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Story By Ian Guerin
Don’t call them the comebacks. They’ve been here for years. But for whatever reason, these courses may have been passed over on your list of must-plays for the Myrtle Beach area. Maybe they aren’t centrally located; or possibly it’s their place among a cluster of other courses. Either way, it’s time make time for these five tracks and see exactly what they have to offer.
ARROWHEAD COUNTRY CLUB, MYRTLE BEACH
A few years back, a twice-tried and twice-failed theme park in the Forestbrook section of Horry County just outside Myrtle Beach likely prevented that part of town from making a bigger leap. Funny, since just a couple blocks away stands a 27-hole gem that should have already done it. Arrowhead Country Club is already into its third decade of operation and doing nicely despite its hidden location behind a handful of apartment complexes and some smaller neighborhoods. Just the same, the Raymond Floyd signature course, designed by Tom Jackson, has done just fine for itself without a stay and play boost.
FOUNDERS CLUB, PAWLEYS ISLAND
Surprisingly enough, some courses in the area ran away from their roots, their properties located minutes from an ocean and a foundation to match. At Founders Club, the redesigned course soaked up every bit of that it could.
The sand-heavy 18 holes here feature heavy waste bunkering, more of it for the cart paths and - if that wasn’t enough - a handful of not-so-conveniently placed pot bunkers. You will feel like you are close to the beach.
LONG BAY GOLF CLUB, LONGS
One of Jack Nicklaus’ early designs was tucked into the northern-most East-West corridor in and out of Myrtle Beach. And as such, it’s location in Longs leaves the foot traffic to a minimum. Those who choose to go the extra mile find a Nicklaus design that is anything but easy but also worthy of his name.
The statue of him out front precedes a 7,025-yard course full of creative waste bunkers (No. 10 is known around the country for this), extensive mounding and some extremely fair par 5s.
OYSTER BAY GOLF LINKS, SUNSET BEACH
The backroads into North Carolina just across the border feature some of the prettiest sights. And with Oyster Bay, they lead you to some one-of-a-kind visuals unable to be matched by any other course along the Grand Strand.
Nearly every hole is carved by the low-lying water just west of the Intracoastal Waterway and its inlets off Bird Island, a semi-appropriately named stretch of land separating Sunset Beach from the Atlantic Ocean. But even on the dry holes, the feel of wet stuff permeates, the predominance of oyster shells recycled into the cart paths and other portions of the design, including the outline of the green on the peninsula par-3 No. 17.
RIVER HILLS GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB, LITTLE RIVER
The north Strand course may be one of the great head-scratchers for first-time players for two reasons. First, those who are setting foot on it for the first time wish they had done so sooner. Secondly, repeat players are still trying to find a way to tame it.
The par-72 course combines elevation differences with tree-lined fairways, 13 holes worth of water-affected shots with wooden-banked approaches. The 6,400 yards from the white tees may not seem like much, but few courses require as much clubbing up as this one.