Story by Ian Guerin
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | Conventional wisdom says courses should be run in a certain straight line. Along South Carolina’s Grand Strand golfing mecca, that timeline typically includes a late winter or early spring grand opening, rolling right on through the hot summer months and then showing off the goods again come fall. But locally, a handful of courses bucked that trend by originally debuting their tee sheets during the Autumn months. It would make sense that some of those same options still thrive during that part of the year, making themselves worthy of a place in your next Myrtle Beach fall golf vacation.
DUNES GOLF & BEACH CLUB
Not once, not twice, not even three times, did the prestigious Dunes Club elect to go against the grain in decisions on when to open either its initial projects or major upgrades. Beginning with its original nine-open commencement on Oct. 22, 1949 and continuing with its expansion to a full 18 the following December and then renovation projects in December of 2003 and late September of 2013, Dunes is an example that others have followed. All the course has done amid those carefully selected dates is win award after award and find itself commonly mentioned as one of the best courses the area has to offer.
GLEN DORNOCH WATERWAY GOLF LINKS
Much like the other courses on this list, Glen Dornoch sought to offer something so different that it’s fall 1996 opening date wasn’t going to matter in the long haul. It did that by combining relatively significant elevation changes, centuries-old oaks and views of one of the busiest stretches of the Intracoastal Waterway. Within its first three years, Clyde Johnston’s layout was honored by various publications as a Myrtle Beach top 10 nod, a South Carolina top-25 distinction and as one of the country’s best 50 courses for women.
LEGENDS GOLF & RESORT, PARKLAND COURSE
The youngest of Legends’ three on-site courses has a nice ace up its sleeve when it comes to highlighting itself later in the year. Much like its original opening in October of 1992, Parkland’s tree-lined fairways on virtually every hole protect the playing surfaces from much of the normal damage caused by either the summer sun or the late-fall temperature swings that can change playability in a heartbeat. And following a major bunker refurbishment in 2017, the course is again going to peak come Autumn.
LITCHFIELD COUNTRY CLUB
Considering what Litchfield’s owners were trying to do at the time, the stance on opening later in the year was conceived well in advance. Built as a way to attract more traffic to its seaside inn, the Willard Byrd design opened on November 19, 1966 in order to add to what was already a steady number of visitors in the spring and summer. With the course in place, Litchfield accomplished its goal so well that Byrd’s course remains relatively unchanged in its 50-plus years of play.
WORLD TOUR GOLF LINKS
Fall golf packages were starting to increase dramatically in the mid-late 1990s, and while World Tour’s replica design wasn’t singlehandedly driving play all its own, the Mel Graham option (that originally opened as a 27-hole course) provided something for that first Autumn that no other course in the Myrtle Beach area had provided before or since. In October of 1999, the course that combines the iconic holes from the likes of Augusta National, St. Andrews, Winged Foot and plenty more rewarded those who crossed the Intracoastal Waterway.