Tom Fazio, one of golf course architecture’s most recognizable names, has designed scores of acclaimed golf courses across the world. His regard among golfers has earned him the right to be known as the current consulting architect at Augusta National Golf Club, annual home of the Masters. Fazio has also made his mark on the Grand Strand, having designed three courses in the area: the Fazio Course at Barefoot Resort, the private Wachesaw Plantation Club in Murrells Inlet, and the nearby TPC Myrtle Beach.
Because the course was meant to play host to high-level amateur and professional golf, Fazio teamed up with PGA Tour veteran-turned-broadcaster Lanny Wadkins to lay out TPC Myrtle Beach. They succeeded in their task, and the course hosted the Senior Tour Championship, won by Tom Watson, in 2000. In the years proceeding, it has hosted numerous amateur and college tournaments as well, most notably the annual General Hackler, an event hosted by Coastal Carolina’s men’s golf team, whose best-known alumnus, Dustin Johnson, calls TPC Myrtle Beach his home golf course in the area.
The course gets off to a relatively benign start, with the first hole being a shortish par four where a fairway wood and a short iron are all that is required to leave a reasonable birdie opportunity on one of the flatter greens on the course. And even the second hole, a reachable par five, it gettable after a good tee shot. That’s where the ease ends, though, as the remainder of the front nine poses a great challenge. Even the other par five, the sixth, has a small and elusive green that can bite players who are overly aggressive.
The back nine, though, is where TPC shines. The par-4 12th is drivable for long hitters at around 330 yards from the tips, with the last 50 or so yards tilting downhill toward the fall-away green. Then, the par-3 13th asks for the day’s best long-iron to a large, heaving green guarded by a nasty bunker on the left side.
The course finishes on a high note as well. The 17th is one of the Myrtle Beach area’s toughest par threes, with a peninsula-type green surrounded short, right and long by a pond. Any bailout opportunities are scuttled by the presence of one of the course’s most fearsome bunkers, which pinched into the left edge of the putting surface. If you are hitting first in your match and put a ball on the 17th green, you will have put a great deal of pressure on your opponent.
TPC Myrtle Beach concludes in thrilling fashion with a reachable par five that can prove perilous for the wild. A stream runs up the right side of the tee shot landing area before crossing the fairway some 330 yards from the back tee. That stream feeds a lake that covers the left side of the remainder of the hole and much of the green. Bunkers line the last 75 yards on the right, making a layup a thoughtful challenge. A good tee shot brings the green within reach for a heroic final fairway wood.
After the round, TPC Myrtle Beach offers its welcoming clubhouse, complete with a grille, as well as a full locker room where players can wash up (and even shower up) pre- or post-round. It is one of the best-regarded golf courses in the Myrtle Beach area for good reason.