Story by Ian Guerin
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | The “Myrtle Beach” name has sprawled well beyond the actual city limits. Horry County, after all, holds the distinction of being the largest one this side of the Mississippi, and the area known as the Grand Strand stretches into Georgetown County to the south. But for as much as many of the 90 or so local courses and housing options draw players away from the city center, visitors electing to stay closer to the middle of it all have plenty of reason to take advantage of the nearest options. Be it easily navigable directions or a cheap Uber ride, these ten courses will all but negate your travel times and get you on the first tee in a hurry.
BURNING RIDGE GOLF CLUB
When Gene Hamm went on a design bender in Myrtle Beach in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, he continued to find new ways to incorporate the land available to him in different ways. Burning Ridge may be among the most diverse of his layouts. The existing 18 (once known as the East Course) mixes slivered creeks with wide landing zones in the fairways, mounded berms, clean green-side bunkers and elevated greens.
GRANDE DUNES RESORT COURSE
Just north of city center sits a consensus top-10 course in the area, as Grande Dunes’ impressive resume boasts the recently opened Performance Center, pristine turf conditions top undulated surfaces and a top-notch Roger Rulewich Group layout, much of which adorns the cliffs overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway. Even though it’s one of Myrtle Beach’s newest courses, it has already put itself in many golfers’ must-play list.
MYRTLE BEACH NATIONAL
One of the oldest multi-course options in the area is going strong four-and-a-half decades into its playing days. The conglomerate of King’s North, SouthCreek and West Courses gives players three fantastic options spawning off one oversized clubhouse and all of the expectations of an Arnold Palmer property. King’s North is the jewel, perhaps, but a large number of locals have turned the other two into their home courses for years.
MYRTLEWOOD GOLF CLUB
Opened just prior to Myrtle Beach National, Myrtlewood’s double-up of its PineHills (1966) and Palmetto Courses (1972) has turned walk-in play into an art form. The PineHills track, which was redesigned in 1992-1993, recently renovated its greens and extended them back to their previous dimensions. The neighboring Palmetto Course, meanwhile, draws rave reviews for its finishing hole. There, the entire fairway and green runs parallel to the Intracoastal Waterway.
PINE LAKES COUNTRY CLUB
It’s good to be the first, as Pine Lakes has discovered throughout the years. Opened in 1927 as part of the old Ocean Forest Country Club, Pine Lakes has been altered slightly here and there while re-establishing much of Robert White’s original layout. The course has also recently re-instituted its Scottish feel, with plenty of plaid and bow ties from its staff. Chowder and mimosas further players feel like they’ve gone back in time.
WILD WING GOLF PLANTATION
On April 1, 1993, Larry Nelson’s design at Wild Wing joined the once-mega facility that formerly included three other 18-hole courses. Eventually, much of those other three were re-zoned for housing, but Nelson’s Avocet course was selected to anchor the property for the future. Along with the nine-hole Hummingbird Course (formed using portions of the closed courses), Avocet consistently proves its worth to carry the Wild Wing banner.
WORLD TOUR GOLF LINKS
Bridging the gap between nine states and three countries, the replica design at World Tour was no rushed process. Mel Graham took nearly a full decade analyzing some of the planet’s more creative and memorable holes and found a way to package them together into one layout in Myrtle Beach. The end result is 18 holes that takes players across the Atlantic and back, up to Canada and down to the Georgia, all in a four-hour time frame.