Appetizers: The Best Easier Golf Courses in Myrtle Beach

It’s the dead of winter. It’s either snowing out or it has recently snowed, and the temperature is in the 10s or 20s. You’re starting to plan your golf trip to Myrtle Beach, which will hopefully satisfactorily scratch the golf itch until spring comes again.

When you go out to dinner, you probably don’t eat dessert before your main course. So, approach your golf course itinerary in the same way for each trip. With dozens of golf courses in the Myrtle Beach area, there is quite a spectrum in terms of caliber, design style and—especially—difficulty. If your clubs have been collecting dust in your basement or shivering in your trunk (in either case: SHAME ON YOU!) for eight weeks or more, the easiest way to annoy your trip mates is to schedule a ballbuster of a course for your first round. Instead, find courses with wide fairways and relatively little trouble to ease you into your trip. For goodness’ sakes: build toward the tough ones!

Here are six courses—two from the southern, two from the central, and two from the northern section of the Grand Strand—that make excellent first courses for your next Myrtle Beach golf feast:

South: River Club, Indian Wells Country Club
Both of these courses are relatively short, at less than 6,800 yards from the back tees, and will test your game without crushing you if you hit some clunky shots. There is a good bit of water (on 14 and 16 holes, respectively) but it is much less obtrusive than at many other area courses, and the greens, while tricky, are not crazily contoured by any stretch of the imagination.

Central: West Course at Myrtle Beach National Golf Club, Pine Lakes Country Club
Like too few courses in the Myrtle Beach area, both of these courses eschew any housing between fairways that drives up the numbers of lost golf balls along with the blood pressures of visitors. The West Course is a lower-end option but is perfectly decent and pretty much always in quite good shape, owing in part to the presence of its more prestigious neighbor, King’s North. Pine Lakes is Myrtle Beach’s oldest golf course but is by no means tired, having received some nice retouching by Craig Schreiner a few years ago. It is not overly long and its fairways are relatively generous, which is nice.

North: Beachwood Golf Course, The Valley at Eastport Golf Club
Beachwood is one of the older courses along the Grand Strand, with a relatively straightforward design and just enough intrigue to hold the player’s attention all the way to the tough, long (i.e. longer than 200 yards) par three 18th hole. The Valley at Eastport plays to only 6,200 yards, so it is much harder than usual to make the mistake that many vacationing golfers make: playing a set of tees that is too long. The course’s website even calls The Valley, “a perfect first stop on any Grand Strand golf getaway.” We at MBGA agree!

(posted 12/18/13)

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