Story by Ian Guerin
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | Golf Capital, U.S.A. hit its stride in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s. It’s our job to recognize those courses as they reach major milestones today. After all, without them who knows what the market looks like today. In 2019, seven local designs will celebrate significant anniversaries worthy of praise. Not only did they withstand time and market forces, but they continue to earn golfers’ trust and reward them with great rounds year after year after year.
PARTY LIKE IT’S 1999
Two properties, TPC of Myrtle Beach and World Tour Golf Links, have made it to 20 years of age with two dramatically different approaches. TPC Myrtle Beach was designed as a high-end course capable of hosting major events – something it did months after its original opening when it served as the home to the PGA Senior Championship won by Tom Watson. The Tom Fazio layout mixes varying terrain and need for thought-out golf, and it is the only Myrtle Beach-area course to ever earn a full five stars from Golf Digest. World Tour, meanwhile, was Mel Graham’s years-long project come to life. He travelled the globe and eventually compiled a replica course that now features holes from 15 of the finest golf courses known to man.
CALEDONIA REACHES SILVER ANNIVERSARY
One of the nicest and most revered courses in all of Myrtle Beach, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, will be celebrating 25 years of play in 2019, and specifically during February with some specials available to all. What players who can take advantage of those specials or others alike will find is the Mike Strantz gem popping just like it did in 1994. The creative design was crafted out of the environment that once served as a rice plantation without changing much of the natural feel of the land. As such, golfers here can get lost in a photographic setting that encompasses all 18 holes.
THREE DECADES AND COUNTING
The only combined local effort from Pete and P.B. Dye is on full display during all months of the year at Prestwick Country Club, and the course has all the feel of that family dynasty of design. Tougher than your average course, Prestwick will find new ways to stress patience in your game as it celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2019. Also doing that will be River Hills Country Club, the Tom Jackson layout that can be relatively split somewhat into the first and second eras of its first 30 years. Just before the midway point, the course featuring rolling terrain and plenty of water was eased back some to make it friendlier for non-regulars while maintaining its tough demeanor.
JADE, BUT NOT JADED
Indian Wells Golf Club will be pushing to 35 years of play in 2019, and most of the same elements from its 1984 reveal are very much in place today. For starters, the land in and around the course was a former lumber property owned by International Paper, the large fiber supply company that helped form much of what is Horry and Georgetown Counties in the northeastern corner of the state. The trees that weren’t used for product remain, cutting Indian Wells into a dogleg happy shot-maker’s course where a solid plan of attack is much more important than a booming ability off the tee box.
ARCADIAN SHORES NOT LETTING UP
Just north of Myrtle Beach city limits, Arcadian Shores is part of the anchor of an entertainment and shopping corridor just off U.S. 17. And the Rees Jones track that originally opened in 1974 is doing its part to maintain its desirability. The open design that welcomes players of all skill levels will be celebrating its sapphire anniversary with new cart paths and greens and a renovated club house, not to mention another recent project that cleaned up sand traps and hazards in and around those greens.
Ian Guerin is a DJ and freelance writer based in Myrtle Beach. You can follow him on Twitter @iguerin and Facebook facebook.com/IanGuerinWriter/