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Story by Ian Guerin
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | Not every course is tournament ready 365 days a year.
Frankly, if they all were, none would stand out.
But when it comes to the 90 or so options along South Carolina’s northern coastline, some are coming into their own at the end of the spring peak season and prior to the summer tourism rush.
We call it the May Sweet Spot.
So, if you’ve wiggled a trip to the Grand Strand in between the spring break crowds and the summer boon, give these five courses a shot and take advantage of what they have to offer.
LEGENDS GOLF AND RESORT PARKLAND COURSE, MYRTLE BEACH
The youngest of Legends’ three on-site courses, Parkland’s style is unique - elevated greens and tree-lined fairways drawing most of the attention. But what is truly noteworthy about this course is that despite it being a local’s favorite while simultaneously pulling in mass amounts of out-of-area package traffic is that it bounces back from those wear-and-tear seasons seamlessly. Most years, Parkland looks just as good following the spring rush as it did when it began.
LONG BAY GOLF CLUB, LONGS
One visit to Long Bay is all you need to see how much the elevation changes, mounding and split fairways can be a tripping point for the unprepared. And when all those grass blends are at full strength, the course’s picturesque Jack Nicklaus design pops visually and simultaneously provides crisp lies when conventional wisdom says you may get anything but. It smooths the course’s tough reputation some - even if regulars won’t come close to calling this layout easy.
MYRTLEWOOD GOLF CLUB PALMETTO COURSE, MYRTLE BEACH
The rolling fairways and oversized, undulating greens at Palmetto are a prime draw for the centrally located course year-round, but as spring draws to a close, the final few holes here go from beautiful to spectacular. That includes the 179-yard par 3 that leads to the Intracoastal Waterway and then the 468-yard par 4 that plays parallel to it while the flow of water moves opposite of your shots toward the green.
PRESTWICK COUNTRY CLUB, MYRTLE BEACH
Some Myrtle Beach golf rounds are going to get rained out in April and May. It’s unavoidable during one of the rainiest parts of the calendar. However, Prestwick has proved time and again that not only can it stave off those water issues better than most, it can return to its top conditions in an insanely timely manner. That goes for its creative bunkers (namely on No. 9) and all the mounding dotting the fairways throughout the round.
WILD WING PLANTATION, CONWAY
Not all that long ago, someone could have matched any of the three-course Myrtle Beach National’s options with those at Wild Wing’s foursome and needed more than two weeks - with two courses played per day - before repeating a pairing. Now, with Wild Wing scaled back to 27 holes, the course’s in-house multi-round packages have fallen off. That may sound like a bad thing, except some of that wear and tear from the early part of the year evaporated along with the extra traffic.