Everyone waxes poetic about how wonderful it is to play golf in Myrtle Beach in the springtime. And indeed, it’s pretty awesome: an average April daily high of 71.9 degrees, relatively low humidity and the energy that comes with a packed golf vacation destination make it a haven for golf nuts from an hour’s drive to a day’s flight away. But the fall, due to similar temperatures and generally a slightly lighter number of visitors, may be even better, especially for the value-conscious. October, after all, beats April’s high temperature by three full degrees.
Fall certainly isn’t the least expensive time of year to play golf in Myrtle Beach, but book early and through MyrtleBeachGolf.com and you might be surprised how much you save on an excellent trip. The following courses always look good, but autumn is an especially good time to check them out.
Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club
Pawleys Plantation, one of the Grand Strand’s only two Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses, turns 25 this year and has scarcely looked better. Since area company National Golf Management bought the course a few years ago, course conditions are the best they have been in a long time and the facilities have received much-deserved upgrades, including a reconfigured parking area that will improve the flow of traffic and create more parking spots.
Pawleys’ famous back nine needs little discussion, as the near-island green par three 13th and marsh-side final three holes have received plenty of accolades over the years.
Caledonia Golf & Fish Club
One of two neighbor courses (the other being True Blue Plantation) designed by late visionary architect Mike Strantz, Caledonia is part arboretum, part golf course. It plays only about 6,500 yards from the back tee, but its par of 70 makes it play a bit longer, as do many greens where rear hole locations can add some 20 yards to the length of the hole. The relatively unheralded par three third is such a hole, where a nearly 60-yard long green encourages players to hit low tee shots that scurry up part or all of the putting surface towards a middle or rear hole location. And then there’s the famous par four 18th, clubhouse looking over the green, lake guarding right side of the hole.
Grande Dunes Resort Club
Grande Dunes is a modern beauty designed by longtime Robert Trent Jones, Sr. collaborator Roger Rulewich. Trent Jones’ influence on Rulewich is clear, as Grande Dunes is long on big features—spacious fairways, large, multi-sectioned greens and numerous holes where water comes into play. In many cases over the final ten holes on the course, the scenic Intracoastal Waterway serves as a flanking hazard. On the picturesque long par three 14th hole, the Waterway lies all down the right and a tee shot that hits just a few feet right of the green may bound down its banks into oblivion.
Barefoot Resort – Dye Club
The Dye Club at Barefoot Resort is the class of four very good golf courses on the property, located in North Myrtle Beach. Designed by modern golf master architect Pete Dye, it is characteristic of Dye’s philosophy: high on drama, plenty of trouble.
Abrupt mounds, nasty pot bunkers, huge waste bunkers, water hazards, railroad ties—all the main Pete Dye tricks are here. But so too are fairly generous fairways, and spacious (though undulating) greens. Like so many Dye courses, his course at Barefoot Resort has a bark that is worse than its bite. But make no mistake; there is plenty of bite as well. Take its five par fours longer than 460 yard from the back tees. Or the 227-yard par three 15th with its green seemingly suspended above a steep hillside.
But the Dye Club giveth as well. Holes like the short par four 10th can be birdied with two clear-headed, well executed shots. So can the par fives which, while beguiling in their calls for thoughtful decision-making, are gettable. The combination of easier holes and very hard holes—so many golf courses consist, unfortunately, mostly of hole that are somewhere in between—means the player always thinks he or she has a chance at the Dye Club. Small wonder it was recently named “Golf Course of the Year” by the Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association.
Laid out by Rees Jones and adjusted by local developer Ken Tomlinson, Tidewater is one of the northern Grand Strand’s most popular courses and perhaps the most scenic course on the entire Grand Strand. A whopping nine of its 18 holes feature long-range marsh views of some kind, either of the Intracoastal Waterway or of Cherry Grove Inlet. The best of these are the par three 12th and par five 13th, where more than a few golfers can post consecutive fours on their scorecards on any given day. The latter hole is very reachable in two, with a frying pan-shaped green guarded by half a dozen bunkers in the front, left and right.
It is essentially impossible to go wrong playing any of these golf courses, especially in the fall. For more information and to book your fall golf getaway, consult the experts at myrtlebeachgolf.com