Caledonia Golf & Fish Club
Caledonia is not only one of the premier courses along the Hammock Coast, it’s one of the best in America. Golf Magazine (No. 29), Golf Digest (No. 77) and Golf Channel travel guru Matt Ginella (No. 16) all rank Caledonia among the nation’s top 100 public layouts.
Famed architect Mike Strantz’s first solo design is equal parts art and architecture. The combination of the area’s stunning lowcountry beauty and the brilliance of Strantz has made Caledonia a bucket list course for players from across the nation.
The course is set amidst centuries-old live oak trees, taking full advantage of nature’s abundant gifts. Caledonia is immaculately maintained and the antebellum-style clubhouse, along with the crab soup served at the turn, contribute to its considerable charm.
The highlight of the day is the unforgettable, par 4 18th hole, a dogleg right that requires golfers to carry water on the approach. The multi-tiered green resides in the shadow of the clubhouse, where players often assemble after their round to watch fellow golfers play one of the game’s best finishing holes.
Address: 369 Caledonia Drive, Pawleys Island, SC 29585
DeBordieu Golf Club
A Pete and P.B. Dye design, DeBordieu is consistently ranked among the 10 best private courses in South Carolina.
Outside play is only available through one of the club’s members, but golfers fortunate enough to secure at tee time at DeBordieu will have the opportunity to challenge one of America’s toughest layouts. A links course, Pete Dye once said DeBordieu has more in common with a Scottish layout than the typical American course.
The layout is just a mile from the Atlantic Ocean and features the dunes and hills golfers associate with true links courses. While DeBordieu features generous fairways, the wind off the ocean and ample water challenge players on every shot.
P.B. Dye oversaw a 2014 renovation project that included the installation of MiniVerde Bermudagrass greens, and the course continues to showcase some of the state’s fastest and smoothest putting surfaces.
DeBordieu is the most elusive tee time along the Hammock Coast, adding to its allure.
Address: 908 Bonnyneck Drive, Georgetown, SC 29440
Pawleys Island golf courses are renowned for their Lowcountry setting, but Founders Club has carved out its niche by providing a different type of experience. The course opened in 2008, built on land that was once home to Sea Gull Golf Club, and it features rolling, elevated fairways and waste bunkers that frame much of the course.
The elevated fairways drain beautifully and the result is a layout where carts are always riding in the fairway. More importantly, Thomas Walker’s design work creates striking visuals, helping Founders Club stand out in a competitive market.
With five sets of tees that range in length from 4,805 to 7,007 yards, Founders Club is able to deliver a challenging, yet imminently fair, round of golf to players of all skill levels. A day at Founders Club is highlighted by the finishing hole, a short par 4 (No. 18 plays just 373 yards from the tips) that requires a nervy approach over water.
Address: 7829 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island, SC 29585
If it’s possible for a layout that was ranked among “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” by Golf Digest to be underrated, Heritage Club is. The Dan Maples design oozes Lowcountry charm from start to finish, playing through the live oak trees the Hammock Coast is renowned for and along the marshy waters of the Waccamaw Neck.
It takes more than a beautiful piece of property to create a memorable golf course and Heritage Club delivers on the design side as well. There is ample room off the tee, but the greens at Heritage are among the area’s largest and most undulating.
The par 3 13th hole, which plays a meaty 175 yards, requires a carry over water to a green with tremendous undulation. Golfers putting from the wrong spot might consider themselves lucky to three putt.
An unforgettable round concludes on the par 5 18th hole, home to a peninsula green that demands a pulse-quickening approach.
Address: 478 Heritage Drive, Pawleys Island, SC 29585
Litchfield Country Club
Players who enjoy the abundant virtues of classic golf course architecture will relish a round at Litchfield Country Club. The first course to open its fairways in Pawleys Island, Litchfield rewards precision shot-making.
The course features eight significant doglegs and tree-lined fairways, so accuracy off the tee is at a premium, but the layout doesn’t overwhelm players with length, playing just 6,700 yards from the tips. Success at Litchfield often means exchanging distance for accuracy and enjoying the creativity the layout allows players to exercise.
Litchfield features small greens, by contemporary standards, but forgiving approach zones allow players the opportunity to run balls up to the putting surface as well. The one hole everyone remembers is the par 5, 13th, which showcases a lake running up the left side.
Litchfield embodies the best of classic golf course architecture, which helps explain its continuing popularity more than 50 years after its 1966 opening.
Address: 619 Country Club Drive, Pawleys Island, SC 29585
Golf’s greatest champion, Jack Nicklaus, designed one of the prettiest courses in all of golf-rich South Carolina at Pawleys Plantation. Six holes along the stunning back nine bring a saltwater marsh into play, a canvas that Nicklaus took full advantage of.
The most memorable hole at Pawleys Plantation is the devilish, par 3 13th, which plays less than 100 yards from the white tees to a peninsula green that is exposed to the marsh and the winds off the nearby Atlantic Ocean. The tee shot induces sweaty palms in the best of players and everyone relishes the challenge.
While the closing stretch, understandably attracts all the attention, the front nine at Pawleys Plantation is equally strong, helping create a layout that is universally ranked among the Palmetto State’s best public courses.
Address: 70 Tanglewood Drive, Pawleys Island, SC 29585
The Hammock Coast is full of high profile courses, allowing River Club to fly under the radar, but savvy golfers are always looking to secure a tee time on the Tom Jackson design.
River Club features water on 15 of 18 holes (none of it coming from a river, in case you were wondering), creating memorable visuals without overwhelming players. With five sets of tees ranging in length from 4,146 to 6,677 yards, River Club offers an enjoyable test for players of all skill levels.
A round at River Club concludes with par 5 18th hole, a risk-reward challenge that has been ranked among the Grand Strand area’s top 100 holes. Brave golfers can challenge the lake that front’s the course’s final green in hopes of securing an eagle putt, but errant shots find a watery grave.
It’s the type of decision golfers love to make.
Address: 170 Beaumont Drive, Pawleys Island, SC 29585
As the name suggests, Tradition Club pays homage to the game’s roots, providing players a straight-forward test of golf. There are no blind tee shots or hidden hazards on the Ron Garl design.
Golfers find instead an always well maintained layout with generous fairways and well protected greens. A 2018 renovation project that included the installation of new Sunday Bermudagrass greens has provided Tradition with some of the smoothest putting surfaces on the South Carolina coast.
A former South Carolina Golf Course of the Year, the layout’s most memorable hole is the par 3 15th, which features an island green. Playing 157 yards from the white tees, No. 15 requires a knee-knocking tee shot that golfers love to relive after the round.
Tradition Club is one of the Hammock Coast’s hidden gems.
Address: 1027 Willbrook Boulevard, Pawleys Island, SC 29585
Everything at True Blue is big – fairways, greens, waste bunkers and most importantly, the fun. The rugged Mike Strantz design is endlessly creative, challenging golfers to hit a variety of shots while wowing them with visuals created by imaginative bunkering and water.
True Blue is ranked among America’s top 100 public courses by Golf Magazine and Golf Channel’s Matt Ginella and it doesn’t take players long to discover why the layout has earned such acclaim.
With five par 5s and five par 3s, True Blue bucks convention from the first tee shot to the final putt, and players have embraced a premium layout located on the grounds of a former indigo plantation.
Home to some of the area’s widest fairways, True Blue is playable for everyone. True Blue is a bucket-list course.
Address: 900 Blue Stem Drive, Pawleys Island, SC 29585
Golfers who are able to secure a tee time on this private Tom Fazio design rave about the experience.
The par 72 layout is always immaculately maintained, challenging players with tree-lined fairways and Fazio’s judicious use of bunkers to create stunning visuals. Wachesaw Plantation is a full-service club, catering to golfers from the bag drop through the 19th hole.
Wachesaw has seven sets of seven tees, including four between 6,069 and 6,833 yards, highlighting the club’s commitment to playability.
A round at Wachesaw reaches a crescendo on the par 5 18th hole, where golfers putt out on a green that abuts the Waccamaw River. It’s the most scenic finish along the Hammock Coast.
While Wachesaw is a private club, guests who stay at the Wachesaw Cottages have access to one of the area’s best layouts.
Address: 1930 Governors Landing, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
Wachesaw Plantation East
Wachesaw Plantation East hosted a LPGA Tournament immediately upon its opening and things have only improved at the popular course.
World Golf Hall of Famer Karrie Webb was a two-time champion on the Clyde Johnston design, but traveling golfers have been the biggest winners. Wachesaw Plantation East is narrow, requiring players to be accurate off the tee, but it’s fun to play.
The challenges vary throughout the round, rewarding golfers who approach the layout from a strategic perspective. The course was carved from land that was once home to a thriving rice plantation, providing a glance at Georgetown County’s natural, Lowcountry beauty.
A round at Wachesaw is highlighted by a memorable finishing kick, culminating with the 430-yard 18th hole. The course’s closing hole doglegs to the left, bringing water to the green’s edge and making the final approach the day’s most dramatic.
Address: 911 Riverwood Drive, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
Wedgefield Country Club
Located on the outskirts of Georgetown, Wedgefield Country Club is a semi-private facility that showcases the area’s Lowcountry beauty on and off the course.
Wedgefield plays through stunning live oak trees draped in Spanish moss, magnolia trees and azaleas before concluding along the banks of the Black River. The scenery is complemented by the classic design work of Porter Gibson and Bob Toski, who allowed the layout to follow the natural contours of the land.
The opening nine is largely flat, playing through tree-lined fairways, before the land begins to roll as golfers approach the water, showcasing an environment that once made Wedgefield home to one of South Carolina’s most profitable indigo and rice plantations.
That sense of history is part of the experience at Wedgefield, as are the amenities that accompany the golf course. The Manor House Restaurant, open for lunch during the week and dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings, as well as a Sunday brunch, is a favorite of members and locals alike. The restaurant complements Wedgefield’s Lowcountry charm and enhances the experience.
Address: 129 Club House Ln, Georgetown, SC 29440
Willbrook Plantation Golf Club
Willbrook Plantation has everything players are looking for in a Lowcountry golf course. The layout winds through land that was once home to a pair of plantations, one of which dates back to 1700s, and showcases natural marshes, wetlands and native grasses.
It’s a picturesque layout with shot values to match. The sixth hole, an island green par 3, and No. 15, a par five that plays along wetlands, water and the properties majestic oaks trees, are two of Willbrook’s most recognizable challenges.
The Dan Maples design’s natural beauty has arguably made it the Hammock Coast’s most value-laden course. Willbrook is also one of the area’s most welcoming venues. In addition to being a 4.5-star course, according to Golf Digest, Willbrook was a perennial member on Golf Digest’s list of America’s “Top 50 Courses for Women,” ranking as high as No. 25.
All golfers can arrive at Willbrook confident in the knowledge that a memorable round awaits.
Address: 426 Willbrook Drive, Pawleys Island, SC 29585