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Pawleys Island, South Carolina
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Patrick Koenig
Patrick Koenig
ArchitectBadgeMike Strantz
Pawleys Island, South Carolina
  • Address369 Caledonia Dr, Pawleys Island, SC 29585, USA

Mike Strantz was only 50 when he passed away in 2005 – a tragic loss to his family, of course, but his departure was also a serious blow to American golf course architecture as he was widely regarded as one of the more innovative modern designers and a man who was not afraid to take risks or dare to be different.

Critics might claim his bold designs went too far with the amount of earth that he moved on some of his work but they should realise that variety within the field of course architecture is healthy for the overall development of the game of golf and his creations certainly got golfers thinking on many different levels.

GalleryPatrick Koenig
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Patrick Koenig

Strantz was a shaper for Tom Fazio in the 1980s but quit after eight years to pursue non golf related projects. He was later asked to look over some land at Pawleys Island with a view to laying out an 18-hole course on the 152-acre site and by 1993 he completed the first of nine solo designs – later projects would include Tobacco Road in North Carolina and the Shore course at Monterey Peninsula, California – when Caledonia Golf & Fish Club opened.

Remnants of the past are dotted around Caledonia – an old fish shed here, foundations and chimneys of old houses there, reminders of the property’s former use as a rice plantation and hunting and fishing club before golf arrived. Fairways are laid out over some of the best terrain in the low country with beautiful landscaping around many of the ancient old oak trees that were brought into the routing.

In Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Courses You Can Play book by Brian McCallen, the course is described as “the most delightful test of golf in Myrtle Beach”. The author continues: “Sporty from the Wood Duck tees at 5,710 yards, enjoyable for middle handicappers from the Mallard markers at 6, 121 yards, and a scintillating test for experts from the Pintail tees at 6,526 yards, this par-70 layout has exceptional pace and variety, with three par fives (two of them back-to-back) and five par threes on the card.

“The 9th proves that back breaking distance is not required to fashion a great hole. All of 118 yards from the back tees and flanking the oak-lined entryway, this tiny terror demands a nerveless carry over a sandy wasteland to a shallow green backdropped by a wall of thick-waisted oaks. Strantz turns up the knobs with five par fours in a row (holes 12-16), each measuring 400 yards or more from the tips. At two of the holes, a huge oak tree dictates strategy off the tee for the better player.

“Caledonia’s par four 18th plays opposite a limitless expanse of old rice fields, its fairway doglegging around the arm of a creek. Directly behind the green on the far side of the water is the clubhouse and its wrap-around porch set with rockers. It is an ideal post-round gathering spot. Caledonia, by the way, is still a Fish Club. Drop by on a Thursday from November to April, and those good ole boys may even invite you to their fish fry, which is usually accompanied by homemade slaw and the kind of grits only a professional Southerner can make.”


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Course Architect

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Mike Strantz

In 1979 Tom Fazio recognized Mike Strantz's talents and offered him a position with his firm, resulting in Mike spending most of the next eight years on the road, fashioning layouts in the Carolinas and Florida.

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