True Blue Plantation in Pawleys Island, S.C., grows into a headliner along Myrtle Beach's Grand Strand

PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. -- A renovation within the first two years of a course opening is usually an ominous sign, but not at True Blue Plantation, one of the best courses along The Grand Strand.

When True Blue first opened in 1998, the golf course had a hard time living up to the reputation of its gorgeous older sister just down the street, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club.

Comparisons between the two Mike Strantz courses were inevitable, and the brawny, 7,126-yard True Blue was deemed too penal by many players.

Begrudgingly, Strantz returned in 2000 to tweak nine holes, while the greens were converted to Tif Eagle Bermuda.

Changes bolster True Blue Plantation's ranking

Buoyed by its cosmetic changes, True Blue now ranks third on Golf Digest's list of the 60 best courses in the Myrtle Beach region, just behind No. 1 Caledonia and the No. 2 Dunes Golf and Beach Club. True Blue plays bigger, badder and bolder than Caledonia, a more scenic and intimate design on a much smaller parcel of land. Strantz used all 325 acres of the former rice and indigo plantation to accommodate True Blue's massive fairways and gigantic greens.

"There are a lot of reasons why people love True Blue," said Bob Seganti, the director of golf at True Blue Plantation. "The width of the fairways is tremendous. Most people hit it side to side and move on. The conditioning is always good year-round. Here, you get a wow factor when you get to most tees. What is unique is you get elevation you don't see in the area. Strantz was a master at visual deception."

Signature par 5s at True Blue Plantation

Five par 5s are True Blue's signature. The course attacks from the moment a player steps on the first tee, a par 5 that ranks as the No. 1 handicap. Like a lot of holes here, it's easy to get into position to score, yet hard to seal the deal. A creek and deep waste bunker ring the elevated first green.

The par-5 fourth boomerangs around a water hazard and a waste bunker so deep it requires ladders to get in and out. Not even Shaquille O'Neal can see out of the flash-faced bunker guarding the right side of the green of the par-5 ninth. The par-5 10th might be the best of the bunch. It doglegs right playing over the waste bunker that leaks into the heart of the fairway, finishing at a tilted green.

Strantz uses water for dramatic theater coming home on the par-3 16th and the long par 4s at No. 17 and No. 18. The finishing hole plays in the shadow of the clubhouse with its signature blue roof.

Blue might be the universal theme throughout the day at True Blue, but playing this dynamic design never leaves players feeling that way.

True Blue Plantation: The verdict

Caledonia might be ranked higher, but I actually had more fun playing True Blue. For such a huge ballpark, it still demands precision and proper angles of attack. There are plenty of risk-reward shots to keep the day interesting. The first four holes might be the best starting stretch in the Southeast.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
Related Links
True Blue Plantation opened in 1998 adjacent to the Caledonia Golf & Fish Club on the southern end of the Grand Strand in Pawleys Island, S.C. True Blue, a Mike Strantz design, has been rated among the top modern designs by Golfweek.
11 Images
The Grand Strand's 100-plus golf courses are open for business 12 months a year and offer value plays and nationally acclaimed designs, but those aren't the only reasons to plan your next vacation in Myrtle Beach. What else? offers 10 reasons why your group should consider Myrtle Beach for its next trip.
3 Min Read
More from the author
9 Min Read
May 12, 2022
Sensei Lanai, a Four Seasons Resort, can help golfers get in better shape - physically, mentally and emotionally - on and off the course.
3 Min Read
May 9, 2022
We round up the golf books titles worth your leisure time.
6 Min Read
May 5, 2022
Despite a limited Greek golf culture, this 72-hole golf resort offers everything a golfer could want.
4 Min Read
May 3, 2022
At the moment, mask and testing mandates are in a state of flux. Many international destinations are relaxing rules to encourage overseas travel. We recently took advantage to visit Greece for the first time.
4 Min Read
May 2, 2022
Playing Del Monte at Pebble Beach Resorts on its 125th birthday reminded us that historical, classical golf is the best golf.
2 Min Read
May 2, 2022
I'm participating in a Youth on Course 100 Hole Hike this summer. Why aren't you?
18 Images
April 28, 2022
This month's stunning sunset photos might inspire you to play more golf at twilight.
25 Images
May 16, 2022
A 2022 recipient of a PGA of America lifetime achievement award, Cannon has photographed great courses and events for decades.
2 Min Read
April 28, 2022
Famous, historic and exclusive clubs are all offering rounds to help with turf research in 2022.
6 Min Read
May 9, 2022
Here's how to play - and stay - where the pros play.
Load More
Now Reading
True Blue Plantation in Pawleys Island, S.C., grows into a headliner along Myrtle Beach's Grand Strand