Founders Club of Pawleys Island
|Red (W)||72||4805 yards||68.1||114|
|Black M: 74.2/142||381||432||190||395||209||546||396||427||559||3535||542||186||511||372||449||392||146||501||373||3472||7007|
|Blue M: 73.1/138||372||416||175||377||184||525||395||398||534||3376||529||176||506||359||427||386||140||447||362||3332||6708|
|White M: 71.2/133 W: 73.6/139||357||390||166||361||158||518||381||393||493||3217||510||166||491||341||395||371||135||430||338||3177||6394|
|Gold M: 67.4/120 W: 71.8/129||287||358||127||334||134||421||329||297||455||2742||436||136||436||314||358||296||120||373||295||2764||5506|
|Red M: 64.4/114 W: 68.5/118||252||327||106||298||109||381||248||253||397||2371||397||114||372||281||313||276||110||334||237||2434||4805|
Solid design still finding its way
Founders Club is one of the more interesting layouts in the Pawleys Island area, but for much of its decade of existence in its current iteration, it has had some struggles.
When Founders (re)opened in 2008, its Emerald Bermuda greens were some of the first of the kind, promising a superior putting surface. In recent years, Founders' greens have been a bit hit-or-miss, and the expansive waste areas bordering each fairway have had their ups and downs, too. When the course is in good shape, it is one of the stronger options in the area. Last winter was rough, and the greens were still recovering a bit when I played there in October.
Nevertheless, if you play the course, you will find plenty of interesting holes. The last six are particularly good, as they take advantage of some interesting terrain. You might just find yourself thinking you're in Pinehurst.
This course was rough around the edges with waste areas running beside each fairway. Bermuda Greens were good though. Staff was friendly and helpful. My cart seat was broken and I felt I was leaning out of the cart. The cart eventually ran out of power on the 13th hole and we had to call for a replacement. They quickly brought us another cart. It appeared they needed a new fleet of carts. Also, a very limited practice area. There are just too many nicer courses in the area to recommend this on
Better maintenance would help
My Day 3 course for 2018 Myrtle Beach World Am.
Seems like each year maintenance of this facility gets worse and worse.
Greens not in good condition. Around entire course, lots of weeds.
This course has lots of blind shots and combine that with bad conditioning...not a fun time.
Even the cart staging area is full of holes with standing water.
Tried and True!
The Founders Club at Pawleys Island, about 20 minutes south of Myrtle Beach on Highway 17, opened for play in 2008 and attracts golfers because of its unique appeal: sand instead of long, unforgiving rough. The course was designed by Thomas Walker, former lead designer for Gary Player Design, on what used to be the Sea Gull Golf Club, a Gene Hamm design that dates back to 1966. Like much of the surrounding area, the original course was relatively flat. Walker changed the look and feel of the course by moving around over a quarter million cubic yards of dirt. The $7 million renovation project included a new Lowcountry-style clubhouse, overlooking the 18th green.
Since Walker’s redo in 2008, Founders Club has received numerous accolades including one of the 30 Best Courses You Can Play in South Carolina by the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel in 2009 and again in 2011. Founders Club was also named Myrtle Beach Golf Course of the Year by the Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association in 2011.
As a result of all the renovation work, Founders Club features sloping fairways, bunkers, elevation changes, and mounding, lots of mounding. Overgrown rough has been replaced with waste areas filled with native beach sand, pine straw and grasses. Also sprinkled throughout the course are Lowcountry wetlands, towering live oak and pine trees and azaleas which, when in bloom, add to the beauty of the layout. You won’t find many traditional cart paths out here, instead what you have are waste areas that are in play. Another feature that sets Founders Club apart from other courses in the area are the Emerald Bermuda greens. This unique strain of grass withstands the summer heat and requires less water than other grasses; it also has less grain.
Five sets of tees allow players to choose their level of difficulty. From the Black Tees, Founders Club plays 7,007 yards with a course rating of 74.2 and a slope of 142. Big numbers from the Back tees. Mere mortal golfers will find that the White tees (6,394 yards/71.2 course rating/133 slope) will give them all the golf they can handle and allow them to leave with a little dignity. Seniors move up to just over 5500 yards while the Ladies will enjoy a length of 4,805 yards. Since you know your game better than anyone, picking the right set of tees will maximize your enjoyment.
With such a premium on land in the area, there is no formal driving range. Instead there is a hitting net which can accommodate 6 players at a time and a practice putting green where you can also hit some chip shots.
Number 2: Par 4, 390 yards (White Tees). Standing on the tee, this long par 4 looks intimidating, with water all down the right side and trees and a waste bunker down the left. The landing area is generous, so take advantage of it. Favoring the left side of the fairway will take the water out of play and give the best angle for approach into a large green with a long, narrow bunker on the right and a small deep bunker about half way back on the left. Keep it on play to the green and you could end up with a low score.
Number 3: Par 3, 166 yards (White Tees). Because of the shallow depth of the green, distance off the tee is crucial. It’s all carry over water to an oval green set on an angle. A deep bunker in front guards the right side. If the bunkers behind the green come into play, you weren’t listening when I talked about distance control. The green slopes gently back towards the water.
Number 9: Par 5, 493 yards (White Tees). For most, Number 9 is the first hole you see when you enter the property; it’s the one right along the road. Most golfers will comment on the way the sand slopes down into the pond, making it a great looking hole. That being said, if you want to post a low score on this hole, it’s best to avoid the pretty sand and water! This hole can best be described as a narrow strip of grass surrounded by sand – and water. You’ll need to carry your tee shot over a large waste bunker and on to one of these narrow strips of grass – aka fairway. The landing area opens up, however two bunkers on the right and infringing water on the left come into play if you hit it too far. The fairway bottlenecks and then opens back up in the landing area with the right-side waste bunker creeping in and the water on the left. Success so far will leave a short iron into a large green protected front right and in the back by large penalizing bunkers. Par is a good score here.
Number 12: Par 5, 491 yards (White Tees). Number 12 looks like a hole straight out of the yardage book of a Scottish golf course with a row of pot bunkers down the middle of the fairway. Most of the time, you want to hit the ball off the tee as far as you can down the middle of the fairway; on this hole it’s not advised! Most players will come up short of the bunkers and have to deal with them on their layup shot. Unless you’re a long ball hitter, you’ll want to hit your layup shot short of the pond and then play your approach shot about 120 yards to a large, receptive green with a deep bunker front left. The fairway is framed on either side by a waste bunker. A challenging but doable hole.
Number 16: Par 3, 135 yards (White Tees). What makes this hole interesting is the deep pot bunker in the front middle of the green. You’ll play your tee shot over a small waste area on to the green. There’s really no bailout area here and you’re going to need to fly it on, so be sure to take enough club off the tee.
Last Word: Founders Club is a difficult but fair golf course. The waste bunkers and pine straw that have replaced the rough are a welcomed change; it’s easier to find your ball and hit out of a waste bunker than some gnarly rough. In fact, every hole has a sand challenge of some sort. There are only a couple of holes that require a forced carry, even for the ladies.
Founders Club appeals to just about any type of golfer, whether you like to grip-it-and-rip-it or play it conservatively. Hit the ball as far as you can every time or layup and lay back and play it more strategically. You can play it differently each time.
Some players feel that Founders Club plays tough. If you feel the same way after a few holes, consider playing one tee forward from where you normally play at another golf course. If all else fails, the PGA professionals at Founders Club are always happy to give you lessons and help improve your game. Start by hitting some balls into the net to get warmed up and then head out for some real-time on-course learning.
Whether you’re coming down in the spring as part of a larger group or renting a home in the area during the summer months and just want to get away for a few hours, Founders Club welcomes you as a guest. And, if it’s been raining for a few days – as it’s known to do during the summer – odds are that the course is open and playable; it’s one of the best draining courses in the area. If you play a variety of courses in the area, you’ll find that Founders Club is one of the more unique, challenging and fun courses in the area.
The Founders Club at Pawleys Island is a proud member of the Waccamaw Golf Trail.
Going from hole to hole on this course was like playing Where’s Waldo in a golf cart! The group in front of us completely missed #16! It is very poorly marked and having to cross roads 14+ times made it confusing to say the least. Golf wise, the greens were fast & good, and the staff was great. The rest? Not so hot. The fairways were 50-50 weeds to grass, and the women’s tee boxes were terrible.
Final Day in MB - played on way out of town
The last 4 of us who were left from our group who attended the Myrtle Beach World Amateur played Founders Club at Pawley's on our way out of town.
We had been scheduled to play Heritage but they had a delay and we could not make our flight if we waited that long to play. We called Founders Club up and they told us to come over and we could go right out.
The course was very wet but playable. Lots of rain just a couple hours previously. Founders does not have a lot of cart paths. You drive most of the holes either in the waste bunkers or on the fairway. They told us to just take it easy and we could ride on the fairways.
Greens were in excellent shape and the course overall was in good shape. Founders is not finely manicured, lots of weeds and such along the waste bunkers but the course has some slight elevation changes, is fun to play and is a good value.
These folks are super friendly and super nice.
South end strong
So there are so many spectacular course on the south end, that you could pick and choose any to play for the rest of your life, I had not even thought about playing this course until I ran out new ones to try down here. I was expecting a bad course, well being surprised is an understatement. I won't get carried away, this course is not as good as most on the south strand, which is unfortunate because this would succeed anywhere else. It is a fairly strong layout, elevation changes and waste bunkers define the course. It does have its flaws, no range, sub par conditioning (blame it on the budget to stay in business), and road crossings. Usually I don't care about road crossings, it separates the wholes from each other which helps in framing the individual holes. But on the front 9, it was a little ridiculous, not only crossing a busy road, but actually riding on it. Oh well, quite the experience. If you're looking to play a course you haven't played, then go down there and keep it running.
Lot's of Sand
Nice Layout. Lot's of waste bunkers but very playable. Several holes with elevation changes with is unusual for MB. Nice Touch. Not everybody's type of course but not overly difficult. Pace of play was excellent. #9 is a great par 5....
I was a little disappointed in this course. The layout was okay, but not spectacular. The condition for February was good, but not great. I felt this course was over priced. Cost is for a premium course but it is not. There are many other courses that cost less but offer more. I would play this course again but it would have to be a great deal.
Not as good a value for the money as other options
We enjoyed the course, but of the five courses we played this was #5 in value for the money. You can play much better courses for the same price, or comparable to better courses for less money
The course has narrow fairways lots of sand and water. Nice challenge.
I like the course because it's nice challenge. People I played with were very friendly. I would play this course again. Easy access from where I live.
Enjoyed the course
Staff very friendly, course in good shape especially the greens. I would play it again. Enjoyed the day!
Not as good as hyped!
I this course to be just ok. It was presented as a high quality/high end course with multiple accolades. First, there is no range for warm-up. There is only a net with a few rotten practice balls scattered about. The course itself was in decent, but not great, shape and had enough challenges to make it interesting. The staff was friendly, but not effusive. While we played "out-of-season", this course should charge 25-50% less for their fees.