True Blue Plantation Overivew
My South Carolina Experience
By Paul Seifert
If you have watched the Golf Channel in the past year, you have inevitably seen a Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday commercial where Dustin Johnson is standing over the ball and a virtual sea of blue water, leading to a green perched well above the water with sand all around. "This year I will play some of the country's finest golf courses, eat food from the finest chefs... And when I leave Myrtle Beach..." Sound familiar? If you were intrigued by this beautiful golf hole and wondering where it can be found, it is the third hole at True Blue.
While the third is breathtaking, it is only one of many at a course that rolls out one signature hole after another. True Blue is one of the most picturesque, challenging courses I have ever played. Its essence is so impressive that it is hard to put in words. Every hole has a "big" feeling - big sand traps and fairway bunkers, big water features, and huge greens.
I had the pleasure of playing this otherworldly golf track this past March, during our inaugural yearly golf trip to South Carolina. We stayed in a two-bedroom condo off the seventeenth hole at True Blue, which is in the heart of Pawley's Island. While the condo left much to be desired, the course did not!
From the very first hole - the number one handicapped hole on the course - True Blue is a tremendous challenge of golf skill. With sand running down the entire left side, the right is lined by trees and more sand-filled wasteland. A creek runs in front of the green, which is elevated and surrounded entirely by more sand.
The wastelands at True Blue are drivable by cart, leaving sand that is compacted to the point that it plays more like dirt and is very difficult to hit out of. We do not have anything like this here in Wisconsin.
With five par threes and five par fives, the course plays much longer than the scorecard shows - 7,126 yards from the black tees, 6,812 from the blues, 6,375 from the whites, 5,736 from the golds, and 4,995 from the ladies tees. The par fives are manageable in distance, though, with two under 500 yards from the white tees and the longest at 577. There are so many hazards along the way, though, that course management and smart shot-making is at a premium.
Make sure to leave the first green to the left side to make a shorter trip to the second hole tee boxes. Both of the times I played it, we walked to the right and added several hundred feet to our trek.
The second hole might as well be a beach. Use a long iron to find the fairway to give yourself a chance to hit this sliver of a green, located amongst trees and deep bunkers. Anything off the fairway will leave hell to pay, including a huge tree to the right that will block your approach almost entirely.
The third is one of the most beautiful par threes I have ever played. Featured in the Dustin Johnson commercial mentioned earlier, the green is massive, but there is a huge carry that will allow some doubt to enter the mind. I hit the front-left side and rolled in to the sand that leads to the pond. I luckily stayed out of the hazard, but faced a long uphill out. A similar bunker surrounds the entire green, so holding the putting surface is crucial.
The fourth is one of the most challenging par fives I have found anywhere. With a tight fairway that does a semi-circle around the pond, the most important shot here is the second. It is well over 200 yards to carry the middle of the pond from the fairway, so you'll need to find a target area that will afford you a more comfortable distance to your next fairway position. The right side of the approach area filters on, while left of the green leads back to the pond. I would love to have one of the condos on this hole to get a birds-eye view of how other players tackle the challenge.
The fifth is playable, if you can find the heart of the fairway. The large green is reachable, and this hole is almost a breath of fresh air in the heart of an otherwise unbelievably difficult stretch of holes.
The sixth is an interesting hole that features a carry of 180 yards over wasteland, and two greens. We played the green to the right, which I was thankful for as it allowed me to play my natural fade.
The seventh is the second par three on the front nine, and plays over a 150 yard long sand trap front and right. The green is huge, but has a massive break half-way through it that separates the left and right sides by a considerable height.
The distinguishing feature on the eighth hole is the green complex. Well elevated, the false front on the right side needs to be considered. Both times I played this hole the pin was front-right, and both times I hit the front only to watch the ball roll ten yards back down the hill.
The tee shot on nine plays strongly from left to right, playing nicely for a fade. Get as far right on the fairway as you can for any chance to fly the greenside bunkers.
Ten is another big par five. At 559 yards from the white tees, the right side of the fairway is split by an alley of sand a little over 300 yards out. The tees are elevated, and the landing surface is charitably wide. Missing it will result in a long shot off the beach, which covers the right side of the fairway. Deep grasses and a large sand trap that front the green should add an extra club for the approach.
If you thought there was a lot of sand on ten, wait until you see eleven. The entire hole layout, minus the green and a small amount of fairway short and left, is a tumultuous sandy wasteland that runs from the tees to the back of the green. The green is narrow. Although a manageable 130 yards from the white tees, this manages to be one of the toughest par threes on the course.
Twelve has something fairly rare for True Blue: Rough. With trees left of the teeing area, a straight tee shot or draw is almost necessary - my fade caught the trees and left me in more sand. The fairway plays right to an elevated green that is protected by several deep bunkers.
High birms shroud a deep aisle of sand that runs the left side of the fairway area on thirteen. The right side is heavily forested, so the only safe place to drive is dead nuts down the middle. The heart of the landing area is wide, and a semi-circle sand trap runs from the left side to the right, encircling half of the green.
Fourteen is another wonderful par three, with one of the longest, narrowest greens I've found. The left side of the green is at least five feet above the right side, and at least 100 feet away laterally. We each brought one ball up to this plateau for a putt-off of cataclysmic proportions - no one was able to keep the ball within ten feet. While the green is incredibly long from left to right, it is very shallow from front to back.
The fifteenth has one of the most generous fairways on the golf course, along with tons of sand. At 577 yards from the white tees, this is a typical feeling par five for True Blue. Bite off as much distance as possible on the tee and setup shots, because the green is far from easy. Well raised, the green features a slight false front and trees beyond.
What can I say about sixteen? Spectacular on any other course, this is merely a typical par three at True Blue: Tons of water, tons of sand and a huge green that slopes all over the place. I love the way the sand on these par threes runs to the water. Keep an eye out for gators if you find yourself in them. Sixteen is the longest of the par threes at True Blue, at 181 yards from the white tees.
Seventeen is my favorite par four at True Blue. A huge pond resides on the right side of the fairway, and runs all the way to the green. The driving area is wide, but the approach area is anything but. Take an extra club to keep dry.
I always love a finishing hole that plays to the clubhouse, and True Blue has a fantastic one. As is the case on seventeen, the fairway is certainly hittable, and will determine how difficult the approach will be. The sand trap on the back side of the green is deep and plays out to the pond that fronts the green, making it an unenviable location to hit from. The green stretches to the edge of the water in front, and it was a blast watching other players' approaches to this green while enjoying lunch after our round.
While I am nowhere near ready for this season to end, I am certainly looking forward to next March's annual golf trip to South Carolina. True Blue is already on the itinerary.
Revised: 07/18/2012 - Article Viewed 21,018 Times - View Golf Course Profile
About: Paul Seifert
Paul Seifert is an often-proclaimed golf addict, and publisher of WiscoSportsAddict, a blog started in August, 2011, as a forum dedicated to reviewing courses and sharing the best of the best in the state with other avid Wisconsin golfers.
Having started playing in Hartland-area leagues at the age of 12, Paul is a classic over-thinker who averages between 80 and 120 rounds per year, and despite carrying a 13-handicap, is committed to the ongoing improvement of his game.
A health care equipment salesman by day, Paul does not claim to be an expert golfer, but is certainly an expert golf enthusiast who loves the sport and enjoys the writing, research, statistics and photography that make for interesting golf conversation.
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