My family started spending parts of the summer in Myrtle Beach when I was eight years old. I had started playing golf when I was six and by the time I first laid eyes on the near-continuous stretch of golf that is the region, I knew I was in paradise. One of the main attractions was the fact that dozens of area courses offered discounts for junior players and, indeed, many had “kids play free” policies, which my father took great advantage of. Here are some of the best courses for kid on the Grand Strand.
I had to have been no more than eight years old. I stepped to the tee of the par 3 17th hole, which played a stout 122 yards—a five-wood for me. I made good contact, sending the ball to the back edge of the green, about 18 feet away. I drained the putt from the fringe for my first-ever birdie, en route to a tidy round of 118.
River Club is especially kid-friendly because while engaging, it is not the most taxing golf course to play. With a rating and slope of 64.7 and 108 from the front set of tees, it is a great place to learn the game without being too discouraged or losing half a dozen golf balls. Water does come into play on many holes, but it is usually away from the main action. In addition, many of the greens are at least partially open in front, to allow the run-up shots of shorter hitters.
Tradition Golf Club
Another one of the Grand Strand’s kid-friendliest golf courses is River Club’s neighbor to the north, Tradition Golf Club. With a set of tees at 4,106 yards, it is ideal for building confidence in young golfers, but it still has enough challenging elements to keep those budding players engaged. For example, it boasts two island greens at the 7th and 15th holes, where Junior might be able to carry the water hazards and hit the green when Mom and/or Dad have failed. And with par 3s ranging from 119 yards down to 75, there is a great chance for a first par or birdie as well. A sprawling putting green is ideal for pre- or post-round putting contests as well.
West Course at Myrtle Beach National Golf Club
Myrtle Beach National Golf Club’s kid-friendly factor begins before anyone steps on the first tee. For any golf-crazy boy or girl, the statue of Arnold Palmer in front of the clubhouse is both impressive and inspiring. Behind that edifice, 54 holes spread out like a playground for anyone who can wield a wedge. Eighteen of them comprise the West Course, Myrtle Beach National’s tamest and most kid-friendly layout. To boot, there are no houses in play, which takes the pressure off when it comes to errant drives. In addition, water hazards are few and unobtrusive, helping curtail lost golf balls as well.