One of the most amazing and underrated things about the Myrtle Beach golf scene is its diversity. The 60-mile stretch of scenic Carolina coastline contains more than 80 championship courses, yet no two layouts are exactly alike.
There are no “cookie-cutter” courses in Myrtle Beach, and many of the local layouts have gained acclaim and fame for their unique qualities. Built on contrasting landscapes like ocean-fed inlets, inland Carolina bays, lowcountry swamps, maritime forests and rolling sandhills, the Grand Strand’s bounty of courses share one thing in common – their natural beauty.
Yet there are a few courses and holes that stand out in the crowd for a variety of reasons, including historical significance, visual appeal or some indefinable individual quality. Designed by some of the best in the business, here’s a list Myrtle Beach’s most unique links and holes:
For folks who like their golf with a bit of a history lessons, there’s no better place than Pine Lakes – “The Granddaddy” of Myrtle Beach Golf. Opened in 1927 as part of the old Ocean Forest Hotel development, Pine Lakes was the first of many tracks to come in the Myrtle Beach area and holds a special place in local history. In 1954, a group of Time Inc. executives gathered at The Granddaddy to launch Sports Illustrated, an iconic American magazine. A plaque commemorating that event, as well as the Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Fame, are housed in the charming clubhouse, which belongs on the National Historic Register.
It’s hard to go wrong by playing any of the four layouts at Barefoot Resort, and the Dye Course garners most of the praise. But the Love Course, designed by major champion Davis Love III, scores high marks for originality. Modeled after one of his favorite tracks – Pinehurst No. 2 – Love added a charming element on the fourth hole with “The Ruins,” a recreated vision of a decaying Southern plantation home covered in ivy. This unique feature has made it the most photographed backdrop in all of Myrtle Beach golf. (Hot tip: Golfers can play all four Barefoot courses for the price of three with Myrtle Beach Golf’s Barefoot 4 package.)
This unique concept allows golfers to play around the world in one 18-hole round. Replicating some of the most famous courses and holes on the planet, such as Augusta National, Pine Valley, St. Andrews and National Golf Club of Canada. In fact, golfers would have to travel almost 20,000 miles through five countries and six times zones to play the actual holes represented by World Tour. One of the highlights for golfers is to recreate Arnold Palmer’s 1995 farewell wave from the Swilcan Bridge as a souvenir photo.
Located on the Waccamaw Golf Trail in Pawleys Island, this Dan Maples design could be the most historically significant on the Grand Strand. Situated on two former rice and indigo plantations along the banks of Outland Creek and the Waccamaw River, Willbrook Plantation offers a scenic stroll through a track rich with stories dating back to Colonial America. Old rice fields and mounds built by slaves to mark plantation boundaries are among the many historical markers that appear throughout the course, and an active wildlife habitat gives golfers views of hawks diving for dinner and gators soaking up sunshine on the river banks.
Ever wonder what it would feel like to play golf on an island? This Myrtle Beach layout could be your closest opportunity with water hazards in play on virtually ever hole. Built on a former wildlife preserve around a natural 80-acre lake, players find themselves aiming for dry land and shooting photos of the abundant wildlife. Bridges and well-designed holes make island-hopping around this watery landscape more playable and more memorable.
Some Myrtle Beach courses are known for their signature holes that are well worth playing a full round. Among the most notable are The Dunes Golf & Beach Club’s No. 13 Waterloo, a double-dogleg par-5 over the gator-filled Lake Singleton; Caledonia Golf & Fish Club’s and TPC of Myrtle Beach’s picturesque finishing holes; Myrtle Beach National-Kings North’s No. 12 “The Gambler” with its unique island fairway; and Farmstead Golf Link’s massive 767-yard monster, the area’s only par 6, that starts in one state and ends in another.
To discover these unique golf oddities in Myrtle Beach, be sure to include them in your next golf package and get ready for a one-of-a-kind experience on the Grand Strand.