Willbrook Plantation426 Tidewater Cir, Pawleys Island, SC, 29585
Willbrook Plantation Golf Club opened in 1986 at the opening of the main boom of golf courses in the Myrtle Beach. And though dozens of courses have opened since the Dan Maples layout debuted, Willbrook has endured as a favorite of golfers who visit the area and especially those who enjoy playing the courses of the Waccamaw Golf Trail, of which Willbrook is a member.
Set on the site of a former rice plantation, Willbrook enjoys a thoroughly Lowcountry setting. Centuries-old live oaks serve double-duty as aesthetic delight and golfing obstacle, as do natural wetlands that support wildlife from alligators to myriad local waterfowl, which add to the enjoyment and feeling of escape characteristic of courses in the area.
This sense of removal from the hectic outside world is evident on the first tee box. Unfolding around some of the aforementioned natural features is an imperious par four of 428 yards from the back tee. A bunker, extensive mounding and wetlands guard the green, completing a hole that Lee Trevino called one of the hardest opening holes in golf.
Its challenging opening hole aside, Willbrook is a course that is eminently playable for all who tee it up there. It has appeared on various “Top Courses For Women” lists since it opened, a testament to generous fairways, greens that tend to be open in the front and a relative paucity of penal water hazards. A great example of the friendliness of Willbrook’s layout is the long par four 14th, a bunkerless hole where a water hazard sneakily guards the back portion of the green. Longer hitters can make a par via a long drive and mid- or long-iron, but the shorter hitter and bogey player can plod along to a bogey or even a one-putt par.