GolfPass, Golf Channel’s travel portal, received more than 300,000 golfer-submitted course reviews in 2023 as players evaluated layouts that ranged from America’s most prominent to municipal courses few have heard of.
After compiling the ratings and tabulating the results, GolfPass has unveiled its always-anticipated list of “Top 50 U.S. Public Golf Courses” as part of their annual Golfers Choice awards, and three Myrtle Beach area layouts – No. 16 Meadowlands Golf Club, No. 23 Thistle Golf Club and No. 36 Founders Club – were ranked among the nation’s best.
The GolfPass editorial team – Jason Deegan and Tim Gavrich – make it clear theirs isn’t a ranking of the nation’s best courses based on the standards used by the game’s legacy media. Sure, the GolfPass evaluations have their roots in architecture and conditioning, but they “ask golfers to consider other factors, from value to off-course amenities to service, when they submit a review. As a result, our lists look quite different from the ones you can buy at newsstands. They come from a different point of view, and we are thrilled that they tend to highlight dozens of accessible, affordable local courses that other media outlets simply overlook.”
When viewed through the lens of that criteria, the inclusion of all three Grand Strand layouts makes perfect sense.
Founders Club, a Thomas Walker design that wasn’t afraid to buck conventional wisdom, enjoyed an outstanding 2023, delivering impeccable conditions and value to locals and traveling golfers alike.
Featuring elevated fairways framed by waste bunkers and memorable greens complexes, Founders Club has secured its niche in Pawleys Island, providing a distinct experience that players have embraced.
“You cannot beat this course for the price,” 52stratmaster said in a 5-star GolfPass review. “The course is always in good shape and the service is very good. I always find the staff very friendly. I play golf for fun. This course fits into that even though a few holes are narrow.” (Founders Club top photo)
Meadowlands, located just across the state line, has been one of the best conditioned courses in Brunswick County over the last 12 months. With a slope and course rating of 69.6/118 from the white tees, Meadowlands is also one of the area’s most playable tracks, adding to its appeal.
Meadowlands has 640 total reviews, and it earned 4 or 5 stars in 606 of them. (Meadowlands pictured right)
Thistle, a 27-hole Tim Cate design, has long been one of the area’s hidden gems. Home to the MacKay, Stewart and Cameron nines, the Scottish links inspired layout is a delight to play.
“The course and facility is absolutely phenomenal,” Dwillett gushed in a 5-star review of Thistle. “I will be playing this course more often.”
As golfers make plans for their 2024 Myrtle Beach golf trip, they would be well served to heed the advice of their fellow players when it comes to Founders Club, Meadowlands and Thistle.