Golf course architecture buffs love to debate the merits of various layouts, but it takes a certain level of expertise to credibly join that debate. The one thing we all appreciate in a course is beauty. Myrtle Beach has layouts that play along the Intracoastal Waterway, various saltwater marshes and inlets, and even a few that offer views of the Atlantic Ocean, so America’s most popular golf destination offers ample scenery.
While options are aplenty, here are Myrtle Beach’s five most beautiful layouts:
— Jack Nicklaus made maximum use of a stunning piece of land at Pawleys Plantation. The back nine has six holes that bring a tidal marsh into play, and it might be the prettiest stretch of holes in Myrtle Beach. The par 3 13th, which features a peninsula green surrounded on three sides by the marsh is one of the area’s iconic challenges.
— Tidewater Golf Club has long been regarded as a top 100 caliber course, and the layout’s beauty is one the primary reasons why. Eight holes play along Cherry Grove Inlet or the Intracoastal Waterway, and No. 3 and No. 12 are Myrtle Beach’s prettiest combination of par 3s. Throw-in a view of the Atlantic Ocean from the 13th green and it’s not difficult to understand Tidewater’s popularity.
— If there is a layout that can match the beauty Pawleys and Tidewater, it’s Rivers Edge. The Arnold Palmer design features six holes along the Shallotte River, including the par 5, ninth, which plays to a narrow green nearly surrounded by marsh. The ninth hole, along with the 13th at Pawleys, is on any list of Myrtle Beach’s most talked about holes.
— Of the six golf courses that play along the Intracoastal Waterway, none can match the views at Grande Dunes. Seven holes bring the waterway into play, including the par 3 14th, which requires one of the most exhilarating tees shots at the beach. The 14th tees off from an elevated bluff overlooking the Intracoastal, which runs along the right side of the green. It’s an unforgettable hole and course.
— Caledonia offers a different type of beauty, playing through a beautiful piece of lowcountry property. While the neck of the Waccamaw River comes into play on the layout’s famed 18th hole, players most remember the soaring live oak trees – the entrance is among golf’s most memorable – and the course’s impeccable landscaping. Mike Stranz’ first design is equal parts art and architecture.
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