Along the Grand Strand’s Waccamaw Golf Trail, sits Caledonia Golf Course. Caledonia of the beautiful Pawley’s Island, South Carolina, is one of the most enjoyed and recognized as the best golf courses in all of Myrtle Beach. That is quite an accomplishment when you consider that there are well over 100 courses throughout the region. This upscale golf course has received numerous awards since its opening in 1994. It was immediately added to Golf Digest’s list of “Best New Public Courses in America” in 1995 with an impressive 5th place ranking. Though many new courses settle in and get slack with upholding their standards over the years, Caledonia Golf Course has not fallen in that trap. It has continued to carry on a supreme reputation through the years.
Their acclaimed status has been encouraged by honors such as Golfweek’s “America’s 100 Best Modern Courses.” and being ranked 26th in Golf Magazine’s “Top 100 You Can Play.” Golf Digest bestowed Caledonia Golf Club with it’s 4 1/2 star rating from 1996-2005 and named them in their lists of “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” and “Top 31 Best Upscale Courses in America.” GolfLink.com included Caledonia as #15 in their “Top 100 Courses.” Golf World readers most recently ranked them as the 20th “Best Public Course in the Nation” for 2010. And the list goes on. As you can clearly see, Caledonia Golf Course has been highly recognized by experts and seasoned golfers throughout the nation.
Caledonia Golf Course was an early design by the famed golf course designer, Mike Strantz. Mike is remembered as one of the most unique and daring golf course designers in history. He designed many extremely exciting and gorgeous courses before his untimely death from lung cancer in 2005 at the young age of 50. Strantz was named as one of the top ten golf course architects of all time by Golfweek in 2000 and Golf World’s architect of the year in 1998. Caledonia’s sister course, True Blue, which also made our top ten list of Myrtle Beach golf courses, was designed by Mike Strantz as well.
Mike’s goal was to provide golfers with opportunities to feel exhilarated by each and every hole while playing his imaginative and dramatic courses. He also wanted them to force players to stretch their minds to great lengths while working their way through a challenging and well-landscaped golf park. Mike’s courses all reflect his vision while his first signature design course, Caledonia, is still one of the golf industry’s most notable courses that emphasizes the true spirit of the game. Strantz took this 120 acres of extraordinary land and very creatively utilized it to accomplish a feeling of being much larger than it is. The lack of any residential homes on the course make for an even more pleasing and secluded atmosphere.
Some revealing descriptive words that are commonly used to describe Caledonia are incredibly beautiful, challenging, great design, imaginative, memorable, unique, fun and relaxing. Driving up to the antebellum replica clubhouse, guests are invited into the old southern charm represented by the long drive lined with centuries old oak trees covered in hanging Spanish moss. These old oaks mark the path of the old King’s Highway that ran along the coast during the 1700s. Strantz maintained the original ambiance and nature that surrounds this historical southern rice plantation.
The Tifdwarf greens of Caledonia were replaced in 2005 with the newer and superior strain of Bermuda grass, Champion UltraDwarf. Golfers who have played on this new turf have been extremely pleased with its performance. Though this is not one of the most difficult courses you’ll find, it is still very challenging and deeply immersed in the natural beauty of the land. When designing the course, Strantz removed only one oak tree and altered the land flow only slightly by moving earth to create a great deal of undulation, providing a greater rise and fall for the course.
Golf fees at Caledonia Golf Course fall into the rather expensive category. During peak season, 18 holes can run around $200. Many golfers play it smart and search out a great golf package that provides an economical price that usually includes lodging, along with other options such as meals and multiple courses. Caledonia has Junior Rates that allows players 16 and under pay only $50 for their round of golf.
The service at Caledonia Golf Course is highly admired with a great focus on quality and a commitment to excellence. They seek to provide golfers with one of the best overall golfing experiences ever.
Caledonia was named by the plantation’s original Scottish immigrant owner, Dr. Robert Nesbit, after the Roman term for Scotland. He acquired the plantation when he married Elizabeth Pawley, whose family Pawley’s Island is named for. The Nesbit family maintained ownership of Caledonia until 1940. The current owners acquired the property in 1971 and used it as a hunting and fishing club. It is an extremely scenic course filled with much of its original landscape abundant in wildlife. As one of the largest plantations of its time in South Carolina, the owners wanted to preserve as much of the natural beauty as possible. True southern hospitality combined with warmth and beauty were the goals they had in mind when creating a true southern experience with low country charm. The wide open fairways of this par-72 course have sizable greens and several water hazards. It has a course rating of 70.9, a slope rating of 132 and provides 6,526 yards of memorable golf.
Some of the most unforgettable holes are located towards the back of the course. The beauty of the 13th hole can be initially deceiving as it is one of the most daunting. It cunningly hooks left around an enormous oak tree on its way to the smallest green of the course with a large bunker and pond on two sides. Hole #16 is impressive with a lengthy 398 yards and a par of 4. The 18th hole, also a par-4, is a bit shorter at 380 yards and is one is the most discussed holes of the entire course. After winding around an area of water, making your shot over the canal surrounded by marshes and made more beautiful by the indigenous blooming flowers and plants, it ends up in a small green that sits right at the beautiful clubhouse. Guests who are enjoying a meal or refreshing drink on the patio are known to anticipate golfers making their way to this final hole so they can cheer and jeer at their shots. The crowds gathered can be from a dozen to as many as a hundred. Being watched by peers can be quite unnerving when setting up your shot, but it makes for enticing drama that is all in fun.
The Caledonia Grill at the clubhouse is open to the public in addition to its golfers. It provides a spectacular view to accompany appetites of all sizes. The southern hospitality at the grill matches that extended to the rest of the establishment. Here you can enjoy that great service with pleasant meals of seafood, soups, salads, barbeque, burgers and sandwiches. They also have a full bar offering your choice of wine, beer and cocktails. Diners can choose to enjoy the dining room or to sit on the patio and watch friends tackle that famous 18th hole. Lunch is served from 11-3 daily and the Tavern is open from 10 am until dusk. Guests are asked to wear golf casual or resort type clothing as swim suits and tank tops are not allowed. Shoes must be worn as well.
Golf enthusiasts are invited to experience this world class course that is reminiscent of the 18th century. You’ll love the wonderful hospitality, impeccable greens and first class service of this upscale golf excursion. Caledonia Golf Course is one of the greats that began Myrtle Beach’s journey to becoming one of the greatest golf destinations in the country. This is one of those rare courses that brings a new and challenging experience to every single hole on the course. It leaves a lasting impression that will be remembered and talked about for years to come. If you can only fit one round of golf into your trip to the Grand Strand, this may just be the one to choose.
Pawleys Island, SC 29585
Reviewed January 17, 2010 / Stars
“Caledonia Golf Course near Myrtle Beach, SC is an upscale golf course that has won numerous awards and is among the best golf courses around Myrtle Beach as well as the entire nation. The incredible views, impeccable greens, layout, etc make this a must-play course if you plan on visiting Myrtle Beach, SC.”
If you’re looking for more Myrtle Beach golf courses, be sure to visit our list of the best Myrtle Beach golf courses. To see some great places to eat, visit our list of the best restaurants in Myrtle Beach, SC. Also, be sure to check out our list of the best hotels in Myrtle Beach, SC as well as our list of the best Myrtle Beach restaurant coupons and discounts.