Golfweek ranks 3 Pawleys Island courses tops in the Palmetto State
Golfweek, one of the game’s most respected publications, has named three of Pawleys Island’s golf courses to its “Best Courses You Can Play 2023: State-by-state rankings for public-access layouts.”
Caledonia Golf & Fish Club was South Carolina’s fourth-ranked public course. It was followed by No. 5 True Blue Golf Club and and No. 13 Heritage Club. All three clubs are on the mainland of Pawleys Island.
Caledonia’s lofty perch comes as no surprise. Mike Strantz’s first solo design has been regarded as one of the nation’s premier layouts since opening in 1994, complementing visionary design work with a stunning piece of lowcountry property.
The course delights golfers from their arrival, which features a ½-mile long drive through an alley of oak trees that separate the first and 10th holes, through the unforgettable 18th, a challenge widely regarded as one of the game’s premier finishing holes.
Golfweek also ranked Caledonia No. 65 on its list of America’s top 100 public-access courses, highlighting the property’s national standing.
A combination of art and architecture, Caledonia is a bucket list course, as is its sister property and fellow Strantz design, True Blue, which offers a contrasting but equally enjoyable experience. While Caledonia was built on just 120 acres of land, True Blue is a sprawling layout, greeting players with some of South Carolina’s widest fairways, expansive waste bunkers and large, undulating greens.
True Blue’s size is at the heart of its appeal as the nature of the challenge can change dramatically with the setup. Beginning with the 624-yard, par 5 first hole, it doesn’t take golfers long to realize why a round at True Blue is special.
Heritage Club, a Dan Maples design, is carved amidst soaring live oak trees draped in Spanish moss, delivering a round that is as exhilarating as it is challenging. A shotmaker’s course, Heritage is a delight to play and it features the area’s most creative greens complexes.
The par 3 13th hole plays a whopping 228 yards from the tips and features a carry over water, but the real challenge begins on a green that is nearly 60 yards long and includes the proverbial elephant buried in the middle. The 13th is the type of hole you tell your buddies about long after returning home.
Pawleys Plantation, a Jack Nicklaus design that plays along a tidal marsh, will be a strong contender to join Caledonia, True Blue and Heritage on the list after the completion of a comprehensive greens, bunkers and clubhouse restoratioin project.
At the heart of Pawleys Island’s popularity as a golf destination is the depth and quality of the area’s offerings, attributes that are highlighted by Golfweek’s ranking of South Carolina’s best courses.
Pawleys Island is known as America’s original beach destination, bringing visitors to its Atlantic Coast shore for generations. Its pristine beach is beloved by vacationers seeking a quiet, relaxing time. Other than two historic inns (The Pelican Inn and the Sea View Inn), there are no commercial properties on the sea island, an incorporated town. Other than the inns, beach rentals are houses that have stunning ocean or marsh views. One set of condos is connected to the private pier on the island. On the mainland of Pawleys, a host of golf courses and eclectic, locally owned restaurants and shops welcome visitors throughout the year.
— By Chris King for OnlyPawleys.com