To say that the True Blue Golf Plantation on Pawley’s Island, SC is a golf course is like calling the Mona Lisa a painting; it is truly a masterpiece. I have not seen anything that rivals it in the two weeks I have spent in the Myrtle Beach area, reviewing golf courses.
True Blue is built on a 500-year old rice and indigo plantation and the course tests your mettle from the moment you step on the first tee. True Blue starts you off with the course’s #1 handicap, which plays 600 yards plus from the back two sets of tees. In addition to a brook just short of the well elevated green, sand surrounds it as well. And things are just getting started!
Unlike golf courses that look out of place, True Blue looks like it belongs here. This Lowcountry layout fits right in, making True Blue a popular choice among both local golfers and visitors to the area. As you make your way around the course, you will find salt marshes and wetlands along with forests of pine trees and Spanish moss-laden live oaks. There’s a good mixture of tree lined fairways which require a modicum of accuracy; other fairways are wide open and let you bomb away with little penalty for erratic behavior. TifEagle Bermuda greens putt true, usually with some break to them and bunkers and other hazards seem strategically placed. No matter what your handicap, True Blue will prove to be a worthy opponent.
You’ll want to warm up before taking on the first hole, and True Blue has a very comprehensive practice facility. There’s a full-length grass range where you can hit every club in your bag to targeted greens, a short game area with sand bunker and a large practice green. In case you get finished with your round and decide that a lesson would be in order before taking the course on again, the Steve Dresser Golf Academy is located on the property and has been named to the Top 25 Golf Schools in America.
The clubhouse features a full service pro shop where you will find all kinds of logoed apparel, a restaurant and lounge as well as both men’s and women’s lockers complete with a shower and changing area, in case this was a last minute round before your flight home.
Of all the courses I have played in Myrtle Beach, this one is the hardest to choose just a few. So many beautiful holes of all shapes, sizes and difficulty. Here’s what I came up with:
Most Memorable Hole: Number 3, Par 3, 141 yards (White Tees). This hole can make or break your round early on. Pin position has a lot to do with it as well; there can be a 25-yard difference between front and back. A front pin position is a lot tougher. There is less room for error and anything that hits on the green short of the pin will end up in the back bunker, about 5 feet below the putting surface. Regardless of pin position, it’s all carry over water and sand to an island green. If the pin is in the back, play to the right of the hole and let the ball funnel down towards it. Par is a good score here.
Favorite Par 3: Number 16, 181 yards (White Tees). A long par three with a deep, narrow two-tiered green. Again, it’s all carry over water with sand short and on either side. The green slopes left to right so play to the left side and let the ball funnel down to the hole. Just make sure you have the right club to reach the proper tier of the green.
Favorite Par 4: Number 18, 406 yards (White Tees). The flagpole up at the clubhouse is a perfect line from the white tees. Anything hit well and left could very well find the water. Likewise, anything hit well and right can go through the fairway. How good you hit your approach shot will determine how well you do on this hole. Whether the pin is in the front or the back can be a 2-3 club difference. And to complicate matters, there’s water on the left and undoubtedly golfers watching from the balcony cheering you on. Or not. Another hole where par is good.
Favorite Par 5: Number 10, 559 yards (White Tees). A massive par 5, no matter the tees! Trouble comes into play in several places on number 10. A good line off the tees is the corner of the waste bunker; anything right will probably find the aforementioned hazard. Then, hit your layup over the cross bunkers, and get ready for some fun. A good drive and a decent layup will leave a pitch shot of less than 100 yards. Pin placement is everything. If it’s on the left, go at it; anything over the pin should catch the slope and come back to the hole. If the pin is on the right, anything right of it will likely catch the slope and roll off the green. The center of the green is your best bet; the ball will feed from the left to the right. This is a fun hole.
Last Word: I’ve yet to play a course that has 18 holes that challenge you and keep your attention – until now. True Blue starts you out with the number one handicap hole, yet things seem to build from there and culminates on the green at 18, many times in front of an impromptu gallery.
Par 3s, 4s and 5s all demand well thought strategies and shot placement. Playing with someone who knows the course is a huge benefit; short of that, a yardage book is a great investment. There are no formal bunkers here, everything is a waste area; you can ground your club and take practice swings.
It doesn’t matter how skilled you are; this course is a lot of fun to play. Just be sure to pick the tees that suit your handicap. Bite off too much and your likely to find yourself in sand quite a bit, wishing you had gone to the beach.
If you’re going to Myrtle Beach on a golf vacation and don’t play both True Blue and its sister course Caledonia, you’re missing the best golf the Grand Strand has to offer. Everything here is first rate. For more information or to book your next round, give them a call at (843) 235-0900 or visit them online at http://www.fishclub.com/true-blue/