The PGA Championship is poised to tee off, and if you want to play a golf course designed by a winner of the major championship that sports the game’s strongest field, Myrtle Beach is the place for your next trip.
The Grand Strand is home to eight courses designed by PGA Championship winners and here is your list by architect/champion:
Raymond Floyd, who won the PGA in 1969 and 1982, co-designed Arrowhead Country Club, a 27-hole facility that features several holes that play along the Intracoastal Waterway. While those waterway views attract all the attention, Arrowhead, located less than 10 miles from the airport, is best known for the consistent quality of its conditions.
Davis Love III’s playing career was headlined by his 1997 PGA triumph, and his most acclaimed design effort is his namesake course at Barefoot Resort. The Love Course is ranked among the nation’s top 100 public layouts by Golf Magazine, and it’s one of Myrtle Beach’s most popular courses, led by holes four through six, which play through the faux ruins of an old plantation home.
Golf’s greatest champion and four-time PGA champion, Jack Nicklaus, designed a pair of popular Myrtle Beach courses – Pawleys Plantation and Long Bay Club. Pawleys is on the short list of the area’s prettiest layouts, highlighted by six holes on the back nine playing along a stunning saltwater marsh, including the unforgettable par 3 13th. Long Bay is one of the area’s most underrated courses and it includes three holes – 10, 13 and 18 – that have been ranked among Myrtle Beach’s top 100. Any golf trip that includes this duo is a good one.
Two-time PGA Championship winner Larry Nelson helped design one of Myrtle Beach’s hidden gems, the Avocet Course at Wild Wing Plantation. Avocet is home to the drivable par 4 14th hole (265 yards from the white tees) and provides an enjoyable test throughout the round. When its sister courses closed, Avocet’s notoriety declined but the four-star layout is better than ever. (top photo)
Among Gary Player’s nine major championships are PGA triumphs in 1962 and 1972. The Black Knight’s lone Myrtle Beach design, Blackmoor Golf Club, continues to be one of the area’s most value-centric layouts, providing players a varied challenge and, arguably, the Grand Strand’s most unforgettable risk-reward decision. The par 4 eighth hole was designed to play as a dogleg right, but Player cut a 30-yard wide chute through the trees, allowing the daring to play it as a dangerous but drivable hole. (Blackmoor 18th Hole pictured right)
TPC Myrtle Beach, one of the area’s premier layouts, was designed by 1977 PGA Championship winner Lanny Wadkins. TPC was created with the idea of hosting high level competitive events and it has fulfilled that mission. The course has hosted a Senior Tour Championship, the NCAA men’s golf tournament, and the annual Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship, living up to and even exceeding the lofty expectations golfers have for a TPC brand layout.