Pawleys Plantation in Myrtle Beach is a classic example of how great architects can carve great golf courses out of the lowcountry, at least the back nine, which incorporates marsh and wetlands into both hazard and aesthetic almost like art, while the front nine is a more traditional layout.
This Jack Nicklaus design is also a good example of how to build a golf course that both low handicappers and hackers alike can enjoy without getting whupped up on.
"It's a demanding and dual-personality course," said Mel Sole, director of instruction at the on-site Phil Ritson-Mel Sole Golf School. "It's a combination of parkland and lowcountry."
The low handicappers can get their kicks from the back tees at a little more than 7,000 yards with its knee-knocking slope rating of 146, one of the highest along the entire Grand Strand.
Oddly enough though, those low handicappers, for the most part, must scale back their game to score well here.
"All my low scores here came when I played conservative golf," Sole said. "I hit a lot of 2- and 3-irons off the tee. In fact, I really only use driver on numbers one and four. You need to sacrifice distance for accuracy."
As for the hacker, take comfort in the fact this is a Jack Nicklaus course, and from the blue or white tees, very playable. Nicklaus is a big fan of giving golfers optional routes to the green, which in a practical sense means wide fairways and generous landing areas.
The fairways at Pawleys aren't as wide and forgiving as many of Nicklaus' later courses, but there is room for the most part if you don't get greedy with the big stick. Being long here, as Sole said, isn't a major priority, particularly from either of the middle tees.