Golfweek magazine’s latest rankings of the best public golf courses by state is out, and the Myrtle Beach area owns 12 of the top 20 golf courses in South Carolina. Although the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, which ranks near the top nationally, also tops the SC list, the Dunes Beach & Golf Club, Caledonia and True Blue golf clubs hold down the numbers 3 through 5 positions. (#2 is Sea Pines on Hilton Head Island).

The Dunes is arguably not a public golf course since just a handful of Myrtle Beach resorts have access for their guests on the otherwise private golf course. Caledonia and True Blue, sister courses across the road from each other in Pawleys Island, are fully public and also offer an annual membership that is more than reasonably priced. Play enough golf and your green fees, cart included, will not exceed $30, a huge discount over the rack rate that is as high as $200 in peak seasons (spring and fall). Other top 20 South Carolina golf courses located on the 60-mile Grand Strand of Myrtle Beach are Tidewater (#7), Moorland Course at Legends Resort (9), TPC Myrtle Beach (10), King’s North (11), Heritage Club (13), Dye Course at Barefoot Resort (14), Grande Dunes (15), Heathland Course at Legends Resort (16) and Fazio Course at Barefoot Resort (#18).

All these golf courses are located either within, adjacent or close to residential communities. Combining a vacation home and pay as you go golf makes financial sense – no initiation fees, no club dues, no “obligation” to play a few times a week to get a return on your investment. Below are links to current listings of properties for sale in the Pawleys Island area that are close to a few of these outstanding public golf courses.

TrueBlue par three with waterTrue Blue's layout is loaded with sand. On the par three third hole, that challenge is compounded with water.

True Blue Golf Club  The course will gobsmack you the first time you play it. Imagine strips of grass laid down on a prairie of sand, and that is Mike Strantz’ design at True Blue. It may be the first course where you encouraged – in a few cases compelled – to drive your golf cart through huge waste bunkers. A thrillingly bizarre and wonderful first experience. Most of the real estate adjacent to True Blue is of the townhouse variety and, therefore, perfect as vacation homes that can be rented out when not in use by the owner.

Heritage fairway from under treesThe golf course in the community known as Heritage in Pawleys Island combines the seductive elements of sand, water and centuries old live oak trees.

Heritage  Not one of the best-known golf communities or golf clubs in the Myrtle Beach area but locals love the golf course, which is festooned by huge three century old live oak trees and marshland that give Heritage a kind of Low Country seductive quality. Designed by Dan Maples, the course features huge greens and green complexes spread out over land once occupied by two plantations and 600 acres. The amenity-rich community is anchored by its own marina and, in addition to boating, a fitness center, tennis and pickleball courts, community pool and owner’s clubhouse.

TPC Myrtle Beach green w bunkersTom Fazio loves bunkering and I do too when there is a clear path between them at TPC Myrtle Beach.

TPC Myrtle Beach  The sprawling community of Prince Creek sits beside and surrounds part of the Tournament Players Club (TPC) of Myrtle Beach, part of the famous TPC network of golf clubs. Prince Creek should be high on the list of those looking for either a vacation home adjacent to outstanding golf, or a permanent home in the laid back Grand Strand in coastal South Carolina.

PawleysPlantation13Members at the semi-private Pawleys Plantation Golf Club call the par 3 13th hole "the shortest par 5 in Myrtle Beach."

Pawleys Plantation  Although it did not make the top 20 list in Golfweek, Pawleys Plantation will the next time around. A $2 million renovation to restore the course to its 1988 layout when Jack Nicklaus first designed it, as well as to make it more playable by removing some of the huge fairway bunkers that are tough to maintain and slowdown play, will be/was completed in October 2023. A course that was good enough to rank in the top 13 courses on the Grand Strand will be even better. Pawleys Plantation comprises the full spectrum of golf properties, including single-family, townhouse condos and a few choice lots with golf course views. Prices for lots run from around $100,000 for patio homesites to $1 million and more for large, multi-leveled single-family homes with marsh views. Townhomes are priced generally from the high $200s.

From time to time, I intend to post in this space select listings of homes for sale in some of the highest-quality communities in the most popular areas of the Southeast Region. We start with Pawleys Plantation, a golf community I know better than any others; my wife Connie and I have owned a condo there since 2000. In late September, the challenging and beautiful Pawleys Plantation Jack Nicklaus golf course will reopen after undergoing a $2 million renovation, the first major redo in the layout’s 35 years. Slated for work are the greens, which will be restored to their original sizes and glory; fairway bunkers, many of which were so large that Nicklaus suggested a couple of years ago that parts of them be grassed over (they will be); and greenside bunkers that, over the years, had pulled away from the greens and will soon return to where they belong.

The inventory of homes and properties for sale in Pawleys Plantation have been historically skinny since the pandemic drove people from cities to relocate to quiet areas like Pawleys Island, SC. The pandemic also caused those who live in quality golf communities like Pawleys Plantation to stay put longer than they may have anticipated doing before Covid. After all, how many communities offer a beautiful Atlantic beach just six minutes away; five supermarkets within four miles of its front gate; reasonably priced membership in its semi-private Nicklaus golf course; a multitude of fine restaurants within 15 minutes; an international airport (flights from Canada make it so) 35 minutes away with non-stop service to New York, Hartford, CT, and many other cities in the north; and one of the most historic and interesting cities on the east coast, Charleston, which also boasts the finest restaurants this side of New Orleans and San Francisco?

Did I mention that some choice properties are currently available in Pawleys Plantation, all represented by one of the area’s top golf community experts, a golfer herself, Denise Talbert. Denise is a resident of Pawleys Plantation and can answer any question you have about the golf community, and some you may not have thought to ask but should have. The Pawleys Plantation listings below are two of those listed for sale at (links to the listings provided).

270 Porch270 Backview270 Widgeon

Above, Pawleys Plantation, Widgeon Drive, Pawleys Island, SC.  Click here for full listing.

Below, Navigators Drive, click here for full listing.

Navigator denNavigator frontNavigator Master