Founders Club is located on the quiet, tranquil southern end of the Grand Strand in the town of Pawleys Island. Originally opened in 1969 as Sea Gull Golf Club, the course was completely redesigned by Thomas Walker and reopened in 2008 to rave reviews from locals and visiting golfers alike. Walker maintained the corridors of most of the holes but introduced a thoroughly modern aesthetic and type of shaping, moving more than 250,000 cubic yards of dirt and bringing the course boldly into the 21st century. Walker replaced much of the long rough with sandy waste areas that allow for creative recovery shots by all levels of player, adding more fun to the experience of playing a round at Founders Club. It is the only course on the Grand Strand to use Emerald Bermuda grass on its greens, which are known for being kept in excellent shape year-round.
The course at Founders Club builds to a climax on the back nine. The inward half of the course is stellar, kicked into high gear by the split-fairway par five 12th, where going for the green in two requires an fairway wood shot that must carry a pond to a shallow, elevated green surrounded by bunkers and chipping areas. The 14th through 17th holes sit in an undulating, pine-forested part of the property, bookended by two long par fours where a par is an excellent achievement. The closing hole, a short par four is actually a birdie hole if one can find the fairway off the tee.
Founders Club’s facilities got a major upgrade along with the golf course in 2008. The new plantation-style clubhouse features a wraparound porch, well-appointed pro shop and cozy dining area overlooking the 18th green. The practice putting and chipping green simulates most any short shot or putt one is likely to find on the course and a large driving net is available for warming up before the round.