that I needed semaphore signals as I was putting.

Hole 9 | 548 yards, par 5
Much like Corky’s drives, the closing hole of the front nine makes you dizzy at the tee box. It appears to dogleg right and then left — if you can cut the corner on the right side and miss the waste area, it is possible to land on the green in two. We played this hole last, as the back; the sun was setting and we were losing light as the group in front took its time. I played it like a traditional “three shots to the green,” landing on the left side of the fairway and then laying up in front of the marsh which cuts across the fairway in front of the green. Many of our teammates ended up in the primordial muck while I walked away with a bogey.

Hole 10 © Francis X. Gallagher

Hole 10 © Francis X. Gallagher

Hole 10 | 599 yards, par 5
Hole 10 offers a good example of Stranz generosity, incredibly wide and with a large landing area on the left side of the fairway. Even with this advantage, some golfers (like Gerry) want the game to be a little more difficult and aim for the waste bunkers on the right. Needless to say, the drive should be placed on the left side, taking advantage of Stranz’ landing area. From here, you can attack this dogleg right carrying over some finger-shaped bunkers to another generous landing area. Some of us thought these traps needed closer examination, and Corky spent several minutes navigating his way free. Finally, you can take a shot at the undulating green which can help or destroy your chance for success.

Hole 11 | 184 yards, par 3
Don’t let the abundance of sand get to your head. That’s no mirage; there is a green out there. Regulars at True Blue call this a straightforward par 3, but there was nothing straight about our shots from the tee box. Only one of us, Lucky Bob, nailed the two-tiered green — but on the wrong tier. The rest of us practiced our bunker play, adding strokes to the card.

Hole 17 | 449 yards, par 4
This hole took me to the cleaners, and even though it is ranked the second-most difficult hole, it appears straightforward and simple. Looks can be deceiving. My drive was near-perfect, away from the water lining the entire right side and perfectly positioned for me to launch my 3-wood at the green. Lucky Bob outdrove me and rolled a little off-course on the left side, nearly into an unsuspecting neighbor’s yard. I hit my approach well, but well right — as if I wanted to test the pond water for the EPA. Recovery is not my game, and my next shot to the green came up short, adding further insult to misery.

Hole 18 | 437 yards, par 4
On this fine finishing hole, the clubhouse with its indigo roof sits behind the green. A familiar design in many courses in Myrtle is the horseshoe fairway circumventing a large body of water to the green on the left. Of course, this can make for a fine finish or lots of wet balls off the tee. Gerry thought this was his opportunity to donate a few fine new Titleists to the water gods, while Bob once again cut the water, screaming across the fairway so far afield that he ended up on the right side among some trees. Corky hit his best shot and put together a string of swings that left us speechless — and him with a par. Stanz tipped the green from right to left; he must be laughing in golf heaven as balls hit the green and roll off into the water!

True Blue Golf Plantation

900 Blue Stem Drive
Pawleys Island, SC 29585
tel 843 235 0900
truebluegolf.com

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