Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pawley's Island 2010 Reviews

My recent trip to Pawleys Island allowed me to play 4 new courses in the Myrtle Beach area. Bringing my total to 37 different courses (many multiple times) played up and down the Grand Stand. Here are my reviews of these courses.

Tradition Golf Club A Ron Garl course on a rolling former plantation. Conditions were very good on this somewhat old style course. 6313 yards with a 70.0 rating and 122 slope this course was very fun to play. Large landing areas and pretty generous bermuda greens. Overall, a wonderfull experience and I would play this course again. $55 for a summer time walk-on with cart, I was basically the only one on the course.

River Club I was very much looking forward to playing this Tom Jackson course. When I arrived for my tee time, I was confused that the place was empty. As I checked in I was told that they had just dressed the greens a couple of days before and that was the reason for the lack of players. Having booked my rounds weeks in advanced I was pretty disappointed that I paid full price for greens that were basically covered in sand. Lots of water here and while the course was somewhat fun, I kept getting the impression that I had seen these holes before. Including an island green par 3 and the 18 hole par 5 over water. River Club has bent grass greens that they seems to really be having issues with them. As I understand it, they have/are considering closing the course and switching the greens to bermuda. Bent grass greens can exist in the hot humid climate of Myrtle Beach, Crow Creek can attest to that. But Bermuda greens are better suited to the climate.

Willbrook Plantation I am a huge fan of Dan Maples and his courses (The Witch, Heritage Club, The Pit) are some of my favorites. Willbrook Plantation is another in a long line of Mr. Maples courses that I will play over and over again. This course had some of the longest and toughest par 5's of any of his courses I have played, averaging almost 500 yards from the white tees. Lots of water and dommed greens make this a very challaging and fun course. I will definitely play here again.

Litchfield Country Club Entering Litchfield is like taking a trip through time. This course was designed in 1964 by Willard Byrd and is one of the orginal courses in the area. Time took a toll on this course, however some recent upgrades and improvements have brought the course back. It still needs some work, but the old syle layout is wonderfull. No trickery here, just some really good old school design. Overall a wonderful round of golf on a classic course.

Pinnacle Gold FX Long vs. Titleist Pro V1

My recent trip to Myrtle Beach (Pawley's Island) allowed me to finally test the Pinnacle Gold FX Long against the number 1 golf ball the Titleist Pro V1.

Pinnacle Gold FX Long
These balls are pretty much out of production but can still be found at a very good price. They have been replaced by the Pinnacle Gold Distance. I like the feel of these balls around the greens and they can be very long off the tee.

The Good: Price. I paid $8.99 per dozen for logo overruns. That comes out to be about $.75 per ball. This golf ball explodes off the club face and is long, It is also very soft feel around the greens and seems to stick the the club face on chips and flop shots.

The Bad: Pinnacle can't seem to leave a good thing alone and renames these balls about every year.

The Ugly: Nothing.

Rating: 8 out of 10 on price, explosive distance, and feel. I dropped this a point from the older Pinnacle Gold Long Drive only because they are becomming harder to find in stores and are replaced by the Pinnacle Gold Distance which are not nearly as soft around the greens.

Titleist Pro V1
Pretty much the standard for all golf balls. These babies are played by more Touring Pros and hackers than any other golf ball since their introduction in 2000.

The Good: These golf balls are long and very good at reducing side spin on drives. Stopping power on the greens is incredible. Flob shots, chips, and even some line-drive miss hits all seemed to stop much better than the Pinnacle FX Long.

The Bad: Price: At $45 per dozen that comes out to about $3.75 per ball. I tend to loose about 3-4 balls per round (sometimes more) and at that price it really hurts. However logo overruns, practice balls, and pre-played balls can be purchased and at a pretty good discount. Practice balls can be purchase for ~$30 per dozen ($2.50 per ball) and pre-played for about ~$20 per dozen ($1.66 per ball). These are good for normal everyday play, but are not allowed in tournament play.

The Ugly: Nothing.

Rating: 9 out of 10 on explosive distance, feel and stopping power. I dropped this a point just because these are out of my price range for everyday golf and with my current handicap (20+).

Final Conclusions
The Titleist Pro V1 deserves the top spot in golf balls played, however the price is just to high for everyday hackers such as myself. I loved the distance off the tee and the stopping power on the greens was incredible. I don't see myself purchasing these for everyday playing, but would consider playing either practice balls or pre-played balls for special (non-tournament) outings. For everyday use, the Pinnacle Gold FX Long are still my go to ball and at just $.75 per ball, I don't feel so bad about myelf when I try to hit that impossible 225 yard 3 wood over water and don't make it.