Story by Ian Guerin
For several months, the talk of the 2017 solar eclipse has been all the rage.Interactive maps have laid out the August 21 event’s path cutting from the Pacific Northwest down through South Carolina, and exactly where the approximately 70-mile-wide streak will be providing something a little extra.
Two golf courses will be taking full advantage of their locations inside the optimal range, with Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club and Founders Club at Pawleys Island hosting mini-tournaments that afternoon. Each course will utilize a 1:30 p.m. shotgun start, giving players a little more than an hour to stretch their legs prior to the 90 seconds of eclipse totality that will begin at 2:46 p.m. (www.eclipse2017.org)
The pace of playable action will undoubtedly be different than a normal round, given the cosmic event happening above. However, here are three holes on each course where players should take some extra time to see what has been developed here on earth.
No. 13; Par 3
Long ago dubbed “The Shortest Par 5 on the Grand Strand”, this quirky hole has a shared green that is larger than the distances from some of the tee boxes to the pin. That landing strip tee selection befuddles players daily, as some of them struggle to find a wedge that will keep them from dunking into the marshy abyss that surrounds three sides of the green.
No. 17; Par 3
The final short hole of the day plays much more like a traditional par 3, but the carry of the accompanying marsh and a backdrop of a thick line of oak trees means precision is required for any shot at a birdie. Many shots find the bailout fairway landing zone to the right of the green, and considering the alternative, that’s not always the worst play.
No. 18; Par 4
Jack Nicklaus wrapped up his work at Pawleys with a long and slender hole that measures as much as 443 yards from the back tees. Recently named to the Perfect Round series as one of the area’s top 18 holes, the finisher here leads beautifully through the final stretches of tree lines, bailout bunkers and natural grasses that dotted the previous 17 holes.
No. 1; Par 4
Under normal circumstances, first-timers at Founders Club have their eyes opened to the sheer amount of sand they will see throughout the round right off the bat. From any of the tees, you’re asked to fly your initial shot over the large waste bunker that eventually splits at opening of the fairway before hugging both sides all the way right up to the green.
No. 6; Par 5
The hardest hole on the course again opens with more sand off the tee, but this time it is joined by a lengthy pond on the left and a tree line that prevents cutting the corning of the dogleg to the right. Easing off the driver is the safe choice here, especially with a divided and partially elevated fairway providing an extra challenge on the second half of the hole.
No. 11; Par 3
Arguably the penultimate par 3 at Founders, No. 11 and its max distance of 186 yards feeds directly from the tees to the pin via a lush strip of grass. That bit of mounded, eye-popping green, however, accentuates the light brown sand sucking up shots that fall short, right or left of the peninsula of target area players are striving to reach in one.