MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | Ninety courses and more than 1,700 holes shape the Grand Strand golfing mecca.
Some are deeply embedded in the high-traffic zones in and of Myrtle Beach. Others are hidden on the outskirts of the cities and towns, where only those with intent end up there. But as the calendar turns to 2020, these 10 should be on your priority list.
The hindsight will be nothing but positive.
ABERDEEN COUNTRY CLUB
For all its strife, for all the weather-related closings and the relative pain it has been to keep Aberdeen (pictured right) not only open but also a true player along the north end, golfers keeping saying “Thank you” in the form of return play. But if there’s a reason that we love Aberdeen for 2020, it is that for the first time in four years, the course didn’t need to shutter its doors for any extended period of time in 2019. Come February, it will have had 12 consecutive months of regular maintenance and upkeep. That shows and makes all the effort worth it.
ARROWHEAD COUNTRY CLUB
Be it any combination of the Cypress, Lakes or Waterway nines, players can’t go wrong with a round at Arrowhead. The duo of Raymond Floyd and Tom Jackson constructed a beauty. Cypress features some forced carries and bulkheaded greens. The Lakes is exactly what it sounds like, especially on the back half. And Waterway takes you right on out to the Intracoastal on No. 5 before bringing you back to the clubhouse with four splendidly green holes.
BAREFOOT RESORT & GOLF LOVE COURSE
Sometimes, folks focus so much on the ruins between holes 3-7 that they miss out on just how awesome the rest of Davis Love III’s namesake design at Barefoot already is. Natural preserve areas, some undulated fairways, bunkering and varied green sizing make for a one heck of an 18-hole round. That’s because at just 6,055 yards and with wide fairways, Love puts all of its strengths on display without ripping your heart out.
CALEDONIA GOLF & FISH CLUB
Year after year, Caledonia’s (pictured right) reputation remains strong with those who have been visiting and playing golf in Myrtle Beach for the last two decades while also impressing the first timers finally getting out to Mike Strantz’s debut masterpiece. His project here, which opened in 1994, is woven around ponds, streams and the remnants of the old rice plantation. And what Strantz came up with is one of the most honored courses in Grand Strand history.
LEGENDS GOLF & RESORT PARKLAND COURSE
As wide open as neighboring Moorland and Heathlands tracks are, Parkland is a mostly tree-lined course (save for Nos. 10 and 18) that gets players focusing on the task at hand instead of worrying about distractions. There are a few spots where houses are visible, sure, but Parkland is going to feel anything but overloaded when it comes to the extracurriculars. That’s a plus for players needing to concentrate on how to stay out of the deep bunkers.
MYRTLE BEACH NATIONAL SOUTHCREEK COURSE
There are advantages to being one of Myrtle Beach’s oldest multi-site properties, but also to having one of the courses having the prestige of King’s North. Amid the hoopla associated with, SouthCreek gets the same TLC. That means fantastic surfaces, maintained to the nines. But even without the effect of its famous big brother, SouthCreek packages great views (be ready for No. 10) and Arnold Palmer’s nifty approach to bunkering.
MYRTLEWOOD GOLF CLUB PALMETTO COURSE
With a greens project that now has both on-site courses featuring Sunday Bermudagrass, Palmetto (pictured right) is only getting better with age. This centralized option is super-player friendly, and also more than capable of sustaining some massive foot traffic. That’s because the design here combines some creative doglegs that pushes players who choose to add an extra challenge but also has some forgiving landing areas off the tees and clean sight lines right into the greens.
SHAFTESBURY GLEN GOLF & FISH CLUB
Clyde Johnston wanted to encourage big hitters to take their shot at Shaftesbury time and again, so he implemented some wide fairways to help eliminate some of the raw distance that is otherwise present. Courses closer to the beach – where development can limit a golf property’s range – would love that ability. Its why so many people who live or are staying near the ocean have no issue driving inland a bit to play Shaftesbury.
TRADITION GOLF CLUB
There are so many parts of Tradition that we’ve mentioned over the years. But if there is one we haven’t, it is how Florida-based designer Ron Garl eases players into his sole Myrtle Beach-area track with three holes that 1. Give you a chance at par without needed a driver; and 2. don’t sacrifice everything that course as a whole is known for. Tradition is a thinking golfer’s 18, with mounding and vegetation coming into play on the fairways and some gentle undulation on the new Sunday Bermudagrass greens.
WILD WING PLANTATION
Wild Wing’s 18-hole course, Avocet, is one of Myrtle Beach’s real gems. History should have already told us that. After all, it was this one that was selected to carry the banner when the other three 18s were mostly closed for development purposes a few years back. The straight-line approach at Avocet (pictured right) gives players everything they could want. And for those needing a little extra nudge, the Hummingbird Nine is great way to make it a 27-hole day.