In the Myrtle Beach area, competition among the dozens of golf courses that call the Grand Strand home is friendly, but fierce. And in the southern part of the region — south of Myrtle Beach International Airport, essentially — pride and prosperity drive the courses to offer the best possible golf experience to visitors and locals alike.
Course operators know that Myrtle Beach golf travelers can be a discerning bunch, so they try their hardest to win loyalty and business by offering immaculate golf course conditions and friendly, attentive service to complement a fun, challenging golf course. According to the readers of MyrtleBeachGolf.com, here are the top five golf courses on the South Strand:
In a region rich in courses, player-turned-architect Gary Player has designed just one golf course (so far). That course is Blackmoor, a fun, modern course that winds through a dense coastal pine forest just west of Route 707 in Murrells Inlet. It is home to one of the most memorable single holes on the Grand Strand: the par-4 eighth, which forces the golfer to make an important decision — hit a tee shot down the fairway to the left before doglegging back right to the green, or choose a narrow, straight path cut through the trees in order to seize a rare opportunity to putt for eagle. Those who choose the bold route are faced with a fun chance to gain bragging rights in the bar after the round.
Over the years, the TPC brand has become synonymous with high-quality, PGA Tour-style golf courses and experiences, and Myrtle Beach’s own outpost is no exception — it is, after all, the home course of Tour superstar Dustin Johnson whenever he’s in town. The Tom Fazio/Lanny Wadkins collaborative effort also has the distinct honor of being a course where the great Tom Watson has won. In capturing the 2000 Senior PGA Tour Championship there, Watson navigated a tough closing duo of holes where water comes into play: the intimidating par-3 17th and the risk-reward par-5 18th, where a creek and lake can scuttle a player’s designs on a closing birdie or eagle.
Traveling golfers with a sense of humor and whimsy tend to enjoy island-green holes. Tradition, designed by Ron Garl and opened in 1996, is home to two of them: the par-4 seventh and the short par-3 15th. The other 16 holes deliver plenty of challenge and fun, as well, and the course has come to be known as one of the most meticulously maintained layouts on the entire Grand Strand. The 18th is a long, narrow par four where players must avoid a large, sandy waste area that runs down the left side of the hole. Tradition is also a favorite course for beginners and juniors, with a front set of tees at just over 4,000 yards. At a time when many courses are being retrofitted for their own short tees, Tradition is ahead of the times.
If you miss the turn for the clubhouse at Tradition Golf Club, you may well end up at its sister course, Willbrook Plantation — and you won’t be disappointed. Designed by Dan Maples, Willbrook is one of the South Strand’s most-respected layouts. Its strength is in its versatility — not only does it provide an adequate challenge for the low-handicapper and long hitter, it is particularly beloved by visiting ladies, so much so that the course has appeared many times on “Most Women-Friendly Courses” lists in various golf publications.
1. River Club
The current most popular among South Strand golf courses is River Club, a Tom Jackson design that is home to some of the fastest, smoothest greens in the Southeast. The layout is equally strong, culminating with one of the Myrtle Beach area’s most famous par fives: a hard dogleg left around a lake where players with a gambler’s spirit can go for a peninsula of fairway in order to leave themselves as little as a mid-iron onto the green — and a very real chance to cap off a memorable round with an eagle.
Remember: these rankings are not set in stone. So be sure to check back at MyrtleBeachGolf.com to see where your fellow Myrtle Beach golf travelers rank your favorite layouts in the future.