The fun part about booking a golf trip to Myrtle Beach is knowing you’re about to see the types of courses that aren’t available in your backyard.
The not-so-fun part is recognizing that you didn’t do your research.
South Carolina’s Grand Strand golf market was built on the backs of courses that welcome in the vast majority of players who aren’t looking to break course records and just want to have a good time. With close to 90 tracks to choose from, though, you better believe a few of them can not only beat you up, they’ll take your lunch money, as well.
If you’re not ready, maybe wait until next year to challenge these five courses.
DUNES GOLF & BEACH CLUB
Technically, anyone with the right stay-and-play package or connection can get onto what is arguably the area’s most prestigious course. That doesn’t mean everyone should. The Robert Trent Jones/Rees Jones semi-private layout plays at a max length of 7,450 yards, a distance very few should even attempt. The back nine here alone can mix it up with the best stretches of Myrtle Beach golf. Seeing how many professional tournaments have been played here, that makes sense.(Dunes Club 10th hole pictured right)
PAWLEYS PLANTATION GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
Even with how much this course has been softened up over the past few years, it’s impossible to overlook just how much it can show its teeth. The “easy” hole here is the 484-yard Par 5 at No. 1. It’s slender and includes a massive waste bunker and an ever-diminishing fairway. If you couldn’t tell, Jack Nicklaus was in his heyday of tough designs back in the late 1980s. As beautiful as many of the marsh-view holes here were, it never really lets up.
PRESTWICK COUNTRY CLUB
Please, for the love of the Golf Gods, heed the handicap warning and advice on the detailed scorecard. The white tees here are not what most folks would consider white-tee worthy, even if they are set at about 6,350 yards. Pete and PB Dye’s joint venture at Prestwick can be downright mean for anyone who isn’t hitting the ball with confidence. Seeing as the course can suck it out of most, well, yeah. Just move up a tee box and thank us later.(Prestwick Country Club 13th hole top photo)
TPC MYRTLE BEACH
One of the quote-unquote easiest holes of the day is a 482-yard Par 5 No. 2 in which players only have to deal with fairway bunkers, a pair of large ponds, trees, a slight curvature around all that and a segmented fairway. Tom Fazio was paid to build a course that could host a senior PGA tour event within months of opening. And he didn’t disappoint. Tom Watson did well here. Doesn’t mean you would. ( TPC Myrtle Beach 12th hole pictured right)
TRUE BLUE GOLF CLUB
Four years after Mike Strantz’s design at Caledonia took the world by storm with its beauty, the architect decided to make things a little more interesting with his sister layout at True Blue. This one is certainly the more difficult of the two, but it’s also among the toughest in the area. Thanks to its seemingly endless waste bunkers and an abuse of directional changes, True Blue isn’t for the faint of heart.