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Story by Ian Guerin
The Perfect Round boasts the best of the best.
Much like the rest of the group, the Par 3s in the series are a collection of stunning and challenging designs.
The Perfect Round project, spearheaded by Myrtle Beach Golf Trips with the help of the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel, selected the best 18 holes along South Carolina’s Grand Strand. Four of those were the area’s top short holes: No. 11 at Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, Dunes Golf & Beach Club’s No. 12, Grande Dunes Resort Course’s No. 14, and Tidewater Golf’s No. 12.
Here’s what took each of them to the top of the panel’s rankings.
TIDEWATER GOLF CLUB NO. 12
Tidewater itself lists this gem its signature hole. Given its propensity to regularly claim it doesn’t have just one, that is saying something. Also known as the “Wishing well,” No. 12 bends around the Cherry Grove Inlet and its accompanying marshland while playing no longer than 189 yards. The rating panel cited that distance when comparing this to Tidewater’s No. 3, a slightly shorter par 3 highly regarded in its own right.
On No. 12, however, the inlet and the quintuplet of bunkers in front of the green add an element of thought-provoking club selection, with or without the winds frequently known to come in off the nearby Atlantic Ocean.
GRANDE DUNES RESORT COURSE NO. 14
The more skilled your game, the closer your place on the tee box will leave you to the edge of the elevated bluff overlooking a section of the Intracoastal Waterway flowing directly through Myrtle Beach. It is there, especially for those playing from the 244-yard championships, that this Roger Rulewich 2001 design crescendoes into a truly unique vantage point. To the right, the Waterway and its potential boat traffic displays a piece of Grand Strand history.
The strong downward bank and a tree line line the left, with natural grasses, an overflow inlet, a valley landing zone and a large bunker standing directly between the tee boxes and the green.
DUNES GOLF & BEACH CLUB NO. 12
Myrtle Beach’s second golf course opened in the late 1940s, and the combination of Robert Trent Jones’ original design and Rees Jones’ later renovation project have kept Dunes in the upper echelon for more than half a century. No. 12 is a good indication why.
It chimes in at 245 yards from the back tees, but four of the five sets of tees are forced to navigate varying degrees of Singleton Swash on the right side. That’s only part of the potential trouble. Four greenside bunkers and some treacherous undulation between them takes pin placement to a whole new level.
CALEDONIA GOLF & FISH CLUB NO. 11
Even from the tee box on Caledonia’s 11th hole, a daunting green that slopes away from the center at the front and back are clearly visible. It only temporarily draws the eye away from the rest of this well-designed 167-yard layout.
Thick vegetation on a mounding surface run up the left side, a small pond beyond that serving as an added hazard. On the right, a tree line creates a chute-like effect toward the green and a front softer landing zone. Running off that pond - in case that wasn’t enough - was a small stream cutting nearly all the way up to the forward tees.