With some 100 golf courses spread out along the Grand Strand, golfers visiting the Myrtle Beach area are treated to a veritable tour through the history of golf-course design dating all the way back to the 1920s, which gave rise to the first area golf course – Pine Lakes Country Club.
In the last 85 years, scores more courses have sprung up, and one of them gets to celebrate its golden anniversary with one of the area’s most prestigious awards. The course is Litchfield Country Club, and the award is Myrtle Beach Golf Course of the Year, as chosen by the Myrtle Beach Golf Course Owners Association.
After Myrtle Beach’s vastly improved River Oaks Golf Plantation took the award in 2015, the honor returns to the quiet, gorgeous Pawleys Island/Litchfield Beach part of the region for the first time since 2011, when the Founders Club at Pawleys Island took the honor. The Dunes Golf & Beach Club, the Dye Club at Barefoot Resort and the Moorland Course at Legends Resort were named Myrtle Beach Golf Course of the Year in 2012, 2013 and 2014, respectively. All of these courses are among the most sought-after by Myrtle Beach locals and the hundreds of thousands of golfers who visit the area annually.
Now, it’s Litchfield’s turn. The Willard Byrd design opened in 1966 and has been known as one of the South Strand’s “hidden secret” courses ever since. A particular hit among women and seniors, Litchfield enjoys a classic design, with tree-lined fairways, strategically placed bunkers and water coming into play on 14 holes — which may seem like a lot, but the challenge is almost never a forced carry, and there is always a safe side. Rather than heaving interior contours, Litchfield’s greens challenge golfers with back-to-front slopes, which remind many Northern visitors fondly of their home courses.
Litchfield’s most popular hole is the par-5 13th, which measures 520 yards from the back Blue tees and 498 yards from the middle White markers. When playing downwind, players who challenge the left side of the angled fairway — guarded all the way by water — will be rewarded with the opportunity to reach the green and the ideal angle for doing so. Bail out to the right, and you may be faced with a tricky layup. It is an excellent strategic golf hole where good execution can get you a chance at birdie or even eagle.