Arcadian Shores Golf Club has stood the test of time, delivering a round of golf that leaves players clamoring for a replay 35 years after its opening.
We talked with venerable head golf professional Frank Coughlin about the surge Arcadian Shores has enjoyed since a 2017 renovation project that included a new clubhouse, greens, cart paths and bunkers. The project reenergized the course and pushed it back toward the top of the area’s offerings.
According to Coughlin, the man who knows the course best, here are the five biggest reasons for the popularity of Arcadian Shores (in addition to consistently good conditions):
— One thing time doesn’t change is the quality of a course’s design, and Arcadian is one of the best. The layout was Rees Jones’ first solo design, and it has proved to be an enduring work. Arcadian was ranked among America’s top 100 public courses by Golf Digest in the mid-1970s, and while it may not enjoy those sort of lofty rankings today, the course remains a draw. During a recent survey of Myrtle Beach area PGA professionals, Arcadian Shores was voted the area’s 17th best course.
— A primary reason for the layout’s popularity is the straightforward nature of the challenge. There are no blind tee shots or hidden hazards and with five sets of tees – four of them between 5,628 and 6,857 yards – Arcadian Shores is playable for every level of golfer.
— The key to success, according to Coughlin, is finding the fairway off the tee. The course plays just 6,026 yards from the white tees so if you need to use 3-wood or hybrid to avoid playing from the omni-present tree-line, please do so because …
— Arcadian Shores’ greens, which typically run at 10.5 on the stimpmeter, are fast and undulating. Players need to be in the right spot to score, something that is difficult if you are playing from the trees. If you like greens with the occasional elephant buried beneath them, you will love Arcadian Shores.
— Holes 13-14-15 are the best stretch at Arcadian. A par 4 that requires a carry over water off a downhill lie, No. 13 is the course’s signature hole. The approach can be daunting but when the green is ringed by blooming azalea bushes in the spring, the view is stunning. The 14th is a straightaway, 267-yard par 4 that offers the day’s best chance at birdie, but the course stiffens on the par 3 15th. Playing 168 yards from the back tees, the 15th green is wider than it is deep and it’s fronted by bunker that swallows golf balls like John Daly eating a bag of M&Ms. It’s a stretch of holes in the middle of the back nine Coughlin loves and you will, too.