MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | Each year around this time, we gauge the field.
It’s a pretty glorious one.
Up and down South Carolina’s Grand Strand, 90 golf courses more than just dot the landscape – they beg us to play more. The vast majority of players, even locally, spread the wealth when it comes to which ones should be on their short list entering a new calendar.
In 2021, there won’t be any right or wrong answers. The privilege to play golf means something more to all of us. That being the case, each of the 10 courses below package what we deserve.
It’s time to start checking them off your list.
ARCADIAN SHORES GOLF CLUB
Rees Jones’s design plus massive on-course renovations plus an overhaul of the amenities should be enough information to steer you back to Arcadian, even if you decided a few years back that it wasn’t part of your equation. Without messing with Jones’s original intent, the property is flexing a bit with some extra advertising and a product that is delivering better than ever. This track is no longer just about a handful of forced water carries.
BAREFOOT RESORT & GOLF, DYE CLUB
When the stars show up at Dye Club each year for the Hootie and Blowfish Monday After the Master’s pro-am event, they’re gripping and ripping. Mostly to their own dismay. Pete Dye made no qualms about the fact that he made Dye a little more difficult than most. But he also made it a little more beautiful than most, too. From the oversized ponds to the bulkheads to mounded sand traps, your eye will definitely wander. (top photo)
BLACKMOOR GOLF CLUB
When it comes to flat-out fun courses, we shouldn’t be too surprised that Gary Player’s lone design along the Grand Strand fits the bill. Maybe the shotmaker of all shotmakers put together a track that would give the standard golfer a way to try out something different from hole to hole. The days of driver, mid-iron, putter repetition evaporate the second you set foot at Blackmoor, and we’re always loved every minute of it.
GLEN DORNOCH WATERWAY GOLF LINKS
The state-line-hugging Clyde Johnston design is so close to the Intracoastal Waterway that you may just end your round feeling the vibrations from the largest boats using the thoroughfare. The last two holes are picturesque. However, they’re the exclamation point to the previous 16. Natural grass clusters, slight doglegs and ravines ensure an eye-popping lead-up to those signature holes. (pictured right)
GRANDE DUNES RESORT CLUB
Social distance all means something different to us now than it did a year ago. But if you’re attempting to get out into the great wide open and smack the ball around on a pristine course, it’s hard to argue that many will give you that option quite like Grande Dunes. Wide fairways mean players can be nowhere near each other off the tee and still be in the good stuff. What’s more, the views never stop.
MYRTLEWOOD GOLF CLUB, PINEHILLS COURSE
Go ahead and call PineHills an economic track if you like. But beware the pigeonhole effect that your preconceived notions from your home course may elicit. Among the budget-friendly options in and around Myrtle Beach, PineHills has gone to work to ensure that its playability remains among the best around. It’s difficult to find a valid complaint, even with the most meticulous of eyes. (pictured right)
PRESTWICK COUNTRY CLUB
Another year has passed, and Prestwick ensured that the early struggles of 2020 wouldn’t be time wasted. The greens, fairways, greens and even sand here have the look and playability of a super-high-end track. That’s not to say this tucked-away and standalone joint has been overlooked (it was recently named a top-10 course by the area’s pros). But we’re giving you a reminder because it is that good.
We’ve included some of River Club’s neighbors on these lists in the past, and now it’s time to get the Tom Jackson layout into the mix, as well. That’s not coincidental. Time has been very, very good to this course, one that initially opened in 1985. Jackson didn’t install a rope-a-dope style to his design. Rather, he went with a give-and-take model that would challenge you on one hole, then ease back on the next.
TPC MYRTLE BEACH
Dustin Johnson’s big 2020 on the PGA Tour was a reminder of how well the former local college golfer still is. And while his influence on the original TPC design was non-existent (he was still in high school when it opened), his stamp is all over it now. From his golf school to the mini shrine inside, TPC is as close to professional golf as many of us will get. Take your game to the next level.(pictured right)
WORLD TOUR GOLF LINKS
The World Tour M.O. is clear: Eighteen replica holes from some of the best courses in the world get your butt into a cart here. But the visual representation of them – combined with fantastic conditions – will bring you back. Maybe you’ve taken a few years off from World Tour, having already been exposed to the creative take on the likes of Augusta National or St. Andrews. Chances are, then, you haven’t seen the improved upkeep to go along with them.