Like the courses on which they reside, the Grand Strand’s par fives are distinct and, for the most part, very good. It is presumptive to try to put forth a declarative list of the best three-shotters, so here, in no particular order, are ten of the many very, very good ones in the Myrtle Beach area.
Hole No. 13, The Dunes Club: 590 yards/545/520/500/465—It’s certainly the most famous par five on the Grand Strand, but is it the best? Who knows, but either way it is a dangerous odyssey and the longest hole on this list. Nicknamed “Waterloo,” it curls around Lake Singleton in the shape of a “C” to a green guarded by three bunkers.
Hole No. 8, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club: 528/512/477/429—The second of Caledonia’s three par fives, this hole is a consummate risk-reward proposition: hit a good tee shot and the opportunity to try for the green arises. But such a shot requires a considerable carry over a stream that fronts the putting surface, separated into distinct front (low) and rear (high) tiers.
Hole No. 14, Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club: 525/495/471/446/409—The final par five on one of the Grand Strand’s two Jack Nicklaus Signature courses is a beauty, curling to the right around an expanse of marsh. Most of the time, general wisdom dictates that if you are going to lay up, it is best to take an iron and play to a spot in the fairway to leave a full shot. But because the narrow 14th green at Pawleys Plantation is angled sharply from front-left to back-right, the best layup is the longest shot the player is comfortable hitting, ideally leaving a pitch up the length of the green.
Hole No. 6, Myrtle Beach National (King’s North): 568/525/497/484/430—A Grand Strand par five so well-known that it has a nickname—“The Gambler”—the sixth at King’s North. It doglegs to the left around a lake, but for those who want to risk a high number at the expense of a chance for an eagle, there is an island fairway in the lake that shortens the hole by some 70 yards. For those who take the conventional route, three large fairway bunkers guard the right side off the tee.
Hole No. 18, River Club: 518/493/369—Another par five for players who like to gamble a bit. This one is shorter, with a peninsula of fairway sticking out tantalizingly, letting the bold challenge a pond with their tee shots in pursuit of an iron approach.
Hole No. 18, TPC Myrtle Beach: 538/515/496/473/443—The Tom Fazio gem located in Murrells Inlet finishes with a flourish with a dangerous par three and this reachable par five whose fairway is bisected by a creek and whose green is guarded by a pond on the left. Merely laying up does not ensure safety, though, as fairway and greenside bunkers are scattered on the right side.
Hole No. 7, Legends Resort (Heathland): 479/459/429/295—The Heathland course is Tom Doak’s only Myrtle Beach design. Doak, a minimalist who draws inspiration from the classic links of Great Britain and Ireland, crafted an homage to St. Andrews’ famous Road Hole, though this is a par 5 version. A steep dropoff to the right of the green simulates the road while a nasty pot bunker eats into the left side of the putting surface and swallows up reckless shots and the golfers who hit them.
Hole No. 9, Thistle Golf Club (Mackay Nine): 558/530/500/426/400—Tim Cate has designed a number of courses in the northern parts of the Grand Strand and the 27-hole complex at Thistle just over the North Carolina border is a gem. The closing hole on the Mackay (formerly the West) side is brawny, with water all down the left and a green guarded by a large beach bunker. The stone clubhouse stands majestically in the background.
Hole No. 13, Tidewater Plantation: 543/529/475/460/377—Tidewater occupies a gorgeous piece of marsh-front property in Little River and sports a number of picturesque holes. One of these is the 13th, a straightaway three-shotter whose entire right side is bordered by wetlands. Players bold enough to go for the green in two will have to avoid six greenside bunkers.
Hole No. 8, Barefoot Resort (Dye Club): 543/486/445/400—Pete Dye, the living dean of golf course architecture, is responsible for many thrilling, strategic par fives. His course at Barefoot Resort has four excellent ones, with the eighth hole being the best of the bunch. It is reachable by the longest hitters but for us mortals, a copse of centerline bunkers complicates the layup. Hitting left of them opens up the view of the green but brings a pond into play. Laying up behind or to the right of them results in a blind or semi-blind approach. What to do? T
hese ten three-shotters are by no means meant to be a be-all, end-all list of the best par fives Myrtle Beach and the surrounding areas have to offer. If you have a glaring omission to this list that you’d like to tell us about, let us know! Otherwise, come down to Myrtle Beach and get on the birdie train.