South Carolina’s Grand Strand is home to 90 courses, all with their particular sales pitches. And when it comes to playability, the Myrtle Beach area boasts plenty who fit the bit. Our two local experts, Chris King and Ian Guerin, jumped all over the topic to debate which local course should be considered not only the most player friendly and rewarding.
IAN GUERIN: Chris, we haven’t done one of these in a while, so maybe we should at least spell out some ground rules. A lot of people hear or read “player friendly” and immediately associate a course with being easy. And while, no, I don’t imagine either of us are going to be mentioning the likes of TPC of Myrtle Beach or Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club, it felt necessary to point out that anyone who follows our advice shouldn’t be thinking they’re going to walk onto any of the follow courses and shoot five-under par.
CHRIS KING: Correct. Some layouts are easier to score on than others, but there is no such thing as an “easy” course, in my opinion. That being said, if I want a chance to post a good score, my first call is to the West Course at Myrtle Beach National. It’s 6,000 yards from the white tees, forced carries are at a minimum, and the greens are largely open in the front. You have plenty of margin for error off the tee and the relative lack of length makes recovery a little easier. The greens generally slope from back to front and there isn’t a lot of undulation, so you will have chances to make putts at the West Course, as well.
IG: I’ve said for a long time that any list talking about player-friendly courses in Myrtle Beach has to include West. It’s got some quirks – a Par 3 finisher, for instance – but every step of the way, you’re greeted with a clean design the keeps your rhythm going. Translation: West isn’t going to kick your butt, as long as you’re not being stupid. For those exact reasons, that’s why I trend toward Tradition Golf Club. It’s got everything a player would want from start to finish to earn its inviting reputation.
CK: Tradition is another good one. The greens have been superb since the installation of new Sunday Bermudagrass in 2018 and the layout is friendly. Another course I feel good about my chances of scoring on is the Wizard. The links style design is open and the greens are large and relatively flat, though you do need to beware of the last three holes. The closing three holes are more classically American, playing around a lake that brings the possibility of big numbers into play near the end, but you can absolutely go low there.
IG: You hit the nail on the head with Tradition and what those greens do for player satisfaction. In many ways, the Sunday was the icing on the cake there – much like it was at others who did the same install around the same time. It allows golfers an opportunity to take more relaxed shots at the pins, knowing a wider green that is in better shape will reward you.
CK: In terms of playability – standby for a cliche! – playing from the right set of tees is as important as the layout. Most courses don’t overwhelm players willing to check their ego and move up a set of tees, if necessary. That being said, if I’m in need of a confidence booster, in addition to the courses we’ve already discussed, I never mind seeing the PineHills at Myrtlewood (top photo) and Meadowlands on the itinerary. Matter of fact, I’m need to head to the first tee now.