Myrtle Beach’s PGA professionals ranked the area’s top 20 courses, and we’ve enjoyed pouring over the results. Local pros know the courses better than anyone and with more than 50 ballots completed, it allowed a consensus to build. Of course, just because they are the experts, it doesn’t mean we can’t quibble with some of the results. With that in mind here are 10 thoughts on our first PGA professionals survey, including the five courses that almost made the list.
1. The opinion of Myrtle Beach’s PGA pros generally tracked with popular opinion. Compare our list of the area’s top 20 with Golf Magazine and Golfweek’s ranking of South Carolina’s best public courses and you will see a lot of overlap.
2. The Dunes Club was the clear “winner” garnering nearly half of all first place ballots and it’s hard to quibble with Caledonia, Tidewater and Grande Dunes Resort Club following in spots two, three and four.
3. The biggest surprise was Prestwick Country Club being ranked the fifth best course in the area. That’s not intended to throw shade at Prestwick, a layout every local will tell you is deserving of more acclaim than it receives, but … I didn’t expect it to finish ahead of TPC Myrtle Beach, True Blue and all of Barefoot’s offerings. Whether you think Prestwick should’ve been No. 5, No. 10 or No. 15, the larger point holds true: it’s an outstanding golf course.
4. If you want to know why Myrtle Beach is the game’s most popular destination, the top 20 list is exhibit 1A. What other destination could have courses like Heritage Club, the Love Course at Barefoot and Pawleys Plantation ranked outside of the top 10?
5. As a group, Myrtle Beach PGA professionals placed value on the area’s underappreciated history, rewarding Pine Lakes Country Club and Arcadian Shores with deserved spots on the list. Pine Lakes, the area’s first course, was 16th, followed closely by Arcadian Shores, Rees Jones first solo design, at No. 18. The one thing both layouts have in common are renovation projects that preserved the integrity of the original design while enhancing the modern experience.
6. Speaking of the diversity of Myrtle Beach’s offerings, 14 different architects designed the top 20 courses. The six designers with two courses to their credit are: Jack Nicklaus, Dan Maples, Mike Strantz, Tom Fazio, Arnold Palmer and Pete Dye. Not a bad lineup.
7. The biggest surprise in the “second 10?” I’d go with Arrowhead at 12. Like Prestwick, I’m not surprised the Tom Jackson/Raymond Floyd track made the list, but I didn’t expect it to outpoll the Love Course and Heritage.
8. I’d argue the Legends courses are underrepresented. Only one of the company’s six courses – Heritage – made the list, and no one would’ve been shocked to see Heathland, Moorland or Oyster Bay crack the top 20.
9. So who just missed securing a spot among Myrtle Beach’s top 20 courses. The list is impressive. In order, Glen Dornoch, World Tour, Crow Creek, Wild Wing Avocet and Moorland were knockin’ on the proverbial door.
10. The question isn’t whether they are worthy of being a top 20 golf courses, but rather which course(s) would you take out?