Waccamaw Golf Trail: The South Strand’s ‘Birdie Dozen’ Part One of Two

Being that the Grand Strand is such a large expanse of coastal land, it is good, when thinking about it, to imagine it as multiple segments.  Most agree on a three-way separation: the North, Central and South Strands.  Vacationers to the area tend to spend the majority of their time in the portion of the Strand where they are staying, a testament to the distribution of great vacation amenities throughout the greater Myrtle Beach area.

As with hotels, restaurants and attractions, Myrtle Beach’s golf offerings are spread quite evenly through all three sub-regions of the Grand Strand.  The South Strand features an exquisite cadre of golf courses; one could spend two weeks and not play all of its enjoyable courses.  Twelve of the very best of these courses comprise the Waccamaw Golf Trail, from the charming, historic town of Georgetown in the south to Murrells Inlet—the seafood capital of the state of South Carolina—in the north.  Let’s take a look at the courses:

Blackmoor Golf Club, located in Murrells Inlet, is the northernmost Waccamaw Golf Trail course.  A Gary Player design, it has a loyal following of golfers who hold its 18 unique and interesting holes in high regard.  The best of these holes is the 8th, which can either be played as a sharp dogleg-right or, for long hitters, a narrow, straight, risk-reward 300-yard par four.

Just to the south of Blackmoor is TPC at Myrtle Beach, a Tom Fazio-designed gem that is consistently rated as one of the top courses on the Grand Strand.  It held the Senior Tour Championship in 2000 and hosts PGA Tour players such as Dustin Johnson (who holds the course record, a nine-under par 63) when they come to town, as well as thousands of visiting amateur golfers who want to play where the pros play.

TPC at Myrtle Beach is not the only Waccamaw Golf Trail course that has held high-level professional tournaments.  Wachesaw Plantation East, a Clyde Johnston design, hosted an LPGA event for four years.  It features one of the Trail’s best par fives: the 500-yard risk-reward 17th, with a green fronted by a meandering creek.

Willbrook Plantation is the Trail’s next course going south, located in Litchfield Beach.  It is a Dan Maples design that meanders through dense forest and out onto wetlands that branch off the Waccamaw River, the scenic and ancient body of water for which the Trail is named.  The green at Willbrook’s home hole, a 535-yard par five, backs up to a tributary of the river and inspired many players to head straight to the first tee for another round.

Voted among the “Best New Public Courses” by Golf Digest when it opened in 1996, Tradition Club has been a popular South Strand course ever since.  Designed by Ron Garl, Tradition Club offers a fair, fun challenge to all levels of player, with sets of tees ranging from the 6,875 yard Tournament set down to the 4,106 yard Forward set, which is ideal for ladies and junior players.  Two holes with island greens supply plenty of drama as well.

One of the venerable courses on the South Strand, the Willard Byrd-designed Litchfield Country Club has been in operation since 1972.  Always in excellent shape and with an intimate, cozy feel, Litchfield welcomes many of its players back year after year with a convivial atmosphere that is appreciated by locals and visitors alike.

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