Youth golf is a driving force of the Myrtle Beach area, even though it may not be for the reasons you might think.
South Carolina’s Grand Strand golfing mecca has started to develop into a breeding ground for successful collegiate and even professional players, and the next wave of entrants to those ranks is seemingly only another graduating class away. Between NCAA Division-I Coastal Carolina University and a score of high schools in the two-county area, golf isn’t just for the weekend warriors or those traveling in for junkets.
Here are five courses where some of the best local college and prep boys and girls golfers have honed their skills.
TPC OF MYRTLE BEACH
The list begins with the biggest recent name attached to any course in the Myrtle Beach area. In recent years, Dustin Johnson has parked his golf school at TPC, and his former Coastal Carolina University coach, Allen Terrell, has been running it since the early days. But before DJ jumped as high as No. 1 in the world rankings, he was busting his tail at TPC (pictured above), both during practice and the annual General James Hackler Invitational, CCU’s home tournament.
TRUE BLUE GOLF CLUB/CALEDONIA GOLF & FISH CLUB/HERITAGE CLUB
It would be hard to say that any local high school in or around Myrtle Beach doesn’t have the type of reputation for and with its home course(s) than Waccamaw. The now-Class 3A Pawleys Island program – which utilizes nearby sister courses Caledonia and True Blue, as well as Heritage – has won five state golf titles (four boys, one girls) since opening in 2000. Much of that started at the three top-tier courses, all members of the famed Waccamaw Golf Trail.
DUNES GOLF AND BEACH CLUB
Every semester, without fail, another pretty good athlete transfers from another local school to Myrtle Beach High School, technically the only public high school inside city limits. The winning tradition is part of it. But others have openly said the school’s facilities and athletic promise are part of the equation. That being the case, the Dunes Club is arguably the nicest golf course along South Carolina’s Grand Strand, and the boys and girls golf teams at Myrtle Beach are thrilled to call it home.
SHAFTESBURY GLEN GOLF & FISH CLUB
Not all that long ago, the man who would eventually become Conway High School’s golf coach helped orchestrate a move for the team to move it practices and home events to Shaftesbury, a course that generated a significant boost to the city’s relatively non-existent golf scene. Now, Ashley Smith’s boys and girls teams are on the rise, and Shaftesbury’s quality may have something to do with that. The Myrtle Beach Golf Course Owners Association’s 2009 course of the year combines clean, open fairways and new Sunday Bermudagrass greens.
BLACKMOOR GOLF CLUB
Gary Player’s Signature design at Blackmoor is a natural landing spot for the St. James High boys team (the girls play at the nearby private Wachesaw Plantation Club). The course and school are only a short drive apart on S.C. 707, and both are as solid as they come. Blackmoor’s design forces players to carry some range in their bag, as no one or two clubs will do the trick. Meanwhile, the Sharks finished as the state runner up in South Carolina’s second-largest classification three times in the first decade after the school opened.