Jack Nicklaus designed two Myrtle Beach golf courses, both of which opened in 1989. Pawleys Plantation, a layout renowned for its beauty, attracts all the attention while Long Bay remains a favorite of locals without the fanfare that accompanies its sister course.
That gulf in acclaim has no impact on the quality of the experience, but it created a dynamic that has made Long Bay arguably Myrtle Beach’s best value course.
Let’s get this out of the way early, value isn’t synonymous with cheapest in this case.
In a survey of Myrtle Beach PGA professionals, Long Bay was voted the area’s 20th best layout, a testament to the quality of its design and condition. Despite the course’s standing in the market, Long Bay is priced like a middle tier layout when compared to its upper-class peers, generating the value golfers appreciate.
Here are 5 things you need to know about the Long Bay experience and why it’s a great option for your next golf trip:
● The Sun News, Myrtle Beach’s local paper, once assembled a list of the area’s top 100 golf holes and Long Bay was home to three of them – No. 10, No. 13 and No. 18, helping make the back 9 one of the Grand Strand’s strongest. The 10th (pictured right) is home to the famed horseshoe-shaped bunker that turns the fairway into a virtual island, No. 13, an island green par 3, is Long Bay’s most photographed hole, and No. 18 (top photo) is a daunting dogleg right that will test the best of players.
● The Golden Bear didn’t have waterfront property to work with at Long Bay but he made masterful use of waste bunkers to frame holes in ways that are visually and architecturally appealing. Your sand game will need to be sharp but Long Bay is unforgettable in its own way.
● There is a statue of Nicklaus in front of the clubhouse that your group needs to get a picture taken with. It’s part of the experience.
● Located in Longs, just west of the beach, Long Bay Golf Club has a reputation for being off the beaten path by Myrtle Beach standards, which has played a part in its lower than deserved profile. Like many things, perception and reality don’t always walk hand-in-hand. Thanks to Highway 31, the commute to Long Bay is an easy one, but old reputations die hard. If you want to play Long Bay, the drive won’t be an onerous one.
● Long Bay is a significant test of golf. This isn’t a course where you are likely to shoot a career best round, but it provides a fair assessment of your game. There are opportunities to score, including the 356-yard (white tees) sixth hole, and holes you just hope to survive, but in the end, Long Bay’s combination of quality design, creativity and low profile, help make it the area’s most value-packed round.