We played True Blue in Pawleys Island, SC on Saturday, June 1, 2013. Every time I visit this Mike Strantz design I enjoy it more and more and our 36 hole adventure lived up to the advanced billing. We found the course in impeccable condition from tee to green, as it has always been. True Blue is known for it’s huge expansive fairways and natural waste bunkers that do double duty as cart paths. I always seem to drive the ball well here and believe it’s because the wide fairways tend to relax me, and the holes have abundant targets that fit my eye quite well. We were playing the blue tees at 6,812 yards and the course played long and tough with a moderate wind blowing and showed most of its teeth on the par five holes. #1 is a monster at 600 yards and was playing into the wind. I’m not used to hitting driver, 3WD, 3WD on most par fives but did in round #1. The greens were rolling smooth and medium fast and were a delight to putt on after playing on some slower surfaces earlier in the week.
- #2 is a short par-4 at 342 yards and you must play your drive as far left as possible. The approach to the green is guarded by a canopy of trees that seemed to catch most of the approaches we hit from all but the proper angle.
- #4 is a horseshoe par-5 that hooks around a large lake. You may be tempted to get as close to the water on your tee shot and go for the full 200+ yard carry, but don’t. I tried and rinsed two in my morning round. The conservative play over land will give you a good shot at par.
- #8 is a medium length par-4 at 363 yards. Hit 3WD over the bunker on the right side of this blind tee shot for a good look at the green with a short iron or wedge.
- #17 is a very long par-4 and at 426 yards was playing into a stiff wind. Both times I crushed a driver and needed a full three-iron over water to get home and barely made it. If your drive is a little bit off, play it like a short par-5.
- #18 is a dogleg left and requires a tee shot over water, and depending on where they put the flag, the second shot as well. The best play here is to aim just right of the green and short as the approach is a good area to chip from and takes the water and a big number out of play.
Value (3.75 out of 5.0)
True Blue was the premium play on our golf package. Morning times are $94 and afternoon $74 in this time slot. The replay cost of $60 was well worth the price. Range balls were complimentary. The grill provided a large menu of food options with good sized portions at reasonable prices. For $15 I had a Cajun Chicken Club, coleslaw, iced tea, and tip.
Facilities (4.50 out of 5.0)
The course has some of the best facilities starting with the conditioning and routing which were top notch. Everyone in my group loved the layout because it’s simply one of the best in Myrtle Beach. The driving range is all grass and was in excellent condition, as was the short game practice area and putting green, and they are adjacent to the cart staging area which made set up and go very easy. The pro shop is of ample size and the grill is a nice area to enjoy food and drink after play. The clubhouse has an excellent outside deck suitable for watching golfers plunk their approaches into the pond guarding #18. The only peculiarity we noticed was that our starter told us to treat all bunkers (even those green-side and with rakes) as waste areas. Normally, if it has a rake, you treat it as a hazard. As a result, there were some unraked footprints in the green-side bunkers but it was pretty inconsequential.
Customer Experience (3.75 out of 5.0)
The bag drop attendants were very organized, punctual, and friendly. It’s always great to have your first interaction be a positive one. The staff in the pro shop indicated it would not be a problem to replay, but didn’t allow us to reserve a time until after we finished our morning round. The thought was that they wanted to reserve the high priced tee times for full paying customers. It worried us a bit because their sister course (Caledonia) was closed for a tournament and the thought of not having a time on a Saturday afternoon was a possibility. Nevertheless, they got us out after lunch and we were not rushed, as there were no groups before or after us. We asked to play as a fivesome but were told to go off as as a twosome and threesome. We joined up and played the round as five and broke apart as we played holes that neared the clubhouse. I’m sure this behavior was frowned upon, but we would have ceased if we were holding anyone up.
On this day we played from the blue tees for both rounds and I carded an 81 on both tries. True Blue is an awesome play and is in my top five, if not right at the top of all courses at Myrtle Beach. Don’t miss it on your next trip.