A big part of these courses’ massive popularity among visiting golfers goes beyond their aesthetic beauty and exceptional customer service experience. When played from the championship tees, these golf courses are a big, brawny test of any golfer’s game.
Barefoot Resort & Golf – The Dye Course (7,343 yards from the tips, 75.3 course rating, 149 slope rating) – Participants in the annual Hootie & The Blowfish Monday After the Masters Celebrity Pro-Am have been tested for years on this Pete Dye masterpiece – including numerous PGA TOUR players who, after a few days at Augusta National, just can’t get enough of courses requiring the big dog off the tee (Augusta National, by comparison, plays less than 100 yards longer for The Masters).
TPC Myrtle Beach (pictured right – 6,950 yards, 74/145) – Touring professionals aren’t the only ones who’ve been tested here. Site of the 2000 Senior Tour Championship (won by Tom Watson), TPC Myrtle Beach hosted the Coastal Carolina University men’s golf team for years – while CCU’s most famous golf alumnus, PGA TOUR pro Dustin Johnson, now sponsors an elite, international junior competition at this firm test of golf.
Grande Dunes Resort Club (7,618 yards, 77.3/142) – A frequent host of Carolinas PGA Section championship events, this Roger Rulewich design is one of the region’s longest tracks from the tips. It held up quite impressively in 2014 as Grande Dunes served as a co-host venue for the PGA Professional National Championship, along with …
The Dunes Golf & Beach Club (7,165 yards, 75.4/141) – The difficulty presented by The Dunes Club’s length is often compounded by the prevailing winds sweeping in off the nearby Atlantic. Its most famous (or infamous?) hole – No. 13, “The Waterloo” – is widely regarded as among the most difficult along the Eastern Seaboard.
Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club (7,031 yards, 75.7/148) – Jack Nicklaus designs are renowned for being a stiff challenge, and Pawleys Plantation is no exception. Much of the back nine here plays in and out of a dramatic marshland setting, bringing water and wind obstacles to a new level. When in doubt about which of six sets of tees to play here, do yourself a favor: play it forward. You’ll be glad you did.