The Origins of Mike Strantz’s Masterpiece at Caledonia

By Chris King

Pawleys Island, S.C. — In April 1993, nine months before Caledonia Golf & Fish Club was set to open, Doc Lachicotte took a local reporter on a tour of the property.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Lachicotte, who was part of the course’s ownership group until his passing at the age of 95 in 2022, told the Sun News. “We want to keep it that way.” 

By the early 1990s, the joys of living in the Myrtle Beach area had become clear and land was being gobbled up, but Lachicotte and his friends wanted to preserve a tract of property they believed was the “finest piece of land left on the Grand Strand.”

It was a desire, along with a booming golf industry, that led them to a largely unknown young architect named Mike Strantz. 

When Caledonia opened on January 1, 1994, few people had heard of the 37-year-old Strantz, who had long worked for Tom Fazio, but his first solo design put him on the fast track to golf course architecture fame. 

Playing through centuries old live oak trees and along Caledonia Creek, the course dazzled players with its Lowcountry charm and Strantz’s boundless creativity.

Golf Digest ranked Caledonia among America’s best new courses and buoyed by the success of his maiden layout, Strantz went on to design True Blue, Caledonia’s sister course, and Tobacco Road, among others, before tragically passing away due to cancer in 2005. 

The opening of Caledonia not only launched Strantz’s career, but it also helped usher in a new era of Myrtle Beach golf courses, as the area became known for the quality and quantity of its offerings. 

Caledonia was ranked among the nation’s top 100 public layouts, an honor it has maintained through the years by never losing sight of the course’s original goals. 

“We really intend to spend a lot of money on beautification,” Lachicotte told the Sun News. “This will be one of the prettiest courses around here.”

Three decades later, the commitment to the property’s beauty is as strong as ever. Just as important were Strantz’s objectives as he designed the course. 

“The goal really is to have somebody stand on the tee and be dazzled at how beautiful it is, but not make it so hard that it’s miserable to be out there,” he said in the spring of 1993. 

In the three decades since the first tee shot was struck, more than a million golfers have been dazzled by Caledonia, whose commitment to providing a memorable experience is stronger than ever.

For more information, visit CaledoniaGolfandFishClub.com.

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