Determining the best of anything can be a subjective task, but make no mistake, on any reputable list of Myrtle Beach’s premier layouts, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club is at or near the top.
How good is Caledonia? Mike Strantz’ first solo design is ranked 29th on Golf Magazine’s list of the “Top 100 Courses You Can Play,” 86th on Golf Digest’s list of “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses,” and Golf Channel travel guru Matt Ginella ranks it as the 16th best public layout in the nation.
Caledonia is a bucket list course and the experience begins before golfers remove their clubs from the trunk.
The entrance, which takes players down an alley of oak trees that divide the first and 10th holes, rivals any in golf and sets the tone for a memorable round. The layout is carved amidst land that was once home to a thriving rice plantation and soaring oak trees draped in Spanish moss frame the lowcountry property. The 18th, a dogleg left that requires a carry over water to a green that rests in the shadow of an antebellum style clubhouse, is widely regarded as Caledonia’s signature hole, though it’s as much a perfect conclusion as it is a defining challenge.
A quick glance at the scorecard would lead one to believe the course is short, playing 6,526 yards from the tips, but don’t be fooled. Caledonia is a par 70 and the ninth is a short par 3, creating the appearance of a lack of length that doesn’t match the reality of the challenge.
Those oak and pine tree-lined fairways challenge golfers to hit the ball straight, but what players talk about after a round at Caledonia is the course’s beauty.
The 18th garners a lot of attention, but it’s only one of many that could make a case for the being the layout’s best. The par 3 sixth and the par 4 seventh standout on the front, and nearly every hole on the back nine is a candidate to be your favorite.
If you are a serious Myrtle Beach golfer, Caledonia is a course you have to play.
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