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A pro’s favorite female-friendly courses in Myrtle Beach

November 29, 2023
true-blue-south-carolina

Stephen Szurlej

If you want to take a trip somewhere that allows you to split time between the golf course and the beach, and has great places to eat and shop, head to Myrtle Beach. Epson Tour player Carley Cox grew up in North Carolina, but spent summer vacations at her grandpa’s house in South Carolina. She’s played a lot of golf in and around Myrtle Beach. She says it’s the perfect place for a women’s golf trip. She spent her many years going to Pawley’s Island, about forty minutes from Myrtle Beach.

“Pawley’s Island is where I played golf for the first time. So, I think in general, that area holds a special place in my heart,” Cox says.

Caledonia Golf and Fish Club

Caledonia Golf & Fish Club
Public
Caledonia Golf & Fish Club
Pawleys Island, SC
4.1
115 Panelists
Caledonia was Strantz’s first solo design in 1994, and his creativity shines on this golf-only, oak-dotted, sand-dune parcel abutting the marshes and rice paddies of Pawley’s Island. The design is ordered and composed, twisting low through the heavy tree canopy while setting up classic hole strategies into angled greens. There are touches of Pete Dye and just enough quirk to suggest something more intense and experimental brewing under the surface. Subdued and rhythmic, Caledonia is currently ranked 85th on Golf Digest's latest 100 Greatest Public ranking (it’s been as high as 66th). Two musts: The chowder at the turn, and a drink on the porch behind the 18th hole.
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Caledonia Golf and Fish Club is her favorite spot to tee it up.

“It is just gorgeous from the drive in. They've got these beautiful willow trees, with the moss hanging from them. It's beautiful and they've got an awesome clubhouse. Everything is just first class there. It's a challenging golf course, but you just feel like you're on this little slice of heaven,” Cox said. “It’s also not super long, which is nice.”

True Blue Golf Club

True Blue Golf Club
Public
True Blue Golf Club
Pawleys Island, SC
4.1
92 Panelists
Strantz returned to Pawley’s Island just a few years after Caledonia opened, nearly to the exact same place, in fact. True Blue is Caledonia’s sister course, located on an inland property that sits just across the street, though sequestered from any marsh views. But what it lacks in scenery it makes up for in volume. Everything at True Blue is bigger and more heroic. Greens erupt out of sand barrens, fairways are 60 to 90 yards wide and holes take on the form of ambling caterpillars. The abrupt, hi-contrast shaping, made possible by the sandy terrain, is a not so subtle nod in the direction of Pine Valley.
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Cox also recommends True Blue Golf Club. It’s Caledonia’s sister course, built by the same designer. Its wide fairways make for a friendly round off the tee.

Pawley’s Plantation

Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club
Public
Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club
Pawleys Island, SC
4.1
31 Panelists
This Jack Nicklaus design would contend not only for the best in Myrtle Beach but the best public courses in South Carolina. Pawleys Plantation lies among the natural saltwater marshes and boasts some strong par 3s. According to Nicklaus, each hole has a distinct intended strategy shaped by hazards, trees, bunkers, and even a double green shared by two holes.
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“Pawley’s Plantation is another nice public course, not too far up the road from Caledonia,” Cox says. “You can also have a really good view of the inlet and those houses that accompany the beach as well.”

“If you're down more towards the Pawley’s Island area, it's way less commercialized than Myrtle Beach itself. When we went there as a family, it was all about golf and the beach, just kind of chilling,” Cox said. Her family would stay with her grandpa when they took trips there, and she says there aren’t a lot of places to stay. She recommends checking out the Pelican Inn if you like bed and breakfasts. Otherwise, check Airbnb for a house to rent.

When you’re going out to eat, Franks, Rustic Table and Eggs Up Grill are Cox’s go-to spots.

If you want to stay somewhere with more going on, Myrtle Beach has a lot to offer. Cox reccommends staying at the Marriott Myrtle Beach Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes, for the convenience of being right on the water. When it comes to dining out, Buoys on Blvd and Clark’s Seafood and Chophouse are her two favorite spots.

Tidewater

Tidewater Golf Club
Public
Tidewater Golf Club
North Myrtle Beach, SC
3.6
61 Panelists
When Ken Tomlinson set out to build this Grand Strand course, he looked to world famous designs, such as Merion and Pine Valley. The architect wanted to ensure that his venue would harmonize seamlessly with its natural surroundings. Tidewater does just that: sitting atop a peninsula, the golf course is nestled between the tidal marsh and forest lands in North Myrtle Beach.
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"At Tidewater, you’re literally on the inlet and you can see a ton of houses that are right there on the beach. It's very beautiful in the sense of you literally feel like you're right there by the ocean because you almost are, although you don't have a direct view of it,” Cox says. “It's very fun to play.”

TPC Myrtle Beach

TPC Myrtle Beach
Public
TPC Myrtle Beach
Murrells Inlet, SC
3.9
65 Panelists
Once the host of the Senior PGA Tour Championship and now home to Dustin Johnson’s annual World Junior Golf Championship, TPC Myrtle Beach is designed to challenge even the pros. Numerous water hazards, strategically placed trees, and forced carries make this track a tough, but enjoyable test.
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Cox says TPC is worth the visit, too. You’ll play through marshland for a beautiful, challenging round.