Kids aren’t the only ones who can’t wait to reach 18. So do golfers, who view the finishing hole as an opportunity to close their round on a positive note, and perhaps collect a few skins to spend at the ensuing 19th hole.
Myrtle Beach is a mecca for closing holes. Designers looking to leave a lasting impression put extra effort into making the 18th hole something special, and the Grand Strand has some classics among its 70-plus links.
For golfers looking to finish off their round with a bang (or a birdie, or an eagle), look no farther than these 10 Myrtle Beach finishing holes (all distances from the black tees). Their first 17 holes are solid too, but their 18th will leave you wanting more:
The top-rated golf course on the Grand Strand also features one of the best finishing holes. This Mike Strantz layout was built on a former rice plantation in the Lowcountry of Pawleys Island, S.C., creating a picturesque round from start to finish. But the 383-yard par-4 18th, with water running the length of the fairway and a forced crossing to the green, is as difficult as it is beautiful. The best view of 18 is from the 19th hole patio of the antebellum clubhouse.
So you want to go long? Make the short drive to Longs, S.C., and check out this 767-yard monster, the only par-6 on the Grand Strand. Save some energy for the 18th hole, which tees off in South Carolina and holes out in North Carolina with water and bunkers on both sides of the border. Designer Willard Byrd had 400 acres of pristine farm land to carve out this 7,200-yard layout, leaving plenty of room for a closing hole that finishes just steps from the Georgian-style clubhouse.
Leave it to Jack Nicklaus to create one of the most challenging finishing holes on the Grand Strand. Golfers can see the Golden Bear’s paw prints all over this layout in Longs, S.C., with lots of strategically placed bunkers and water hazards throughout the course. But the 18th is often the back-breaker for those who have held it together through 17. The 445-yard par-4 doglegs sharply around a lake to a green that is protected on three sides. At least it’s a short walk to The Golden Bear Bar & Grill.
The late, great golf designer Pete Dye, who past away at the age of 94 in January, left his mark on the Grand Strand, where many of his courses are among the favorites of local and visiting golfers. Prestwick in Surfside Beach, S.C. is one of his masterpieces, and the closing hole is a fine example of his craftsmanship. The 441-yard par-4 features water along the right side of the fairway and an array of hazards to the left, forcing players to use pinpoint placement en route to the green.
This Tom Jackson design lives up to its name with water on virtually every hole of the Lowcountry layout, but none more imposing that on the 518-yard par-5 finishing hole. Bending left around a large lake with trees and bunkers guarding the right side, the 18th requires players to hit their spot before crossing water to a peninsula green.
Host of the 2000 Senior Tour Championship, this Tom Fazio/Lanny Watkins layout was designed to have a championship-deciding finishing hole, and it holds true. The 538-yard par-5 doglegs through the forest to a tough final stretch that includes water on one side and a series of deep sand bunkers to the right. The best part of wrapping up this round on a challenging note is finding the 19th hole at the stately clubhouse or nearby in Murrells Inlet, the Seafood Capital of S.C.
The natural beauty of the Pawleys Island, S.C., Lowcountry is on full display on the final hole. A tight tree-lined fairway leads to a massive salt marsh that serves as an imposing waste bunker that runs the length of the 455-yard par 4. The Ron Garl design leaves little room for error and opens the door to a last-hole comeback for those who play it correctly.
Chalk up another classic closing hole for Mike Strantz at this Caledonia sister property. The 437-yard par-4 requires players to carry over a small lake before navigating a series of waste bunkers and a narrow strip of land to the heavily sloped green. Water backs up to the green and swallows up any shots that are too aggressive. After holing out, the beautiful blue-roofed clubhouse and 19th hole are only steps away.
This unique layout brings some of the world’s most popular holes and courses to one location in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and gives golfers a chance to experience what it’s like to play top courses like Augusta National and Pebble Beach. The closing hole replicates the 18th hole at St. Andrews, down to the detail of the Swilcan Bridge where Arnold Palmer waves goodbye to the golf world. Be sure to get your picture taken on it because you might not be smiling when you reach the sloped green.
Put these popular finishing holes on your to-play list when booking your next golf getaway with Myrtle Beach Golf. After all, it’s not how you start but how you finish that determines your happiness at the end of your round.