You may have read that more than 15 Myrtle Beach golf courses have closed in the last few years. Well, here’s one that’s bucking the trend.
Starting tomorrow, there will be a new course to play on a Myrtle Beach Golf Vacation, albeit toward the south end of the Grand Strand. It’s called The Founders Club at Pawleys Island, not to be confused with the Founders Club at St. James Plantation in the far northern reaches of the Strand.
This new Founders Club represents a total redesign of the circa-1966 Sea Gull Golf Club, which by some accounts was the fifth or sixth oldest Myrtle Beach golf course until it closed in 2005.
Thanks to a $7 million upgrade, the Founder’s Club at Pawleys Island is now the first new Myrtle Beach golf course since Leopard’s Chase opened at Ocean Ridge Plantation in February 2007. And, as far as we know, there aren’t any other Myrtle Beach golf courses planned, at least not for 2008.
The Founders Club displays the artistry of Thomas Walker, former head designer for Gary Player Design. We recently played another one of Walker’s solo creations, Canyon Springs in San Antonio, and loved that course’s variety, aesthetics, and challenge.
At the Founders Club, Walker said he wanted the finished design to be, “visually stunning but very playable,” and he moved lots of dirt to make modifications to every hole. There’s a good bit of water here, plus some pot bunkers, but it’s the new extensive sandy transitional areas that give the course its distinctive look and defining strategic element. According to head professional and general manager Wayne Weldon, “the soil has an orange tint due to iron deposits and it really helps frame the holes.”
The Founders Club is the second course in the United States to use Emerald Bermuda on its greens (the TPC of Scottsdale, site of this week’s FBR Open on the PGA Tour, is the other). This hybrid strain incorporates the best of both Bermuda and Bentgass and is highly regarded for its ability to withstand heat and hold up in the winter.
So, with any luck, you can play this new Myrtle Beach golf course no matter when you take your Myrtle Beach golf vacation. Be advised, however, that it’s not just the grass and design that’s totally different here. Whereas the old Sea Gull Golf Club was a bargain to play, green fees at The Founders Club are expected to range from $95 to $160, reflecting its upscale positioning and amenities.
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