Litchfield Country Club is the granddaddy of the award-winning Waccamaw Golf Trail, the first course built on Pawleys Island and one of the original eight on the Grand Strand. Opened in 1966, the 6,692-yard, par-72 course (back tees) set the standard for the historic rice plantation designs to follow in its wake and is still going strong, with its original features proudly unchanged.
The longest hole on Willard Byrd’s venerable, well-rounded design is the 538-yard, par-5 16th. The course’s emphasis on shot-making over power has long made it popular with women and seniors, and there are plenty of challenges for every type of hitter among the narrow, mature tree-lined fairways and small, sloping greens. A bevy of doglegs, greenside pathways amenable to bump-and-run shots, and generous approach areas to well-kept greens reward precision.
The 184-yard par-3 17th hole illustrates the skill necessary to navigate the course, with water on both sides of the fairway and an undulating green fronted by sand, while the 406-yard, par-4 18th—the course’s signature hole—was picked by local golfers as one of the Top 100 holes on the Grand Strand.
A prime example of the semi-private course’s unique challenges and rewards comes back-to-back on the 12th and 13th holes. The 12th, an expansive par-3 at 219 yards, calls for a fairway wood, long iron, or hybrid to produce the aerial shot necessary to avoid the bunker guarding the front of the green, as well as two more bunkers to the left.
Players can immediately win back any lost strokes, though, on the par-5 13th, which measures 520 yards and is reachable in two shots. Golfers can take advantage of the hole’s downwind location and open green, but must beware the water hazard running the length of the hole’s left side.
Good course management and wise club selection are key to a round to write home about. Golf Digest awarded Litchfield Country Club 4½ stars and named it in its “2008 Places to Play” list, while Conde Nast Traveler awarded it a spot in its “World’s 50 Best – 1996” rankings.