Golf Travel News 19 November 2023
In golf travel news this week are items from Myrtle Beach, Oklahoma and North Carolina.
- Caledonia, True Blue Unveil Myrtle Beach’s Hottest Winter Golf Package
- Oklahoma’s Shangri-La Resort Elevates its Golf Offerings and Resort Experience
- Myrtle Beach Classic Reveals Official Logo Reflecting Joy of Playing Golf Along the Grand Strand
- North Carolina’s Woodlake Country Club Expands Partnership with Bobby Jones Links
- Newly Rebranded Hammock Coast Golf Trail Provides Access to Unforgettable Courses in One of South Carolina’s Most Popular Destinations
Caledonia, True Blue Unveil Myrtle Beach’s Hottest Winter Golf Package
Pawleys Island, S.C. – Caledonia Golf & Fish Club and True Blue Golf Club, two of golf-rich South Carolina’s top 5 public courses, have unveiled a winter golf package that will warm the clubs of golfers from coast to coast.
The “Winter Getaway” can be booked as a 3- or 4-night package, allowing golfers to play True Blue and Caledonia in the combination of their choosing while enjoying golf villa accommodations in Pawleys Island. The villas offer the option of 2-, 3- and 4-bedroom units, catering to groups of any size.
Highlighting the strength of the Winter Getaway, No. 4 Caledonia and No. 5 True Blue trail only once (Kiawah’s Ocean Course), current (Harbour Town) and future (Dunes Club) PGA Tour courses on Golfweek’s list of the Palmetto State’s best public layouts.
Caledonia and True Blue attract traveling golfers throughout the year, thanks to a subtropical climate and average high temperatures of 63 degrees in December and 60 degrees in January. The combination of comfortable weather and the appeal of the two Mike Strantz designed gems have made the “Winter Getaway” one of the Myrtle Beach area’s most popular shoulder season packages.
Caledonia, Strantz’s first solo design, launched the man known as “The Maverick” on the road to golf course architecture fame. Playing through a stunning piece of Lowcountry land, Caledonia is equal parts art and architecture, highlighted by one of the most dramatic closing stretches in golf travel.
The par 3 17th hole, which plays to a large green complex surrounded by sand, and the par 4 18th, which requires a carry over water to a green residing in the shadow of the property’s stately clubhouse, are unforgettable.
True Blue is a sprawling design, featuring five par-5s, five par-3s, and Strantz’s legendary creativity. Visually, the layout is defined by waste bunkers that line generous fairways.
Ranked as one of America’s Top 100 Resort Courses by Golfweek, True Blue requires golfers who want to have a chance at birdie to play to the proper spots in the fairway and on the approach to large, undulating greens.
Caledonia and True Blue offer contrasting, yet equally memorable experiences. The lowcountry beauty of Caledonia and the modern aesthetic of True Blue make them the perfect pair for golfers that want to enjoy an unforgettable trip.
Oklahoma’s Shangri-La Resort Elevates its Golf Offerings and Resort Experience
With a background in motion pictures, Rob Yanovitch recognizes a great location when he sees one and there are a multitude of reasons that he loves the lakefront site of Shangri-La Resort in Northeast Oklahoma. Now the resort’s Director of Golf & Club Operations, Yanovitch recently chatted with us about where the club sits and other fascinating items about the destination.
When you put into perspective the quality of Shangri-La’s 27 championship holes and the addition of the spectacular new short course, The Battlefield, how much do you now consider Shangri-La a true national golf destination — or at least a must-play destination in the region?
What we did with The Battlefield is match the level of golf that the Championship Course brings. And by that, I mean you have to hit golf shots. It’s not a chip and putt. It’s a golf course. You don’t hit drivers, because it’s a short course, but you will hit every club in your bag if you play the correct set of tees for your ability.
The conditions match or even exceed what we have at the Championship Course. Across the board, it fits in with what we did, but we provided another venue, opportunity and even product with a short course that adds to the golfers’ experience when they come down. I love playing lots of golf. But as I’m getting a little older, and if I’m going on a golf trip, I don’t know how many days I could play 36 holes. But if I can play 18 and then the par-3, that’s a nice match for guys.
The other part is it has its own identity, its own restaurant there with a beautiful patio to sit on. We see people coming up there just for lunch and to sit and enjoy the view because it’s such a beautiful landscape.
What impresses you the most about what Eddy Gibbs and your team there have done to make Shangri-La a world-class experience for guests?
We’ve embraced innovation, like The Battlefield. Also, being able to see what the golf trends are – shorter amount of time to play and more access for all kinds of players. You don’t do that by building another championship course. So that’s part of what we’ve done at Shangri-La.
When we built The Anchor – our activity park – we put some things in there that aren’t going to bring us any revenue, but we thought they would be awesome experiences and innovative. We built a mini Fenway Park wiffle ball stadium. Nobody pays to play it – you just go and it is the coolest thing when you walk up into The Anchor and to your left you’ve got the Green Monster there in a fully framed wiffle ball stadium. So I really think that’s what sets us apart from other destination golf resorts, is an innovative mindset to bring something different to the guests that they wouldn’t get elsewhere.
Can you describe the different character of each of the three nines at Shangri-La and what you find appealing about each?
Even though they have different character, they really blend together well. On the Champions nine, we have lake views. It’s slightly shorter than the other nines but the rating is just as difficult because you have more water in play. You have more bunkers on that nine. The championship course that we play when a major event comes to Shangri-La is the Heritage and Legend nines. That’s the old Blue course that used to be there, but the routing is different. The mapping is similar to what it was back in the day. Now we renovated everything from the ground up to the green – all the green complexes, we reshaped some holes and trees. So it’s brand new, but the routing is the same as it was previously. But what’s great about it is that all three nines do work together. So if you want to play the Champions and Legends nines, if that’s the course rotation, you don’t feel like you’re on two separate golf courses. The Heritage nine has some really great green complexes. When we rebuilt it, we threw back to some classic green complexes so you get some really nice shots where you hit the ball left and make it go right. So there’s a little bit more of that on the Heritage nine.
The Champions Nine third hole is a classic short par-4 with the added thrill and majesty of playing along the edge of Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees. Is it one of the best short pars you’ve ever played and… Which other holes at Shangri-La do you think provide similar thrills?
We have one short par-4 on each nine. No. 3 is drivable and really fun all because the lake is on your left. And on the weekends, you see all the boaters out there having a good time. And you’re trying to drive that green with all that stuff going on. On a nice day, the water’s like glass. It’s a really good hole and picturesque. And then the Legends nine has our signature hole called the Mickey Mantle hole, which is our island green. It’s a par-5 with a real good risk-reward. It’s called the Mickey Mantle hole because it was his favorite hole when he used to play there. When we renovated it, we kept it a par-5 that’s reachable in two over the water. Mantle made a double eagle there once, so they adopted the name for that reason. We kept the nature of that hole but we built an island green there now. It tells you what we did with the entire golf course when we renovated. That hole used to be just a second shot over water to a green. We turned it into an island green. We respected the original design but we just made everything better.
The Clubhouse, Summit and Buffalo Bar would bring pride to any golf operation in the country. How cool is it for you and your team to operate out of such a well-built and thoughtfully designed space?
It’s really a pleasure to be there every day. It’s such a beautiful clubhouse and space. It sets the stage when you drive up to the beautiful, big stone building. It’s very welcoming. You go into some clubs, some resorts, and it feels almost intimidating because it’s so fancy. This is more rustic and welcoming. The Buffalo Bar has a lot of hardwood in there with the buffalo head up. It’s just a welcoming, relaxing place to go. And then in the evenings, it turns into our fine dining with the Summit restaurant attached to it. But it’s always a welcoming feel. Our staff embraces that and addresses people like they come every weekend.
What impressed you most about The Battlefield the first few times you played it?
Boy, you hit every shot. The green complexes are unlike anything you’ve played. You can do some things on a par-3 that you can’t do on a championship golf course. You get away with a little more. You get a little bit more creative because you’re not having to post the score to your handicap. Thus, the greens are a little bit more dramatic than I would probably put on a championship course because it’s a par-3 course that’s an experience and a round of golf at the same time. We’re striving for people coming off the course to say they’ve never played anything like that before and I think that’s what we’ve been getting. That’s probably the thing that stands out the most is just the unique greens and the fact that you hit every shot that you want to hit when you play golf.
What “wows” people about what Tom Clark put into this special piece of land?
The creativity of how we fit the golf course into that land. There was a lot of elevation changes, a lot of rock work we had to remove. It’s impressive how we fit the design into this space. We had a lot of room to do it. But there’s a lot of elevation changes and a lot of challenges to do that. And it really fits seamlessly into the land and feels really natural. And that’s a real achievement for the space we had.
One reason it’s called The Battlefield is when I first went out there on that land in 2013, I’d been at Shangri-La for two years and had never gone on that piece of land because there was nothing out there. My superintendent used to hunt the land. And I asked him to take me on property and drive around because it was all weeds and it was hard to get around. I don’t have a truck, and we couldn’t go on a golf cart. So he took me in his truck and we were bouncing around all over the place and and I said ‘man, this this looks like a warzone in here’ – not because it was damaged, but just like it just looked like an old World War II battlefield . So that was one of the reasons we call it The Battlefield. It has the look of an old countryside, with the hills and trees. From the start, we kind of looked at that piece of land as how can we do a par-3 course up there. So yes, it’s very cinematic with very dramatic elevation changes. It looks really natural the way it sits in there.
The location of Shangri-La makes it a true vacation “escape.” How do you describe the serenity and singularity of what it’s like to spend time there just taking in the nature, the peace, the hospitality and everything that makes the property unique?
It’s on the end of an island – it’s actually a peninsula but we call it Monkey Island. And really there’s nowhere to go. But if you’re driving down that road, you’re heading to Shangri-La. And it’s the lake atmosphere that surrounds the whole facility and resort that’s really peaceful. You’re there to escape the ordinary, because you’re going out there to do something different. The world is so fast paced and there’s so much going on. I like to think that when people come out here, they want to put their phones away and just enjoy. Enjoy the golf course, enjoy their time, and enjoy being taken care of.
What’s next for Shangri-La?
We’re always growing and looking for the newest opportunity to be innovative and create a better, more unique experience for visitors and members.
Myrtle Beach Classic Reveals Official Logo Reflecting Joy of Playing Golf Along the Grand Strand
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Myrtle Beach Classic is thrilled to announce the launch of its official tournament logo and brand look in preparation for its highly anticipated, inaugural tournament set to take place May 9-12, 2024, at Dunes Golf and Beach Club.
“This new logo and its complementary brand colors and fonts are a true reflection of the core values of the tournament: excellence, competition and the joy of playing golf in the Grand Strand,” said Darren Nelson, Myrtle Beach Classic Tournament Director. “This design also showcases the region’s significant role in the game of golf while representing nature and our commitment to preserving the natural environment.”
The logo features a subtle fusion of colors found along South Carolina’s Grand Strand, including deep ocean blue, fairway green, sunrise orange and sand, all of which blend seamlessly to pay homage to the Dunes Club’s coastal location. The Royal Tern, a distinctly unique seabird native to the Myrtle Beach area, soars in front of a warm Carolina sunrise.
MMGY Global, an international marketing agency, crafted the design.
For more information about the Myrtle Beach Classic PGA Golf Tournament and to stay updated on tournament news, visit the official website at myrtlebeachclassic.com.
North Carolina’s Woodlake Country Club Expands Partnership with Bobby Jones Links
Bobby Jones Links Strengthens Consulting Relationship to Include Turnkey Management
ALPHARETTA, GA – Bobby Jones Links (BJL), the golf industry’s leading client-centric, boutique management company, has expanded its consulting partnership with Woodlake Country Club in Vass, North Carolina, to include turnkey operations management of the facility.
Bringing back Woodlake’s entire infrastructure, which was devastated by flooding seven years ago during Hurricane Matthew, has been an inspiring and expertly orchestrated collaboration between the owners – the Allison family who owns and runs North Carolina-based Systel Business Equipment – and Bobby Jones Links’ experienced team of industry leaders, including General Manager Jeff Crabbe, who joined Woodlake in August. The local community, who live just a few miles from both the famed Village of Pinehurst and Fort Bragg, has responded enthusiastically to the rebirth of Woodlake with almost all of its designated Founding Memberships being sold since becoming available in September.
Newly Rebranded Hammock Coast Golf Trail Provides Access to Unforgettable Courses in One of South Carolina’s Most Popular Destinations
PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. – Waccamaw Golf Trail, a collection of 12 award-winning courses, has rebranded as the Hammock Coast Golf Trail, taking advantage of the surging popularity of the surrounding community and its branding efforts.
Comprised of six coastal communities in Georgetown County, S.C. – Garden City, Murrells Inlet, Litchfield Beach, Pawleys Island, Georgetown and Andrews – South Carolina’s Hammock Coast is one of the Palmetto State’s top tourist destinations. Buoyed by its large selection of vacation rental condos and homes and wide-open, pristine beaches, the Hammock Coast attracts visitors from across the nation, many of them to play golf.
The Hammock Coast Golf Trail offers players the opportunity to enjoy some of America’s premier designs, including Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, True Blue Golf Club, TPC Myrtle Beach and the newly renovated Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club.
“The rebranding of the Hammock Coast Golf Trail is a natural one, linking the area’s golf courses to the larger tourism community in a manner that will benefit everyone,” said Bob Seganti, general manager of Caledonia and True Blue and a member of the county’s Tourism Management Commission, which oversees the marketing of South Carolina’s Hammock Coast. “Golf is an integral part of what makes this area so popular, attracting visitors 12 months a year, and we are proud to help expand the reach of the Hammock Coast brand.”
“We’ve worked tirelessly to brand the area, and the decision of courses like Caledonia, True Blue and Pawleys Plantation to promote their properties under the Hammock Coast umbrella is a testament to the success of those efforts,” said Beth Stedman, president and CEO of the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce. “We are home to some of the nation’s most acclaimed beaches and golf courses, and it only makes sense to have them work together to spread the word about everything the area has to offer under the Hammock Coast brand.”
The Hammock Coast Golf Trail features award-winning courses playing through moss-draped oaks and gently flowing tidal rivers. The layouts of the HCGT – Blackmoor Golf Club, Caledonia, Founders Club, Litchfield Country Club, Pawleys, River Club, TPC, Tradition Club, True Blue, Wachesaw Plantation East, Wedgefield Country Club and Willbrook Plantation Golf Club – allow golfers to package the area’s best courses, restaurants and accommodations on one unforgettable trip.
Headlining the area’s offerings are Caledonia and True Blue, both Mike Strantz designs that are ranked among America’s top 100 resort courses, Pawleys Plantation, a Jack Nicklaus layout that just underwent a transformative greens, bunkers and clubhouse restoration project, and TPC, a course that has challenged the world’s best golfers.
Blackmoor is golf legend Gary Players’ only area design, while Litchfield Country Club, Pawleys Island’s first course, continues to delight with its playability and conditions.
Founders Club treats players to generous fairways framed by waste bunkers, creating memorable visuals, while River Club, Tradition and Willbrook, a trio of layouts that deliver the quality and value that help make the area so popular, have formed the backbone of countless Hammock Coast Golf Trail trips.
Wachesaw Plantation East hosted four LPGA Tour events, a testament to the quality of the Clyde Johnston design, while Wedgefield Country Club plays along the Black River, providing views golfers talk about long after returning home.
A Hammock Coast Golf Trail package can be booked as a stay-and-play trip or a golf-only offer.
The Hammock Coast is one of South Carolina’s most popular vacation destinations, wowing visitors with some of the Palmetto State’s premier beaches, Lowcountry charm and abundant eco-activities. At the heart of the area’s appeal is the casual charm it provides, delivering a surplus of family friendly activities without the crowds its nearby neighbors – Myrtle Beach and Charleston – attract.
With average high temperatures of 77 degrees in October, 70 in November and 63 in December, the Hammock Coast is an ideal location for a fall trip. From golf groups to couples in search of a holiday escape, the Hammock Coast has something for everyone.
For more information on a Georgetown County vacation, visit www.HammockCoastSC.com.
For more information on the Hammock Coast Golf Trail, visit www.HammockCoastGolfTrail.com.