New name, new course: Revamped Colonial Charters Golf Club shines just north of Myrtle Beach
LONGS, S.C. -- When Palmetto Greens Golf and Country Club closed in June 2013, few of its members and those associated with the Grand Strand golf community shed any tears.
The course was run down, and players were going elsewhere.
Now the site of the former Palmetto Greens is in the infancy of a major rejuvenation. New owners and a new management group officially took over, opening their wallets and getting their hands dirty putting it back into solid condition.
Most importantly, the Pace Group and East Coast Golf Management knew they had to revert the golf course back to its original name.
The rebirth of Colonial Charters Golf Club
Colonial Charters Golf Club re-opened in August 2013. Already, there's no mistaking this course for the one that stood in its place just six months earlier.
"It's definitely a challenge to erase what once was there," Colonial Charters head professional and East Coast Golf Management staffer Jeff Pianelli said. "With a progressive strategy, getting the past members coming out to see what has been done is what we're doing. It's not the same Palmetto Greens golf course that it once was. We've put a ton of time into the turf itself. It makes a world of difference."
Colonial Charters originally opened in 1998 before closing in 2005. In 2008, it was shaved down approximately 300 yards and re-opened under the Palmetto Greens moniker.
At the top of the list after the most recent sale was improving that surface. An upgraded irrigation system and the removal of a number of bunkers accompanied aggressive grass replacement. The greens have been replanted as Tifdwarf Bermuda, and all but a handful are rolling as true as they did at the turn of the century.
Hole by hole, Colonial Charters has given people a reason to return.
Colonial Charters Golf Club: The course
Just a few short weeks after opening, it was apparent the par-71 course was going to be attractive to seniors and high-handicappers.
Colonial Charters isn't the longest golf course in the Myrtle Beach area; it measures in at just 6,033 yards from the whites and is a more-than-manageable 6,427 from the back tees. The course features some hazards along the way that will fool first-timers. Water is in play on 17 of the holes -- no. 2 being the only dry reprieve. Several holes also squeeze you off the tee.
But on every par 4 and par 5, the problem areas are also a product of the course's rebirth. Heavy roughs won't be shaved down until near the end of 2013, leaving players often searching for would-be decent first and second shots.
"The Bermuda is growing so healthy it's a little thicker than what you're used to seeing," Pianelli said. "We don't want to lower it too fast. You have to keep your eye on it when you miss the fairway."
Some of the landing zones were expanded to make up for the oft-frustrating aspect of the course. Hitting the fairways takes that out of the equation, and it leads to some very good scores.
Most of Colonial Charters' 18 holes wouldn't be considered a test for low handicappers. Long hitters could reach the greens on at least two par 4s, possibly more with dry conditions. And with three par 3s on the back nine, most average players who avoid the water shouldn't have any problem reducing their average by a few strokes.
Much like East Coast Golf Management did with some of its other properties, the group put serious effort into refurbishing the clubhouse. It has a re-styled pro shop and bar and grill with ample seating. Eventually, an outside patio will be added.
There is also a full driving range and putting green. And on-site swing and playing lessons are also available.
Colonial Charters Golf Club: The verdict
Pianelli said Colonial Charters Golf Club is "a happy place to be right now." It would be hard to argue otherwise.
The course has already bounced back in a short period of time. It's not meant to be a championship-level challenge. What it can boast is a fair round at an even fairer price. Ultra-low green fees were set to give players a low-cost way to rediscover it. As a result, there may not be a better golf bargain in the area.
Colonial Charters is already playing at a level higher than it has in years -- regardless of name -- and it's only going to continue to improve with time.