Pssst! Want to know one of the best-kept golf secrets on the Grand Strand? Here’s a hint: For golfers who fly into Myrtle Beach International Airport, it’s literally right under your nose.
OK, so Whispering Pines Golf Course is far from a secret for regular Myrtle Beach visitors. Built in 1962 and located on the south end of the city, it’s hard to miss, especially now that the recent Harrelson Boulevard extension and airport renovations are complete. In fact, the entrance to Whispering Pines is only about a long par-5 from the runway to the fairway.
But for golfers who have only used the Myrtle Beach area’s only municipal course as a reference point for the other courses on your play list, you’re missing out on one of the good news golf stories on the Strand over the past few years. Once on the verge of closing because it was losing close to a quarter-million dollars per year, Whispering Pines has made a remarkable turnaround.
Under the leadership of a private management group, investments in course improvements and marketing have paid big dividends for Whispering Pines. Branded as an “Original Myrtle Beach Golf Gem,” the little muni that could is already in the red, turning a small profit for the city last year. That money is going back into course enhancements and facility upgrades, which has already exceeded $100,000 since Atlantic Golf Management took over operations of the course in 2014.
In the interim, Whispering Pines has undergone several renovation projects to add to the playability and aesthetic appeal of the layout. Well maintained and manicured, Whispering Pines is like an oasis in the heart of the bustling city. Located only minutes from some of Myrtle Beach’s most popular attractions, such as Broadway at the Beach, The Market Common and the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, Whispering Pines provides a good deal of seclusion on the 200-acre property.
Situated on land previously belonging to the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, the course features scenic wetlands, woodlands and a surprising amount of wildlife. In fact, Whispering Pines is the only Myrtle Beach layout designated as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary by the Audubon International. Designed by Finger, Dye, and Spahn, the 6,771-yard, par-72 layout provides a straight-forward test of golf with some challenging holes among the four par-3s, 10 par-4s and four par-5s.
The small-course appeal of the layout, along with the central location and the affordability of play, have combined to make Whispering Pines a well-guarded secret among local golfers. Frequent flyers have also discovered the not-so-hidden treasure thanks to the proximity to the airport. Visitors who book their trip through Myrtle Beach Golf can include it as a part of their golf package or book an appropriate tee time around your flight to sneak in nine or 18 holes on the same date as their arrival or departure.
Golfers can also hang out in the friendly clubhouse until it’s time to go to the airport. The walls are covered with historic photos of Myrtle Beach’s early days and the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base’s heyday, excellent conversation pieces for the longtime locals and members who frequent the course. Whispering Pines also has a pro shop with golf attire, equipment, lessons and souvenirs for the folks back home.
Best of all, the price is right as Whispering Pines is one of the most affordable links on the Grand Strand. With rates starting at $36 in the fall, golfers can’t afford not to take advantage of one of the best values in Myrtle Beach. We hope you enjoy your round at Whispering Pines; just don’t tell too many people about it.