Elliot's Excellent Golf Vacation, part two

Heathland Course at The Legends Resort (all photos by Elliot deBear)    


    Yesterday, reader Elliot deBear shared his thoughts (and photos) of his recent visit to Myrtle Beach and his reviews of the golf courses at Heritage and Caledonia.  Here is the second part of his story, including his thoughts about True Blue, TPC of Myrtle Beach and the Heathland course at The Legends Resort.

    True Blue, another Mike Strantz stunner, was brutal this day in the wind.  It is more open than Caledonia, so the wind takes a greater toll on your game.  A lot of rough sandy areas and huge waste bunkers throughout.  The greens were hard an d fast, almost impossible to hold, even with high lofted shots. Don't be afraid to bump and run here.  This is a risk/reward track all the way.  Deceptive views of greens and strategic placement of bunkers are a great combination of good versus evil.  The routing of the holes are terrific because you feel you are playing very different types of holes one after the other.  Great finishing hole and one that lets you walk off happy or miserable...either way a reason to head straight for the bar. You are exhausted after playing this beauty.
    As in previous year's reports, looking up to course designer's heaven, I raise a glass and say, "Thank you, Mike Strantz, with all my heart for the vision you were able to share with us in these two fabulous courses".
     Dinner that night was special.  We hit Frank's on Highway 17 (in Pawleys Island). This is the absolutely the best restaurant in all Myrtle.  In fact, Frank's would do well anywhere, including NY, if it were there.  The food is just excellent and complimented by a terrific wine list that is priced right.  Service matched the cuisine.  Never visit Pawleys without scheduling a dinner at Frank's.
    Woke up to a beautiful low country morning and headed to TPC in Murrell'struebluebyelliot2.jpg Inlet.  This is a course we always play when in Myrtle Beach.  If it's not on your list, it should be. The track, designed by Tom Fazio with collaboration from Lanny Wadkins, is one of his more mellow projects but also one of his more dramatic-looking ones, with holes fashioned within borders of beautiful tall red pines, old oaks and different varieties of tall grasses and fescue.  Many lakes with beautiful reflections too.  In fact, there is water on 10 of the 18 holes. Another plus is that there are very few homes adjacent to the course, and those that are, are very attractive.
    TPC is about using your head and not your ego, especially on the par 5's where laying up on the second instead of trying to blast one is the smarter move.  Some of the best scenery of any course we have played over the years.  Excellent par 3s throughout. The par 5, 18th is terrific, with the lake looming out there on the left and a meandering stream floating up the right to a stand of deep, naturally shaped bunkers.  The green is framed by the clubhouse in the background.  The day before, there was a big college tournament won by Wake Forest for the second year in a row.
     After the round we moved to the clubhouse veranda for lunch. They recommended the chicken salad with crushed pecans.  The best I ever tasted.
    We were going to play our afternoon round at Pawleys Plantation, but TPC was so well conditioned, so beautiful and so empty that we decided on the replay and did it again.  The course did not disappoint the second time around.  As with Caledonia, bring a camera.   All in all a great day.  On the way out, Chip Smith, the owner and president of TPC, came over to introduce himself and ask how we liked the course and its condition.  Very nice guy who obviously takes great pride in the course, cares about customer service and, like a good family owned Italian restaurant, believes in having the owner in the kitchen and on the premise.
    Dinner at some joint on 17 called Salt Creek.  Again surprised by how goodheathlandmoundsbyelliot.jpg the food was.  Place was pretty empty, but served up some terrific low country comfort food.  Worked out just fine and would actually go back.
On our last day before hitting the airport and heading for home, we decided on something different to finish up.  As we had played parkland and plantation courses all week, we chose the Legends Heathland course as our closer. 

    I really like this Tom Doak designed course.  It's unique from the other layouts in the area because of its links layout, throws you a really different challenge and requires a different game head to play it.  The winds hit big again making club selection and flight placements a challenge.  What I like most about Heathland are the colors and vistas.  It's very different without the trees and marshes you experience at the other courses.  Here deep bunkers are strategically placed with large difficult to hit greens, many having multiple tiers with a lot of slope.  From the gold tees, the course played 6785 with a 72.3 rating and 127 slope, although the slope felt larger than that.  Very cool to look over the course from certain vantage points on the back nine and see the large castle-like clubhouse in the distance.  Glad we played it
    Fun trip with good weather and great company.  Can't wait to do it again next year.
    Editor's note:  Thanks, Elliot.

TPC at Myrtle Beach


I have more than 30 years of knowledge in the Myrtle Beach area and great contacts there.  Please contact me if you are interested in learning more about the local golf courses and communities.