In addition to being America’s most popular golf destination, Myrtle Beach has served as a launching pad for some of the game’s most prominent architects. You can be forgiven for not being aware of Myrtle Beach’s place in the increasingly prominent golf course architecture landscape, but that doesn’t diminish the area’s standing.
Here is a look at some of golf’s most famed course designers and their impact on the Myrtle Beach golf market.
— Arcadian Shores Golf Club (pictured above) was the first solo design by Rees Jones, setting him on the road to becoming the Open Doctor, a moniker he earned after helping redesign seven U.S. Open courses. Of course, he also redesigned six PGA Championship layouts and four Ryder Cup venues. After his work at Arcadian Shores, a layout that was ranked among the nation’s top 100 public courses by Golf Digest in the 1970s, Myrtle Beach golfers knew greatness awaited Rees.
— The Maverick, Mike Strantz, saw his life cut tragically short by cancer but he was a supernova on the architecture landscape, and it started at Caledonia Golf & Fish Club.(pictured below) Equal parts artist and architect, Strantz’ first solo design is a consensus top 100 public course and it immediately pushed him into the spotlight. He followed his work at Caledonia with its sister course, True Blue, another top 100 caliber design.
— While Tom Doak, who has four of the top 100 courses in the world to his credit, didn’t design his first course in Myrtle Beach, the Heathland Course at Legends Resort was among his earliest efforts, leaving little doubt that stardom awaited. Heathland is a links-style design that has been one of Myrtle Beach’s most popular layouts since the moment it opened.
— Davis Love III didn’t launch his architecture career in Myrtle Beach, but Barefoot Resort was the site of his first big-budget project. The former Ryder Cup captain took full advantage of the opportunity as the Love Course was regarded as (at least) the equal of the work done by Pete Dye, Tom Fazio and Greg Norman at Barefoot. The acclaim Love received at Barefoot helped catapult his design work to prominence.
— Tim Cate hasn’t received much in the way of national accolades, but he has worked almost exclusively just across the state line in North Carolina, much to the delight of Grand Strand golfers. Cate designed Thistle (pictured right) and three of the four Big Cats courses – Panther’s Run, Tiger’s Eye, Leopard’s Chase – among other courses in North Carolina’s Cape Fear region.