The Pearl Golf Links: West Course (Calabash, NC on 01/01/16)

I didn’t have a plan for an afternoon round and decided that I’d just do whatever! After my morning round at Sea Trail, I decided to try another golf complex nearby, The Pearl. I actually called over to The Thistle, a premium course across the street, but they told me it was very soggy and almost discouraged me from playing there! I guess they did me a favor as I didn’t really want to spend a lot of cash just to squish around. At least they were honest so that’s nice! Next time around I might try to play there or at Oyster Bay, which is on the other side of The Pearl. I’m nerding now as I just loved having access to so many courses! If you’ve never been to Myrtle Beach, there is a sign for a golf course just about everywhere you look. It is a lot like Palm Springs in that regards and gets me excited.

In the end, I booked a tee time through a third party site at The Pearl. My rate was $40 plus the small fee so I was shooting for another value course. I made two left turns and rolled into the parking lot, where there weren’t many cars. It looked like it would be another leisurely round, assuming that I didn’t let the wet conditions bother me! I chatted with the starter for a minute and teed off about 12:45pm.

The Pearl has two courses, the East and the West, and I played the West Course. That was intentional as some quick parking lot reading showed that it tends to be regarded a bit better, at least from what I could find. I’ve never played the East course so if you are looking for a comparison between the two I’m afraid that you are in the wrong spot! The East Course looks more tree lined from the satellite view, that’s about all I can offer.

Like Sea Trail, The Pearl also has property along the Calabash River. The round closes with three of the last four holes horseshoeing down by the river for some great views! Without a doubt the 15th through the 17th are the highlight stretch on the West Course. The green on the 15th is perched on the edge of the river before the 16th is a long par 5 where the river is in play on every shot if you miss right! The 17th plays alongside a marshy area and is a wonderful, short par 3! It was 139 yards from where I played and features a long, narrow green that tilts from left to right. You can go directly at the flag or play more conservative off to the left. There is a hillside to the left (trouble to the right) which could allow you to get a kick towards the pin if you land left of the green. Just hope the ball doesn’t stay up there or it will be a quick chip onto the green!

The rest of the holes on the West Course either play in an open area or through some pine trees. These settings aren’t as dramatic as the finishing holes, but they are unique in their own way. I’m a sucker for pine trees on a golf course and enjoyed my time meandering through the woods. These holes had a lowcountry feel and were aesthetically pleasing, even on a gloomy day! I’m sure they look a lot more awesome on a sunny day when the rest of the trees have some leaves. The remaining holes are in an open area across from the clubhouse. Most of them have water in play and are heathland style. They aren’t anything that will knock your socks off though, if you ask me. As a whole the course offers a nice mix of scenery that should give you a good idea of what to expect when golfing in Myrtle Beach! Except for homes on the 14th and road noise on the 5th, the round should be free from distractions.

Oddly, this is the second Dan Maples course that I played in the same day. As usual, there was one hole on the course that I thought was a bit goofy. That’s the 18th, which is a double dogleg par 5. The fairway moves left around the pines so a draw is the best shot. I’m a fade player and opted for a 3 wood for more control and so that I didn’t run through the edge of the fairway. The layup should be to the left of a hazard and is where the hole starts to get weird! There are two trees to the right of the fairway that can block you out from the green (on the other side of the water), even after playing down the middle of the fairway. The ideal layup will need to be in-between the trees or past the farthest one. Calculating those distances was tricky my first time around. If you decide to play down to the end of the fairway you might be better off just trying to for the green in two, if you have a clear path. I think it is a hole where most golfers should just try to avoid disaster with the uncomfortable angles.

Besides the 18th, I thought that the West Course was playable even though I didn’t bring much game. For reference, I played the Blue tees which are 6600/71.0/128. I drove it terrible and missed some short putts, but somehow ended up breaking 80! I was proud of the way that I scratched it around without my “A” game, but the design of the course has a lot to do with that. There is some room off the tee and enough short par 4’s so that I didn’t have to risk hitting driver. I found my hooks and slices and was able to at least get those back in play. The course is setup with five par 5’s and five par 3’s which is a feature I wish was used more. For whatever reason my mindset changes and I think I can make more birdies!

The conditions were wet! However, you’ll see this a lot as I roll through the reviews from this trip. I won’t harp on it as there is only so much the maintenance crew can do. I’ll say the fairways were shorter than at Sea Trail and that the tees were a lot fuller. The greens played as nice as they looked as they were smooth and on the quick side! If the weather would have cooperated then I’d probably be writing about how good the conditions were for $40. The Pearl, at least the West Course, is one that I’d definitely recommend as a mid-tier course. I’d like to give the East Course a try one day!

#1 (360 yard par 4):

1-1

#2 (191 yard par 3):

2-1 2-2

#3 (540 yard par 5):

3-1 3-2

#4 (158 yard par 3):

4-1 4-2

#5 (418 yard par 4):

5-1

#6 (340 yard par 4):

6-1

#7 (555 yard par 5):

7-1 7-2

#8 (199 yard par 3):

8-1

#9 (410 yard par 4):

9-1

#10 (360 yard par 4):

10-1 10-2

#11 (333 yard par 4):

11-1

#12 (366 yard par 4):

12-1 12-2

#13 (138 yard par 3):

13-1 13-2

#14 (591 yard par 5):

14-1

#15 (414 yard par 4):

15-1 15-2

#16 (573 yard par 5):

16-1 16-2

#17 (139 yard par 3):

17-1 17-2

#18 (515 yard par 5):

18-1 18-2

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