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This feature appears in the Fall 2016 issue of Golf Insider Magazine. To read more from the latest issue. click here.
There is a tendency in life to gravitate towards what is new, but typically standing the test of time is the truest indicator of quality. That is certainly the case at Oyster Bay Golf Links, one of the Grand Strand’s premier layouts.
The Dan Maples design opened to universal acclaim in 1983, winning “Best New Resort Course” honors from Golf Digest, and it has only gotten better with age. The combination of a beautiful piece of coastal property, a commitment to service, and Maples’ design wizardry has kept the course atop the playlist for smart group leaders.
“It’s one of the original courses down here,” Head Pro Tim Jackson said. “It’s a timeless classic.”
While Oyster Bay Golf Club’s popularity has grown over time, management is always looking for ways to improve the experience. Hence, the clubhouse enjoyed a recent face lift, modernizing the facility and making it a more inviting venue for a post-round meal or drink.
But it’s the layout that brings players back. Maples’ original work has been largely left untouched, allowing its quality to shine. The one minor exception is a recently completed change to Oyster Bay’s signature hole, the drivable par-4 13th.
The hole plays just 280 yards from the middle tees with water lurking on the right, but the cavernous bunker that fronts the green has been slightly reduced in size, providing some bailout room. It’s a change designed to help the mid-to-high handicapper.
“Big hitters can go for the green,” Jackson said. “Smart players play a 3 or 5 wood and lay up to 100 yards, but you have to know your distances. A little more strategy (on No. 13) pays off.”
The 13th might be the signature hole, but it’s only the start of the fun heading down the stretch. The 15th and 17th holes are island green par 3s and the penultimate green is ringed by the course’s trademark oyster shells, making it a favorite of everyone with a smartphone camera.
Between those two beauties is the beast - No. 16, which might be the hardest par 4 at the beach. The 16th plays 389 yards from the white tees (a mammoth 450 yards from the blues) and water dissects the fairway, guaranteeing a long approach.
While the back nine garners a lot of attention, the front side is no less appealing. The Calabash River comes into play on No. 5 through No. 8, creating some of the course’s most memorable views.
In all, there is water on 16 of 18 holes, and Oyster Bay rewards precision far more than power. Golfers that hit the ball straight will be playing from the fairway and have a huge advantage.
Regardless, any Myrtle Beach golf trips that includes Oyster Bay on the itinerary is a good one.