Many of golf’s biggest names have hoisted the Wanamaker Trophy in celebration of a win at the PGA Championship, including seven players who went on to design Myrtle Beach golf courses.
The PGA Championship winners who left their mark in Myrtle Beach – Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Raymond Floyd, Lanny Wadkins, Larry Nelson, Davis Love III and Nick Price – designed a total of eight area courses.
Those layouts include some of the Grand Strand’s most dramatic holes, especially if you like short par 4s. It’s possible major championship winning pedigree makes one gravitate toward risk-reward holes but regardless of the reasons, here are the five most exhilarating (short) holes designed by PGA Championship winners.
– The 10th hole on the Jack Nicklaus-designed Long Bay Club is 315 yards (all distances from white tees) of fun. The fairway is surrounded by a horseshoe shaped waste bunker that makes bombing the driver a less than prudent decision. Play to a yardage you are comfortable with on the approach and make sure you hit a green protected by sand and swales. Miss the putting surface and a big number comes into play. (Long Bay 10th hole pictured right)
– Speaking of big numbers, the eighth hole at Blackmoor Golf Club might present the area’s diciest risk-reward decision. Played conventionally, No. 8 is a 347-yard, dogleg right par 4, but Gary Player cut a chute through the trees. The shortcut reduces the hole to 270 yards, bringing the possibility of birdie or even eagle into play. The shot to the green is straight and there are no bunkers to contend with, but the passage is just 30 yards wide. Good luck if your ball sails into the surrounding pines. (Blackmoor 8th hole top photo)
– The 14th hole on Wild Wing’s Avocet Course, designed by 1978 PGA champion Larry Nelson, is a drivable par 4 with limited trouble. Sure, there is water to the right, but you deserve to lose a ball that strays that far off-line, and it takes 210 yards to clear a potentially troublesome bunker. A ridge running through the green is challenging but this is a birdie opportunity, even for higher handicappers.
– 1997 PGA champion Davis Love III’s most famous hole on his namesake course at Barefoot Resort is the 265-yard fourth, which is the back-stopped by the faux ruins of an old plantation home. The hole is slightly uphill and there are bunkers to contend with but the tee box might as well include a flashing sign that reads, “It’s Go Time!” There is no reason not to be aggressive here (FWIW, No. 5 is much more difficult!). (Barefoot Love 4th hole pictured right)
– Last but certainly not least is one of the most devilish holes in all of South Carolina – the par 3 13th at Pawleys Plantation, a Nicklaus design. The scorecard says 113 yards, but the white tees almost always play less than 80 yards to a peninsula green surrounded on three sides by a tidal