In this edition of Tee It Up Grand Strand, host Shan Coughlin visits the Pearl golf course to discuss updates, winter specials and the current fall season with golf professional Mike Benson. Coughlin joined Benson on the course, and begins the interview by pointing out the sunny day and warm temperatures. Benson agrees. “Oh, it’s way too cold up north. You need to be down here,” he said. “This is my favorite time of year down at the beach. The summer is done. We’re getting a little break from all that heat all summer long, the humidity drops, and we’ve just got perfect weather to play golf in right now.”
As the Grand Strand transitions into cooler temperatures, the Pearl golf shop is stocking up with fall apparel and new gear. Coughlin pointed out that the new fall apparel that’s available in the shop is “going like hot cakes, especially with people using their PGA 4, 5 and 6 gift cards.” “Absolutely,” Benson agreed. “What a great program.” The PGA 4, 5 and 6 packages, provided by East Coast Golf Management, offer golfers the chance to play four rounds of golf, and receive a $100 gift card; play five rounds of golf, get a $150 gift card; six rounds and get a $200 gift card, which can be used on replays, apparel, food and beverages.
Coughlin continued, “On the course, if you are listening on one of the many radio outlets, we certainly appreciate that, but definitely go over to the TV tab on TheGolfDirector.com and check out the video feed for the Pearl for their October update, ‘cause this is gorgeous,” she said, standing with Benson on the tee box on hole No. 17. “You get a little break here, but man, what a beautiful setting,” said Benson of par 3 hole No. 17, which sits between two par 5s. Benson said viewers cannot see it, but near the hole is the Calabash River and surrounding marshland. The course recently underwent renovations to the greens.
The Pearl is only one of a hand-full of courses in the area that maintains bent grass. Benson explained the West greens are the A1/A4 Bentgrass. Coming out of the summer, the course staff is very careful with the grass, by keeping play off it in the afternoons to make sure it doesn’t get overly stressed. Coming into the fall time of year, Benson said the greens are just so happy, full and lush, and they are rolling at a good 10-10 and a half. One of the best things about playing the 36 holes at the Pearl, is that both courses give the golfer a completely different playing experience. “It’s unbelievable that you’re on the same piece of property when you play both golf courses,” Benson said. “The West is more of a link-style golf course. You’re going to have a more open feel. When you move over to the East Course, you’re going to be in the pine trees, much more traditional Carolina-style golf, where you’ve got tall pines and we’re playing on Bermuda grass tee to green.”
Benson said they will over-seed the miniverde Bermuda on the greens this time of year. The course also has a poa trivialis on the greens and winter rye on the fairways, so golfers get the best of both worlds. Either course you choose to play, they’re going to be in phenomenal shape, Benson assured. Coughlin pointed out that the Pearl provides very female-friendly golf courses. Not meaning that they are easier, but just really set up for women to play also, featuring forward tees set up for an actual shot. Benson confirmed that the courses were strategically designed by Dan Maples with five sets of tees to offer a range of options.
Snowbirds will also benefit from playing at the Pearl with great specials offered for the winter season. The Pearl offers snowbird memberships, which can go month-to-month. Some of the packages that were put together feature unlimited golf and unlimited range balls, as well as discounts in the golf shop. Golfers who take advantage of this will be treated like a full-time member of the Pearl.
“So, it’s a great experience,” Benson said. “It’s a great way if you do come out and you want to play a lot of golf here in the wintertime, it’s a great way to get your golf fix in.”
To book a tee time online, or for more information about the Pearl and the PGA golf packages, visit www.ThePearlGolf.com or log onto TheGolfDirector.com. Or call the golf shop at (910) 579-8132. The Pearl is located at 1300 Pearl Blvd. Calabash, N.C.