Myrtle Beach’s best courses have regularly been ranked among America’s top 100 public layouts, and everyone enjoys the opportunity to play a premier course.
Sometimes, whether the reasons are financial or otherwise, playing Caledonia may not be in the cards, but those elite courses occasionally have a lower profile doppelganger that offers a similar type of experience.
In a destination like Myrtle Beach, with 90 golf courses, here are a trio of examples where your desire to play a high-end layout might be partially satiated by a similar type of design.
● The Dunes Golf & Beach Club is generally regarded as Myrtle Beach’s best course. The Robert Trent Jones Sr. classic has hosted the U.S. Women’s Open, six Senior PGA Tour Championships, and it’s a consensus top 100 course. Some of you may be offended at the mere prospect of comparing it to another layout but hang with me. Just up the road, Rees Jones, RTJ’s son, designed Arcadian Shores Golf Club, and it’s not hard to see echoes of Dunes Club in it. The routing, live oak trees and bunkering at Arcadian Shores certainly seem inspired by the Dunes Club. Arcadian was Rees’ first solo design and it was an indicator of a promising future. (Arcadian Shores 9th hole pictured right)
● True Blue Golf Club is one of Myrtle Beach’s most creative designs. A byproduct of architect Mike Strantz’ unmatched imagination, True Blue combines massive fairways, greens and waste bunkers to create a test of golf that is unforgettable in both scale and fun. Needless to say, it’s a difficult experience to compete with, but Founders Club, another Pawleys Island facility, delivers an admiral facsimile. The Thomas Walker design isn’t built to the same scale – everything is big at True Blue – but both courses are defined visually by waste bunkers, hitting to elevated greens, and cart paths are a rarity. If you like True Blue, certainly give Founders a look. (Founders Club 15th hole top photo)
● Caledonia Golf & Fish Club is another consensus top 100 layout, so comparisons are again difficult, but Willbrook Plantation Golf Club makes a good run at. The Strantz designed Caledonia and Willbrook have differences, but they share one important trait – the lowcountry land both play through. Willbrook has more than a few holes framed by the soaring oaks trees draped in Spanish moss that people so closely associate with Caledonia. Those oak trees, native wetlands and alligators make Willbrook reminiscent of Caledonia. (Willbrook 6th hole pictured right)
The originals are hard to beat but these doppelgangers make for a more than enjoyable substitute if circumstances dictate.