A year ago, Tiger Woods hadn’t suffered a near catastrophic car accident, Brooks-Bryson wasn’t a thing, and everyone assumed the soon-to-be 50-year-old Phil Mickelson had won his last major championship.
A lot happened in 2021, and that was certainly the case here in Myrtle Beach as well. As we look back on another year that seems to have flown by, here are the five biggest Myrtle Beach golf stories of 2021.
1. This one is easy – the return of you, the traveling golfer. The spring of 2020 was eerily quiet, but 2021 was a different story. Golfers from across the nation packed tee sheets and once again infused America’s most popular golf destination with life. The trend continued through the fall and that resurgence was the biggest (and happiest) story of the year.
2. Pine Lakes Country Club was Myrtle Beach’s first course, and a restoration project represented another milestone for the Granddaddy. New Sunday bermudagrass greens and reimagined bunkers significantly improved one of the area’s iconic layouts. The greens are fast and the bunkers are infinitely better. The “new” Pine Lakes is worth checking out.
3. The Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship began five years ago with the mission of being the nation’s premier junior tournament, and 2021 might be remembered as the year it fulfilled that goal. Nicholas Dunlap finished two shots clear of a star-studded field at TPC Myrtle Beach. How good was the field? America’s four best junior boys, including No. 2 Dunlap, competed in the event. The tournament’s alumni read like a “who’s who” of the game’s rising young stars, and former girls participant Jensen Castle won the U.S. Women’s Amateur over the summer.
4. More than 3,500 golfers played in this year’s Myrtle Beach World Amateur Championship, an increase of more than 1,200 from the year before. It’s one of my favorite weeks of the year, bringing players from all 50 states to Myrtle Beach to compete in a 72-hole, net stroke play event. It was great to see the reopening of the World’s Largest 19th Hole and players returning to the tournament in droves.
5. On a sadder note, with real estate booming, Farmstead Golf Links, previously home of the area’s only par 6, and The Witch, a Dan Maples design that has always been a favorite of locals, closed this fall.
Honorable Mention: Continued growth of Myrtle Beach International Airport, now home to more than 50 nonstop flights; Opening of a Club Champion store.