|Located within a large 582-acre property, the course at Pawleys Plantation Golf and Country Club is a Jack Nicklaus Signature design, first opening for play in 1988.|
One of the toughest architectural assignments is routing a course in close proximity to wetlands and being able to pull things together so that forced carries are kept at a minimum. In addition, the layout had to deal with a vast number of abutting home sites so getting everything to fit properly was no small feat.
I first played Pawleys Plantation not long after it first opened. The layout is typical of Nicklaus -- high caliber shotmaking is sine qua non. Players need to be especially mindful of one's golf skills -- or lack thereof. Playing the wrong tees at Pawleys can be an expensive hobby but to be fair to Nicklaus the design knife is not put to the golfer's throat unless the player does so without careful thinking and sound execution.
The key to playing well at Pawleys is doing so right from the beginning. Nicklaus turns up the design heat the deeper the round progresses. In my last visit in 2019 -- I thought the tree overhang on a few holes needed to be trimmed accordingly.
The inward half is among the best nines in all of SC golf. Given the close proximity of the wetlands -- the Nicklaus team smartly created a pathway connecting two parts of the back nine. When doing so you play two par-3 holes that use the same pathway with a sliver of green space set-aside for teeing areas. At the 13th you play a max of 145 yards going in a southerly direction. When you return the par-3 17th is played via the same pathway / tee area but in a northerly direction and to a length of 201 yards.
Pawleys Plantation is often overlooked by many golfers coming to the Grand Strand area because many people opt to play the slew of courses in the Myrtle Beach area and extending all the way into Brunswick County in NC.
A bit of tree pruning and a tad more attention on the quality of the turf and greens would be the right prescription for Pawleys Plantation to be an even higher rated layout. Make sure to bring your game because you won't find the goings easy if you're hitting it sideways here.
M. James Ward