The US Open is widely considered the toughest of all of golf’s majors. The winner – yes, the winner – is typically lucky to finish under par due to the course’s difficulty. And we are talking about the best golfers in the world. When compared to the beauty and potentially very low scores we see at The Masters, the US Open is a brutal, tortuous four days of golf. When the United States Golf Association (USGA) considers courses as potential options for the major, it looks at 14 factors. Those include the length of the holes, rough height including density and stages of severity, hole locations and risk and reward options.
The question is: what Myrtle Beach area course is the best candidate to host a US Open? Considering US Open courses are planned years in advance and are maniacally changed to make them even more difficult to play, these courses could be downright diabolical by the time the world’s greatest golfers would arrive:
• Barefoot Golf – The Pete Dye Course – this resort hosts many events including Golf Channel’s show Big Break: Myrtle Beach. The current tournament course rating is 76.0 with a slope of 146. Just imagine how the course would play once the USGA thickens up the already thick rough and adds yardage to a 7,300-yard course. Would they dare change the par 5 12th to a 538-yard par 4? It’s always a possibility.
• Grande Dunes – The Resort Course – from the gold tees, this course has a rating of 77.3 with a slope of 142. At more than 7,600 yards, the course is a monster. The par 3 8th hole checks in at 241 yards, while the par 3 14th measures 244. Ocean breezes or not, some pros may be happy to settle with bogeys on these treacherous par 3s.
• Rivers Edge Golf Club – this course won’t currently scare golfers due to its length, checking in at 6,900 yards, but you can be sure the USGA would find a way to add to that number. The 74.7 rating and 149 slope are the frightening parts of this course. This Arnold Palmer design features a number of marshes and dangerous shots that require navigating over water.
• TPC Myrtle Beach – with a formidable 74.2 rating and 146 slope from the black tees, this course has a history of hosting professionals, including the Senior Tour Championship in 2000. The USGA would likely add some length to the course and/or change some par 5s to par 4s in order to US Open-ize the course a bit more. The 18th might be a good candidate for a long par 4 – with a split fairway and water affecting wayward approach shots. As a TPC course, it could definitely be up for consideration for the US Open.
These are our choices for the toughest courses in Myrtle Beach that could be made into US Open tracks. While there is certainly a ton of politicking that goes into the USGA’s decision-making process, from a pure golf perspective, it’s tough to argue with this fearsome foursome. Thick rough, pure length, natural wetlands and a true professional experience fit the bill for US Open golf. Maybe if we could magically combine all four of these golf gems into one golf course that would catch the USGA’s attention!