After Myrtle Beach’s PGA professionals ranked the area’s top 20 courses, we solicited the opinion of an industry expert to compare the two lists. Mike Purkey, who has covered golf for more than 30 years, working for publications such as Golf Magazine and Global Golf Post, submitted his list of Myrtle Beach’s 10 best courses, including one layout that didn’t make the top 20. The number in parenthesis denotes where local PGA professionals ranked each layout.
No. 10 Surf Golf & Beach Club (NR) – This is a vote for Myrtle Beach golf heritage. The Surf Club is a very traditional George Cobb design and was for years one of the top golf destinations on the Grand Strand. It’s a timeless layout and shouldn’t be overlooked simply because of age.
No. 9 Arcadian Shores (No. 18) – Rees Jones’ first solo design has always been Myrtle Beach’s best-kept secret. After its renovation two years ago, Arcadian Shores is bright and shiny and remains to this day one of the “Open Doctor’s” most underrated courses.
No. 8 Heritage Club (No. 14) – Highly-ranked in years past, the Heritage Club has fallen down some lists in favor of more recent and modern courses. That would be a mistake. The setting and the views are still remarkable and the course is just as good as it’s ever been.
No. 7 Fazio Course at Barefoot Resort No. 8) – Tom Fazio’s effort at Barefoot is a case study in how to route a course through the available land. The layout skillfully runs through pines, live oaks and around water to create a combination of beauty and a good test of golf.
No. 6 TPC Myrtle Beach (No. 6) – This is a Fazio design at its best, with creative movement among all 18 holes, yawning bunkers and strategic water features. You have to have all the shots to play the TPC, one of the reason it’s so highly-ranked by several publications.
No. 5 Tidewater Golf Club (No. 3) – When amateur designer Ken Tomlinson built Tidewater, it was one of the most highly-acclaimed new courses in the country. Today, it remains one of the best on the Strand. It’s a wonderful test of golf with even better views, making it a complete experience.
No. 4 Love Course at Barefoot Resort (No. 13) – When the Barefoot Resort was in the planning stages, four top designers were brought to Myrtle Beach. Davis Love III was the least experienced of the group. But his layout turned out to narrowly be the best of the group, striking in its simplicity.
No. 3 True Blue (No. 7) – It’s hard to believe the same architect designed Caledonia and True Blue. Mike Strantz was an artist by nature and the picture he conjured at True Blue was an abstract rather than a still life. True Blue is different and therein lies its charm and its challenge.
No. 2 Caledonia Golf & Fish Club (No. 2) – When Strantz designed Caledonia, it put him on the map as one of the bright, innovative new golf course architects. Caledonia has modern design elements sprinkled among traditional aspects of the course. It’s just brilliant.
No. 1 Dunes Golf & Beach Club (No. 1) – It’s remarkably easy to rank the Dunes Club as the top course in Myrtle Beach. The Robert Trent Jones design has stood the test of time and it is just as demanding today as it was 30 years ago. You always leave the Dunes Club wishing you had another crack at it the next day, which is the lasting mark of a great course.
Mike Purkey has been writing about golf for more than 30 years, including at GOLF Magazine and Global Golf Post. He is a columnist for Morning Read and Where To Golf Next.