MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | Market forces have not always been so kind to South Carolina’s Grand Strand golf scene.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.
However, despite nearly two dozen course closures around Myrtle Beach in the last decade or so, many of the regular players who visited those spots in the past have found love for another track within a short drive.
So, if one of these five courses of yesteryear inspired you to hit the links, we’ve got the perfect substitute that will do the same.
BLACK BEAR GOLF CLUB / RIVER HILLS GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB (pictured above)
The old Black Bear design that stood until 2016 was a perfect mix of woodsy golf alongside just the right amount of water, thanks to the 20 or so finger lakes that blended seamlessly into the property. It wasn’t enough to stave off ongoing redevelopment plans, but many of the visitors who loved this track have found their new home course a bit closer to the Atlantic Ocean at River Hills Golf & Country Club. Much like Black Bear, River Hills isn’t as difficult as it looks, with water on 13 holes and thinner tree lines outlining most of the fairways.
INDIAN WELLS GOLF CLUB / WILLBROOK PLANTATION
The most recent of all the courses on this list, Indian Wells (closed in late 2019) was another product of rezoned land in a prime piece of real estate. It wasn’t a universally endorsed idea (it never is), but that speaks as much to the quality of the course as anything else. Indian Wells was a true risk-reward Gene Hamm design that featured some big water, a few narrow fairways and target-rich approaches to the green. South Strand players would use those same descriptions for Willbrook Plantation, the Dan Maples layout that has wowed players with all that and a touch of Lowcountry charm.
POSSUM TROT GOLF CLUB / BEACHWOOD GOLF CLUB
When Possum Trot’s sister course, Heather Glen, closed in 2017, it was a sign that its older sibling could be on the way out, too. Sure enough, on Halloween of 2019, Possum Trot shuttered a track that was arguably the most playable course. Just down U.S. 17, Beachwood (pictured right) immediately took up the mantle. This player-friendly option (which like its old neighbor has plenty of time under its belt) is adept at faster rounds and very few options to trick up either newer players or the ones simply looking for a no-frills round. It certainly falls on the easier end of the spectrum.
WICKED STICK GOLF LINKS / TRADITION GOLF CLUB
Five or so years after John Daly’s Wicked Stick decided its time was over, the netting on the western side of the property keeps a reminder of the happy go lucky round in many ways that was built in Long John’s image. Just the same, the idea that it was only a bomber’s paradise was a typecast idea that did it no favors. The forgiving 6,100 yards from the standard tees was a fun layout that didn’t crush you off the tee. It’s the same formula utilized by Tradition. Sure, the latter is a much nicer course than Wicked Stick was. But the recipe for enjoyable golf without big numbers on the scorecard is awfully similar.