Tired of winter ? Maybe it’s time to take a little trip to the Carolina Coast where you’ll find everything you could want for an early-spring golf getaway — easy and convenient access, mild weather, accommodations to suit every budget and whim, and some of the top-ranked resort courses in America. If you are looking for a really special golf experience, take your golf group to the Waccamaw Trail.
The Waccamaw Golf Trail is located at the south end of The Myrtle Beach Grand Strand and includes eleven of the Strand’s very best courses, all located within a 10-mile radius. In fact, this collection of courses has garnered more awards than any other golf trail in America. Most of the courses are built on 18th Century rice and indigo plantations, and their routing is often dictated by centuries-old moss-draped oak trees and gently flowing tidal rivers.
On the Waccamaw Trail you’ll find courses designed by some of the top names in the game, including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Dan Maples, Ron Garl, and the late Mike Strantz. The Waccamaw Golf Trail also boasts Gary Player’s lone Myrtle Beach design in Blackmoor Golf Club.
AN AWARD-WINNING LINEUP OF COURSES
TPC Myrtle Beach, a Tom Fazio-Lanny Wadkins design, is the only course on the Grand Strand awarded 5 Stars from Golf Digest’s Places to Play. Many golfers, both local and visitors consider TPC Myrtle Beach to be among the most challenging in the area. Just ask the pros who challenged it in the 2000 Senior Tour Championship.
Caledonia Golf & Fish Club is one of two Waccamaw Trail designs by the late Mike Strantz. An avenue of ancient oak trees leads you to an old-South style clubhouse and one of the most incredibly maintained courses anywhere. No two holes are the same and each will test your mettle as you play. The 19th hole offers a porch that overlooks the 18th green, and and the opportunity to cheer – or jeer – golfers as they navigate their way across the pond to the final green.
True Blue is the other Mike Strantz course on the Trail. It plays a little longer – and tougher – than its sister course. The signature 18th green requires a carry over water off the tee, and then another carry on your approach to the green, usually with a gallery of golfers gathered on the porch acknowledging your success, or not.
Tradition Golf Club was designed by well-known Florida course architect Ron Garl, and is his only design in the Myrtle Beach area. In addition to a challenging par 72 golf course, The Tradition Club is very female-friendly, and also boasts a Mega Practice Complex, another element of the Garl signature.
Litchfield Country Club was voted “2016 Golf Course of the Year” by the Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association and continues to get better with age. A classic design, Litchfield was created by Willard Byrd in the mid-1970s, and features narrow fairways, sharp doglegs, and strategically constructed green complexes that put a premium on accuracy over distance.
Blackmoor Golf Club is the only Gary Player design in the area and takes advantage of the natural terrain in the area, creating some interesting shot selections. Much more than “grip it and rip it golf”, Blackmoor will have you thinking your way around the course, including a big decision to make on #8, a par-4 that offers a shortcut, if you dare.
Willbrook Plantation is a Dan Maples design built on land that was once two Carolina Plantations, dating back to 1798. As you play the course, you’ll see several historical markers denoting numerous points of historic significance. Willbrook Plantation is a favorite among the ladies, ranked among the “Top 50 in America” for female golfers, and will challenge all comers.
The River Club at Litchfield is an award-winning Tom Jackson design that requires both distance and precision if you want to score well. Be warned – there is water on just about every hole and over 100 sand traps to test your aim and direction. You’ll need to have it down pat when it comes time to take on number 18, one of the most challenging finishing holes in the area.
Pawleys Plantation is a Jack Nicklaus signature course with two very different nines. The front nine offers tree-lined fairways and beautiful lakes. The back nine delivers spectacular views of the salt marsh from six different holes, including the signature 13th hole which is aptly dubbed the “World’s Shortest Par 5”. In reality, it’s a 67 to 90-yard par 3, but 5s are every bit as common on the scorecard.
Founders Club at Pawleys Island has the distinction of being both the oldest and newest course on the Waccamaw Trail. The original 1966 Gene Hamm design course was rebuilt by former Gary Player lead designer Thomas Walker in 2008. Waste areas are filled with natural beach sand, and native grasses populate the mounds and waste areas.
Heritage Club has been rated one of “50 Best Public Courses in America” by Golf Digest and the par 71 Dan Maples design doesn’t disappoint. After your round, relax on the porch of the Southern-style Colonial Clubhouse overlooking the Waccamaw River and relive your round. In addition to fantastic golf, a round at Heritage includes breakfast, lunch and two beers!
Wachesaw Plantation East has hosted numerous LPGA events over the years, and remains a popular choice of locals and visitors alike.
The Waccamaw Golf Trail is situated about 30 minutes south of Myrtle Beach International Airport and just over an hour north of Charleston International, with affordable flights into both. For more information on the Waccamaw Trail or to book your next round at one of these fine golf courses, give them a call at 888-293-7385 or book online at www.WaccamawGolfTrail.com.