When Palmer overhauled the course in 1995 and 1996, he made sure to give nearly all holes wide playing corridors and shied as much as possible away from the forced carries and therefore slow play that draw criticism at some of his other courses. This is not to say King’s North is completely without such features, but Palmer exercised relative moderation here, resulting in one of the central Strand’s better courses, on balance.
King’s North and the West and SouthCreek (which, strangely, does not really feature any creeks) courses sit just off 501, almost in Conway. Myrtle Beach National is not colossally far from the beach proper, but it’s not in the backyard, either.
The course begins with a reachable, straightaway par five and the next, a relatively long but not overly punishing par four, help ease the player into the round by calling for at least four full, joint-warming swings: the two tee shots, a lengthy layup on the first and a mid-long iron into the second green. Then the fun begins on the third, a dogleg-left par four that requires a bit of a carry over water, followed by an approach over a sandy waste area to a green angled from front-left to back-right.
Almost every golfer who arrives on the sixth tee looks out and thinks, ah yes, I’ve seen this before! The hole, known as “The Gambler,” is plastered all over ads in magazines and billboards throughout the area, with its island fairway and peanut-shaped green, guarded by water on three sides.
Then there’s the par three 12th , also an iconic hole on the Grand Strand, with its island green and bunkers just left shaped like “S” and “C.” If you happen to be flying into Myrtle Beach International Airport in daylight, in fact, you may be able to spot it out your window on approach.
And then there’s that finishing hole, as hokey as it is fun to look at. Chalk that dichotomy up to the more than three dozen bunkers that are scattered hither and yon like giant potato chips knocked out of a toppled-over bowl at your raucous Super Bowl party. Make a par on the hole they call “Bullseye” and you may see a few of your opponent’s sawbucks float your way, pardner.
All three courses at Myrtle Beach National are kept in very good condition year-round, especially King’s North with its substantially higher tariff. The course also sports new MiniVerde Bermuda greens that hold up great under the heat and stress of South Carolina summers.
Facilities-wise, Myrtle Beach National is fairly well-stocked for a 54-hole facility. There is a good amount of room to practice chipping and putting but the driving range is a bit shoehorned-in, meaning there must be people waiting for a place to warm up (or skipping the range altogether) on busy mornings. Legends Resort, a natural nearby point of comparison, has 36 acres’ worth of practice space that blow Myrtle Beach National’s away. MBN’s clubhouse, though, is a good one, with a big pro shot and expansive dining facilities that overlook the golf courses in an attractive way. The staff is friendly from bag drop to ranger.
King’s North at Myrtle Beach National is a very solid course that belongs on most any central-Strand golf itinerary. Come to Myrtle Beach and pay homage to the King? It’s a no-brainer.