In his recent visit to the Grand Strand, The Traveling Golfer host Tony Leodora took in the splendor of a Lowcountry Classic: The Jack Nicklaus Designed Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club.
Tony Leodora: Does this guy have a nice office or what? The clubhouse at Pawleys Plantation, head professional Ryan Mooney. It just doesn't get any prettier than that.
Ryan Mooney: No, it does not. Like you said, a beautiful place to work. I certainly enjoy coming here every day. The views are spectacular. A beautiful spot.
Tony: I'm going to guess a few weddings take place right there.
Ryan: Quite a few, and myself, included. It was just a beautiful venue. A gorgeous clubhouse.
Tony: So Ryan, Pawleys Plantation. It's been around for a while. Jack Nicklaus designed. Tell us a little bit about the characteristics of the golf course.
Ryan: Absolutely. Like I said, Jack Nicklaus designed. A little different than some of his other designed golf courses, but the trees being strategically placed out there, very Jack Nicklaus-esque if you will.
Tony: I like that term: Nicklaus-esque.
Ryan: Well, what I mean by that is, for a perfect example, our hole number nine. It's not too long of a hole. What Jack Nicklaus has done is he's put a pretty good-sized tree right in the middle of the fairway. For those lower handicap golfers, you really can take it up and over the tree, or if you can work the ball, you might be able to go from side to side. For others, they might want to lay up. It's not one of those courses where you just want to get up on the tee box and hit driver on every hole.
It's a good mix of holes out there. We have some shorter ones and some longer ones. He really makes you think out there. There's some doglegs out there and some strategically placed trees that you want to be in good position off the tee to give yourself a shot at the green out there.
Tony: Speaking of the greens ...
Ryan: I think he's eased up a little on his greens on this design. They're not as undulated as some of his other designs. They're a good size. They're fair. We have two different courses here, basically. Front nine weaves in and out of the trees, a lot of tree line fairways. It gets a little narrow in spots, but a very playable golf course.
Then, you get out to the back nine. Once you step on the tee on ten, it's not an extremely long hole, but once you hit your tee shot, you do have a forced carry over a bit of water into a pretty demanding green.
Tony: Yeah, we know about the water on the back nine here.
Ryan: Yes. The back nine is full of water. Quite a few force carries over some marshes. It's a beautiful marsh view. Get a real nice picture of Pawleys Island. Very unique causeway that we have out there, where it acts as our cart path and our tee box for two of our holes, two of our par threes. Our signature hole being number thirteen. Quite a difficult short, little par three out onto the marsh area. That wind, when it gets picked up, I'll tell you, it can be a one or two club difference.
Tony: We always say the wind could be your friend or it could be your enemy. I never find the friendly winds.
Ryan: I don't either. I don't either. No, I agree with you there. Same with seventeen coming back. If it's behind you, it could be two clubs short. If it's in your face, you could be hitting a couple of clubs extra.
Tony: Nicklaus, back in this area, 20 some years ago, had a reputation for designing some pretty difficult golf courses. I think Pawleys is one of the more difficult in the entire Myrtle Beach Area.
Ryan: I would agree with that, absolutely. Being down here for quite a few years, I've played most of the courses here, starting up in Myrtle Beach and working my way south. It certainly is one of the premiere golf courses down here. One of, I believe, three courses that get out onto the marsh and the ocean area. It definitely gives a great feel for those of you coming from the north that might not get this kind of a golf course where you normally play.
Unless you want to go to the beach, you can stay right here. We have tennis courts, swimming pools, beautiful restaurants here. Everyone's heard of Myrtle Beach. Myrtle Beach is a little bit more commercialized. Down here, you get the beautiful beaches. Pawleys has always been rated one of the top beaches in the country and you have some of the best golf courses in the area.
Tony: You can see the island. It's right out that ways.
Ryan: We can see it right there.
Tony: Not far from the beach.
Ryan: Nope, not far at all.