True Blue Plantation Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.6

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Pawleys Island, SC

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True Blue Plantation Review

Wow, this may be the best course that we have played - visually stunning, very challenging, unique and different, lots of variety, great service, and a blast to play - a course we won't forget and can't wait to play again.   Unfortunately, our words and pictures won't be able to come close to describing this magnificent course. 

With a rating of 74.3 and a slope of 145, True Blue Plantation is not a course for the timid and it will test your nerves, shot making ability, risking taking, putting, and course management skills.  If you don't feel like you're up for the challenge, then try one of the muni courses or one of the 50 Myrtle Beach miniature golf courses.  

True Blue was designed in 1998 by Mike Stranz to take advantage of the rolling terrain and native vegetation of a once thriving indigo and rice plantation.  Shortly after designing both True Blue and its sister course, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, Mike was named by Golf World as its “Architect of the Year” and since it's opening True Blue has received countless awards including being named:

  • One of “America’s Greatest 100 Public Golf Courses” by Golf Digest
  • South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel’s list of “50 Best Courses”
  • Golf Magazine’s “Top Ten Places To Play” and “Top 25 Courses in the South”
  • “Top 100 Courses in America” from Golfweek

The first 4 holes are unbelievable and I swear we must have said "Wow" 20 times!  When you step up to the  first tee box (make sure you pick one of the five tee boxes that is right for your handicap and you might consider moving up a tee box!) you're in for a visual treat as well as an amazing hole that sets the stage for what you'll face on the next 17 holes.  It's a 624 yard dog leg left with a forced carry off the box to a landing zone lined by natural sand areas that run most of the length of the fairway and a narrow green surrounded by a brook in front, trees, and huge sand bunkers all around it.  And the next three holes are a blast to play and very unique with lots of sand, an island green, a dog leg around a lake with several risk reward shots, and more.  Once you get to #5 you can relax a little and look back and say "that was fun!"

And it only gets better from then on - forced carries over sand and marshes, huge and long natural sand waste areas, rolling and contoured fairways, plenty of risk reward opportunities, challenging approach shots to protected odd shaped greens some of which are elevated, water, and steep and deep bunkers of all shapes and sizes.  And unmatched beauty!  Do not let any of this discourage you from playing True Blue - you'll love it, it's truly treacherous but enjoyable and very memorable. 

The Bermuda greens are all shapes and sizes and very well protected.  You'll find bowl shaped greens, severe slope, undulation and ridges, and more.  The greens were in excellent condition when we played and about average speed.  Approach shots can be very challenging thanks to water, bunkers, waste areas, slope, and elevation - miss hits will end up in the sloping swales and collection areas off the raised greens making par a tad challenging. 

The fairways ranged from wide and forgiving to tight and tough.  Most are lined with natural sand areas that run from tee box to green.  The front nine is very isolated and plays through the trees while the back has some fairways with condos set back behind the trees and waste areas.  The fairways were in near perfect condition and the course is very well manicured and maintained.  Except for the par 3's you won't see the pin from the tee box until you get to 13!  The concrete cart paths are partial and most of the time you're driving on the fairway or through the sand waste bunkers.

Bottom line -  a fun and memorable golf course where every hole is truly unique and different and will test your accuracy off the tee box as well as your shot making skills - bring your "A" game to score well on True Blue Plantation. 

And everyone that we talked to about courses to play recommended Caledonia, which was closed for annual aerification and maintenance during our trip, so add it to your list of must plays.  

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,126 74.3 145
Blue 6,375 70.1 127
White 5,735 66.9 115
Gold 6,812 72.8 141
Red 4,995 69.3 125

Course Information

Course Architect:
Mike Strantz
Greens Type:
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Beware of water on 7 holes and the 98 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.6 out of 10
Fun to Play:
Front Nine Rating:
Back Nine Rating:


Approximate Weekend
$99.00 to $159.00

The Club House is spectacular, the 18 acre practice facility is where you need to spend time before your round, and the fully stocked pro shop has everything you need. Service is very good. True Blue is also home to the <a href="" target="_blank">Steve Dresser Golf Academy</a>, which is a GOLF Magazine Top 25 golf school.



Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating

The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this:  links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course.  In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40.  We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking.