Thistle Golf Club HouseThe Thistle Golf Club’s head golf pro Dustin Powers welcomes Shan Coughlin on site to share course updates on this edition of Tee It Up Grand Strand.  In the midst of fall golf season, the Thistle Golf Club has more than great weather to offer golfers. According to Coughlin, the Thistle Golf Club is one of the prettiest courses and clubhouses in this area. The attention to detail is second to none, she said.  Powers agreed, “They spared no expense when building the clubhouse and the entire facility. We take our name and history from the original Thistle Golf Club in Leith, Scotland, which was founded in 1815,” he explained.

The clubhouse’s architectural style was also brought over from Scotland. Powers explained the front of the clubhouse shows the three phases of architecture: brick, stucco, and stone. The interior of the pro shop also continues this theme.  The Thistle course in Scotland also influenced the way the local course was designed by Tim Cate, in the link-style – which Powers said creates an overall enjoyable experience.  The Thistle Golf Club, located in Sunset Beach, N.C., recently underwent a complete renovation of the putting greens.

Powers said that they originally had bent grass on the greens; however, the cost and maintenance that goes into that kind of grass can be steep, so Thistle Golf Courseit was replaced with a TifEagle Bermudagrass.  “It’s come in beautifully,” Powers expressed. “All three nines have been done. They’re in, they’re growing. They’re actually, in my opinion, better than the bent that we had. They’re rolling quicker. There is less damage to them; less upkeep, and it’s a more enjoyable experience for the golfer as well.”

In addition to the three courses featured at the Thistle Golf Club, golfers can enjoy the shooting range before their round, where Titleist NXT tour balls are included.  Powers told Coughlin his favorite nine at the Thistle is the Stewart, par 35, which features three par threes on that nine.  “It’s probably our windiest nine,” Powers said of the Stewart course, “but it’s got a few really risk/reward holes that I enjoy. Outside of that MacKay would be my favorite nine hole. Stewart has a few holes that make it my favorite nine, but MacKay – every hole of MacKay is just a great challenge of golf and it’s just beautiful playing out there,” he said.

The third course at the Thistle Golf Club is the Cameron nine. This course is the one everybody can see on the way into the club, driving through the gate and approaching the clubhouse.  “It’s a great nine as well,” Powers admitted. “They’re all very comparable. It’s just my third favorite. It does have three holes on it, though, that are really, really nice holes; enjoyable. One of them is a par three with an island green, and it’s just a really neat experience on any nine that you get on out here.”  Although the three courses sit in a residential area, golfers won’t see a whole lot of houses during their rounds.

Powers told Coughlin there are currently only 16 houses built in the area. The real estate team is working hard and selling lots, but the building has been slow. He shared that one of the five model homes built near the Thistle is a Southern Living home and was featured in the Southern Living Magazine.  Whether golfers live near the Thistle Golf Club or simply visit, everyone should consider taking advantage of the loyalty program offered there.

New for 2016, the Thistle will offer the Hickory Stick loyalty card. With a one-time joining fee of $549 for a single and $949 for the family, golfers will receive a $30 flat rate all year long. Additionally, they will receive a minimum of a one-week booking window all year long, which may be elongated depending on the season. Members will also receive 10 percent off in the pro shop, as well as 15 percent off food and beverage. The club also has a full tournament schedule.  “It’s really an overall good thing,” Powers explained of the loyalty program. “We had about close to 200 people join that this year. We are looking to double that next year. It’s just a good way to meet people and play some competitive golf and enjoy what we have to offer here.”

For more information on the Thistle Golf Club, visit, or log onto