More than 50 Myrtle Beach area PGA professionals participated in a first-of-its-kind survey asking them to rank the Grand Strand’s top 20 courses. This is the final installment in the series, unveiling Myrtle Beach’s five best courses as ranked by the people who know them best – area golf professionals.
The debate over Myrtle Beach’s best course has raged for years and beauty, as always, is in the eye of beholder. But for golfers in search of a consensus opinion on the Grand Strand’s best layouts, our survey of area club professionals is the most comprehensive ranking of Myrtle Beach golf courses ever assembled. Sure Golf Digest, Golf Magazine and many others have previously rated area courses, but those rankings were in the hands of a select few people. These rankings are based on the votes of a large and educated electorate. Here are Myrtle Beach’s five best courses, beginning with the biggest shocker on the list, according to area PGA professionals.
No. 5 Prestwick Country Club (598 points) – This course has always been a favorite of Myrtle Beach insiders but finishing this high was shocking, nonetheless. Our pollsters left little doubt as to their affinity for the Pete and P.B. Dye design. Prestwick was much closer to finishing third than it was sixth. We can longer call Prestwick underrated.
Biggest Reason Prestwick is a Top 5 Course: Simply put, it’s an outstanding course, conditions are always good, and customer service comes first. The layout is unrelenting but is as fun as it is challenging.
No. 4 Grande Dunes Resort Club (609 points) – The Roger Rulwich course enjoys a primo location in the heart of Myrtle Beach and it plays along the Intracoastal Waterway, a tough combination to beat. Everything about the course screams premium experience, beginning with the private bridge that spans the waterway and introduces players to the property.
Biggest Reason Grande Dunes is a Top 5 Course: The waterway holes are unforgettable, highlighted by the par 3 14th, which is arguably the area’s most dramatic one-shotter. Throw in generous fairways and a procession of holes that leave you anxiously awaiting what the next tee box offers, and the popularity of Grande Dunes is hardly surprising.
No. 3 Tidewater Golf Club (615 points) – Tidewater has long been on the short list of Myrtle Beach’s best courses. This was the first layout ever named Best New Public Course by both Golf Digest and Golf Magazine and both publications have previously ranked Tidewater among America’s top 100 public courses.
Biggest Reason Tidewater is a Top 5 Course: With eight holes that play along either the Intracoastal Waterway or Cherry Grove, Tidewater is the area’s most scenic layout. The third and 12th holes are a spectacular pair of par 3s, and No. 4, a par 4 that plays along Cherry Grove, might be Myrtle Beach’s best two-shotter.
No. 2 Caledonia Golf & Fish Club (755 points) – If traveling golfers were voting, Caledonia might top the list, but the highly acclaimed Mike Strantz design has to “settle” for second place. This is a consensus top 100 public course that never fails to live up to lofty expectations.
Biggest Reason Caledonia is a Top 5 Course: A round at Caledonia is an experience. The alley of oak trees that welcomes players is as grand an entrance as there is in the game, and the layout is maintained to almost impossibly high standards. Did I forget to mention that No. 18 is one of the most memorable closing holes in golf?
No. 1 Dunes Golf & Beach Club (884 points) – Myrtle Beach’s most storied course was the runaway winner, collecting 24 first place votes. The Robert Trent Jones Sr. classic has hosted the U.S. Women’s Open and six Senior PGA Tour Championships, among numerous other events. A semi-private course, the Dunes Club is another consensus top 100 layout.
Biggest Reason the Dunes Club is Myrtle Beach’s Best Course: We can talk about the legendary 13th hole, the club’s rich history, and the quality of the design work, but that’s not what makes the Dunes Club great. The Dunes Club is always striving to be better. RTJ’s son, Rees Jones, has led multiple renovation projects, and the commitment to customer service and conditioning is as strong as any course in South Carolina (yes, that includes Harbor Town and Kiawah). There is no such thing as an “off day” at the Dunes Club, and that’s one of the primary reasons it’s regarded as the best golf course in Myrtle Beach.
Let us know what your top 5 golf courses in Myrtle Beach are.