Course Spotlight: Founders Club at Pawleys Island
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Founders Club at Pawleys Island opened 10 years ago, surrounded by some of Myrtle Beach’s highest profile golf courses. Located within a Dustin Johnson drive of Pawleys Plantation, Heritage Club and Caledonia, Founders Club didn’t attempt to replicate the Lowcountry-inspired formula that led to success for many of its fellow Waccamaw Golf Trail courses. So what has led to the popularity of the Thomas Walker design? Glad you asked.
- Founders Club dared to be different, and we admire that. The surrounding courses had cornered the market on great designs that showcase the area’s Lowcountry terrain, so Walker and his team went the other way. Founders Club challenges players with elevated, rolling fairways that are framed by waste bunkers, and large multi-tiered greens. It works.
- The layout is strong throughout, but the final 10 holes, in particular, standout. Beginning with the par-5 ninth hole, which is visible from Highway 17 as you are driving in, Founders Club is a blast to play. The par-5 12th is the course’s signature hole, but if you are asking for a favorite, we’ll go with No. 18. It plays just 338 yards from the white tees, but the approach requires a carry over water to a green residing in the shadow of the clubhouse. On paper, it’s not a difficult hole, but it’s a scenic finish and there is something about your final full-length shot being over water that enhances the difficulty. The 18th is an outstanding close, offering the perfect combination of challenge and charm.
- What you will most remember about Founders Club are the waste bunkers that frame nearly every hole, creating visual definition. Don’t let the talk of sand scare you, though. The fairways are plenty wide and there is rough, so if you hit a shot in the sand, you earned your trip into the bunker. Did I mention cart paths are almost non-existent? No matter the weather, you are nearly always riding the Myrtle Beach area’s best draining fairways at Founders Club.
- If you play Founders Club (and we recommend it), you will want to do so through the Waccamaw Golf Trail Rewards package. Your group can choose among Founders Group International’s 7 South Strand courses including Pawleys Plantation, TPC Myrtle Beach and Willbrook Plantation, and everyone receives a $100 gift card for use in the clubhouse pro shop and restaurant and on the beverage cart. It’s a tough deal to beat.
- Not that you need anymore reason to play Founders Club, but if you do: it means a trip to Pawleys Island, home to the area’s best dining. Restaurants like Bistro 217, Chive Blossom, Perrone’s and Frank’s are among the state’s finest. If you want something a little more casual, Rustic Table or BisQit deliver a great meal for less than $15 per entree. Long story short, if you go to Pawleys Island, make sure you leave time for a meal.
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