Heritage Golf Group is probably the fastest-growing golf course ownership company in the United States. A few years ago, the company owned a total of six golf courses – three in the Hilton Head area, two TPC courses in Florida, and The Dominion Club in Richmond, VA with no real thoughts of adding any more. In 2020, Heritage Golf Group was sold to a group of ex-ClubCorp and Arcis Golf executives led by Mark Burnett, Jim Oliver, and Andy Miller who have grown the company significantly. At last count, the company was up to 25 properties.
In March 2022, Burnett and company made a big splash in North Carolina by adding Cape Fear National Golf Course at Brunswick Forest and Brunswick Plantation in Calabash, NC to their portfolio. Cape Fear has been converted from a semi-private golf course to a private facility and is one of the most celebrated clubs in the Wilmington, NC area.
Brunswick Plantation is a semi-private facility that is open to the public; that won’t change. According to Burnett, the focus will be on increasing local membership as well as stay-and-play package sales.
The best way to increase stay-and-play sales is to present a better product and that is precisely what they intend to do. Heritage plans to fund improvements at Brunswick Plantation, which includes re-grassing the greens and other areas of the course and upgrading their food and beverage offerings.
“The priority is going to be to upgrade the condition of the golf courses, not just the greens but also the bunkers,” Burnett said. “I think all are in play potentially over the next year or two to get a complete overhaul, so we can take the consistency of the playing conditions up to another level.”
Brunswick Plantation & Golf Resort sits within a gated golf course community in Coastal Carolina, a little over half an hour from Myrtle Beach. All 27 holes were designed by Willard Byrd and Clyde Johnston and with five sets of tees, can be enjoyed by golfers of any caliber. You can play all three 9s in different rotations for three distinctly different 18-hole layouts. The course showcases the natural beauty of the terrain and features lush fairways, tall Carolina pines, and fast, true-rolling Bermudagrass greens.
The Dogwood Course meanders along the waters of Caw Caw Creek. It’s wide-open off the tee and offers several risk/reward opportunities. One of the more interesting holes on the Dogwood course is Number 2, a short, 345-yard par four. Unless you’ve played here before, you may not be aware of the creek that crosses the fairway a little over 200 yards out from the White tees. I wasn’t. Hit something that will leave you short of the hazard and plan on hitting about a 150-yard shot into a large green with a lot of subtle undulation. There’s a bunker short right to keep you honest. Number 9 is a challenging finishing hole; a 350-yard, par 4 with a blind tee shot over a hill. What you can’t see is the water at the bottom of the hill right of the green. Your best bet is to hit a hybrid or fairway wood and aim for the 150-yard marker. That will keep you short of the hazard and leave a mid-iron uphill into a sloped green protected by sand on either side.
The Azalea Course is carved from thick, Carolina woodlands, giving it a beautiful and peaceful feel. Azalea will challenge your mental game and require you to put some thought into each tee shot. Thinking your way around the Azalea nine can result in a good score. Azalea starts with a 369-yard par 4 dogleg right. The challenge here is to avoid the trees and bunkers on the right side. Although playing up the left side may be a little longer, a good drive will be rewarded with a look at the green, and the four bunkers that surround it. Your best approach is through the air unless you have a great sand game! The par 3, 4th hole with its island green is the layout’s signature hole. The green is surrounded by oyster shells and is quite a challenge. Azalea’s 5th hole is a good-looking inland par 5, with tall, majestic pine trees on the right side of the fairway. Favor the right side off the tee and take the two large fairway bunkers out of play. As you look over your layup shot, you’ll notice that the fairway gets narrow in the landing area. Hitting one club less will leave you in the wide part of the fairway and still only a short iron or wedge into the green. Sand protects this tilted green on the right side.
The Magnolia Course offers a good mix of holes. It’s not overly long and there are several open holes with only a few trees which often brings the wind into play a major. Water comes into play on 5 holes to test your skill and several holes are heavily mounded and bunkered making them tough but playable. The Magnolia layout starts you off with a tree-lined, dogleg right that just looks like a classic Carolina golf hole. It’s a 370-yard par 4 that requires accuracy to hit the fairway between the sand trap on the left and the trees on the right off the tee. The closer you are to the trap, the better angle you’ll have into the green, which is surrounded by sand. Favor the left side with your approach shot as the green slopes right to left. Number 5 is an interesting 375-yard par 4 dogleg right that is more like a 90-degree turn! Longball hitters may be able to take their tee shot over the trees on the right; the rest of us will need to be aware of the water beyond the fairway bunkers. Success off the tee will reward you with a mid-iron into a large, well-protected green. It’s a fun and challenging hole.
Brunswick Plantation has some great stay-and-play packages. Choose from six different packages that include 2 or 3 rounds of golf at Brunswick Plantation and several surrounding courses, 2 – 3 nights’ accommodation in a 2-bedroom condo, and a variety of perks, all starting at around $250 per golfer! Brunswick Plantation is running an incredible offer for spring and summer 2023. Stay at least three nights Sunday – Thursday and receive a 20% discount. Just use one of these codes when you book online or over the phone. If you’re booking a stay between April 1st – May 25th use code SPRING23; for stays between June 1st – August 31st, use code SUMMER23. For more information on Brunswick Plantation Resort and Golf or to book your next golf vacation, visit them online at www.brunswickplantation.com.