Arcadian Shores: Where It All Began For The U.S. Open Doctor

Jones’ talents have been highly sought-after for years, and as the son of Robert Trent Jones Sr., the father of modern golf course architecture, he is as qualified as anyone to design a course that will enrich the experiences of not only Tour players but the average golfer as well.

Myrtle Beach is proud to claim the course with which the younger Jones began his solo golf course design career in 1974.  That course is Arcadian Shores, set on the grounds of the Myrtle Beach Hilton Resort, where Routes 17 and 22 diverge.  With clean lines and distinctive bunkering, Arcadian Shores both showcases Jones’ background and lays the groundwork for a career that, after nearly 40 years, is legendary.

Arcadian Shores is an exercise in efficient routing.  It occupies a fairly narrow, L-shaped piece of land, meaning that Jones had to route the front nine in two angled loops and the back nine in a third.  Where such a piece of land might make for a shoehorned feeling and a paucity of holes with good lateral movement, Jones was able to make it work and create a golf course that challenges the player off the tee without ever feeling cramped.

Jones created the feeling of doglegged holes by carefully placing fairway bunkers on one side of a fairway, often giving the player three options off the tee: hit a fairway wood or long iron and stay short, shape a shot around the hazard or swing away with a driver and bash it over the bunker.  This demand for strategic thinking is evident on the tee shot on the opening hole, a reachable par five that bends to the left around two fairway bunkers.  The golfer who knows his or her limitations and strengths will be rewarded with a chance for an opening birdie.

The second hole brings any notion of an “easy start” to a halt, with a lengthy par three to a green angled from front left to back right, guarded by water to the right and a nasty bunker on the left.  The hole has been ranked among the toughest on the Grand Strand for years and deserves the respect golfers give it.  Par is a steal on this hole and a number of others.

One of the joys of playing Arcadian Shores is the variety of shots it demands from players.  The player who confidently works the ball in one direction—be it left or right—can succeed, but the golfer who can move the ball in different directions will excel.  It is a course that the truly thoughtful golfer will enjoy getting to know over countless rounds.

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