By: David Theoret – The Golfin’ Guy
Calabash, NC may well be an area better known for its seafood cuisine than it is for outstanding golf, but that could be changing. There are now more than 20 golf courses accessible to the public within a 20 mile radius. These are all top notch facilities with championship golf courses that are well kept and a pleasure to play. A few offer roomy and affordable accommodations as well as golf packages that won’t require a second mortgage!
One such property is Brunswick Plantation, a gated golf course community in Calabash, NC. Since its planning days, Brunswick has grown from 650 acres to over 1750 acres. There are over 1,000 homes including single family custom homes, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom condos, and luxury townhouses, many of which are owned by active retirees. The community is rife with amenities: multiple swimming pools, fitness facilities, tennis, walking trails, and 2 plantation-style clubhouses, one of which is in the process of being converted to a second restaurant. The Hickory Shaft Bistro is scheduled to open this spring.
Brunswick Plantation is also home to 27-holes of Willard Byrd/Clyde Johnson golf with names that conjure up thoughts of Augusta: Azalea, Magnolia and Dogwood. These 27 holes create three different and unique 18-hole layouts, which can create its own weekend golf getaway.
Although each course has its own distinctive characteristics, they all share one thing in common: well-groomed and speedy Bermuda grass greens. They all have their share of slope and undulation and are “sneaky quick!” The tall Carolina pines that line many of the fairways as well as the water hazards and sand bunkers at Brunswick Plantation will challenge the most seasoned golfer. At the same time, beginners and weekend golfers will appreciate how wide open and extremely forgiving it is from the forward tees. The course will require you to be at your mental best as it requires a combination of shot making, strategy and thought.
Of the three nine hole tracks, the Magnolia course is somewhat reminiscent of a Scottish links course. You’ll find that many of the large sand and grass bunkers offer a challenge as does the water which comes into play on three holes. Three other holes are heavily bunkered, emphasizing the fact that hazards are a key element of the opening holes. You’ll also find a lot of mounding, primarily on the periphery of the fairways and around the greens. This can make for some uneven lies from the fairway as well as some interesting chip shots onto the greens. The par 5, 6th hole on the Magnolia Course has a little bit of everything. Off the tee, there are fairway bunkers on both sides to contend with, and they come into play regardless of what tees you are playing from. Water come into play off the tee if you pull your shot left; there’s out of bounds if you push it right. Needless to say, good control off the tee is required and, if executed successfully, will set up a decision of whether to go for the green in two. Push your approach shot right and you could easily find one of three nasty little pot bunkers. The green features a false front and is cut on an angle, making approach shots a little tougher. Although there is no bunkering around the green there is a lot of mounding, which can make for a difficult up and down. Par is a good score here!
Although thick Carolina woodlands offer golfers some beautiful scenery as you make your way around The Azalea course, water is the most dominant hazard you will face on many of the holes. Often, this requires more brains than brawn of you want to put up a low score. The Azalea’s signature hole is Number 4 and features an island green. From the white tees, the hole plays 152 yards. It’s pretty simple: hit the green, make a par. Easier said than done for most! Number 9 on the Azalea Course is an interesting par 5. Large waste bunkers down the left side and water down the right present the perception of a narrow landing area although there is more room out there than you think. Your layup shot is played over water with more sand in the landing area and then a slightly uphill approach shot. At only 450 yards from the White tees, a good drive can set up a decision whether or not to go for the green in two and a possible eagle opportunity. This is yet another good risk/reward hole at Brunswick Plantation.
The Dogwood Course is Brunswick Plantation’s newest nine and features a very wide open design and beautiful lush fairways. Caw Caw Creek and many large hardwood trees are just a couple of the hazards you’ll encounter as you play your way around the course. The Dogwood nine is not to be taken lightly and will keep you on your toes. Number 7 on the Dogwood Course is a par 5 that plays as great as it looks, even in the early springtime, when the dormant brown rough provides a stunning contrast to the green fairways. This dogleg right features water all down the right side and nasty little pot bunkers in the landing area on the left. The layup shot is played to a narrowing fairway, and you’ll need to be careful with your approach shot as water guards the entire right side of the green, with a sand bunker short right. The long, narrow green is crowned in the middle and requires a delicate touch. This is a well-designed golf hole.
Before your round at Brunswick Plantation, or if you just want to get in some practice, there’s a full length driving range where you can hit every club in your bag as well as a chipping green complete with practice bunkers, and a large practice putting green. There’s no reason to not be at your best when you step up to the first tee. Inside the plantation-style clubhouse, you’ll find a fully stocked pro shop with a lot of logoed apparel from top name manufacturers as well as your favorite golf balls, gloves and accessories.
After your round, stop by Champion’s Grille Restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch and all of your favorite libations. They can even set you up with a cooler to take back on the course with you as you make the turn. For breakfast, the Brunswick Omelet is a can’t miss and for lunch try their Reuben sandwich, piled high with corned beef and sauerkraut. If you’re not really hungry and just need something to nibble on, their Chicken Quesadillas are big enough to share. Occasionally, they will do dinner and if you ever have the opportunity, I highly advise it.
Brunswick Plantation also offers privately owned one and two bedroom condos that can easily sleep a foursome. These condos have fully equipped kitchens, living rooms with big screen TVs and comfortable beds. The bedrooms also have flat screen TVs. Better yet, they’re about a 3-minute walk to the pro shop, driving range and first tee.
With on-site lodging and restaurants, Brunswick Plantation is the perfect place to host a wedding, family or business event. Their event services include hosting, planning, managing and catering. A quick phone call can get the process started.
With so much golf in the area for customers to choose from, Brunswick Plantation’s goal is to make their customers their biggest advocates. After all, nothing beats word of mouth advertising! They do this by fulfilling the needs of their customers in a valuable and memorable way. The management staff at Brunswick Plantation have instilled in their team several traditional southern values: being friendly, neighborly, and treating people fairly.
Brunswick Plantation has joined together with several other area courses to offer a number of golf packages that include 3 nights lodging and three rounds of golf for as little as $199 (depending on time of year and availability). And, if you book your stay at one of the Brunswick Plantation villas, you’ll receive 9 extra holes of golf. It’s a perfect way to get in a little practice before the rest of your group joins you or get in that final game before leaving the area.
For more information on everything Brunswick Plantation has to offer, visit their website at www.brunswickplantation.com.