An Expert Guide to Golf Courses in Myrtle Beach
Planning a trip to Myrtle Beach? Golf expert Matthew Tremaine has some suggestions about courses you can't miss.
Myrtle Beach and I have an interesting history. Unlike the casual vacationer staying at the beach, or the golf group that takes their annual trip and spends three straight days teeing it up, I spent four solid years in the area as a student at Coastal Carolina University going through the PGA/PGM Program. Through my adventures, I got to see the great and the not so great parts of “The Strand,” all while spending those four years playing golf at pretty much every course in the area. From the ultra budget-friendly course to the signature courses that you all know, I’ve been there and done that!
Myrtle Beach itself is not a huge area, but “Myrtle Beach” or "The Grand Strand," as people know it as, is a 60-something mile stretch of area from Sunset Beach, North Carolina, to Pawleys Island, South Carolina. Remember that when you are taking your next trip - there are tons of great courses, but always research their location as you might be driving over an hour for that tee time.
I am going to break things into three sections: North Myrtle, the 501 Area, and Pawleys.
North Myrtle Beach
The North Myrtle Beach area has several gems. You have Tidewater Golf Club, which is labeled “The Pebble Beach of the East,” and the Barefoot Resort, which has four courses, all of which are immaculate and provide their own challenge. The Dye Club at Barefoot is also where they hold the annual Hootie and the Blowfish Monday after the Masters Tournament. It is a fun event where pros and celebrities get together and have a blast on the course. If you are ever in the area during this time, you should check it out.
But what about some of the courses that people do not know about? Enter Farmstead Golf Links. This course is located in North Carolina, but has several holes that are played in South Carolina. It’s a true interstate golf course! The 18th hole alone is something special, a 700+ yard par 6 that starts in North Carolina and ends in South Carolina. This alone creates a great golf experience that you can tell all of your friends about. I love this course because it has a long, challenging layout that traverses through the natural terrain. It feels like the course was built on a marshy meadow, so there are tough shots that deal with water hazards and other natural environmental hazards. There is also just something about playing a golf course that is not surrounded by houses. This course is pretty secluded and you will not have to worry about plunking one off a house or driving through a neighborhood between holes.
The 501 Area
Moving down south along the Intracoastal Waterway towards the actual city limits of Myrtle Beach, we meet the wonderful stretch of the 501, or as the locals like to call it, the worst road in America. This is the main route that brings you from I-95 to the beach, and if you have been to the area, you have undoubtedly heard of the road.
If you can deal with the traffic on this road and just let it be, you can find some gems along this stretch. From World Tour Golf Links, and Legends Golf Resort, to The Wizard Golf Course, Myrtle Beach National, and Arrowhead Country Club - this stretch has tons of great golf.
One of the best places that golf groups like to book their golf trips with is Legends. It offers a unique golf experience with the best possible rate when contemplating a golf package. You can customize that package several different ways, but the gist of the deal is you get breakfast, lunch, and a few drinks per day included with the golf. To go along with that, they put you up in the villas that are inside the property, so it is prime location for the hardcore golfer. (The Legends is also associated with Oyster Bay Golf Links in North Carolina and The Heritage Club just south of Pawleys Island, which is one of my favorite courses.)
Onsite at the Legends, there are three courses for all skill levels and all of which are unique. The Parkland Course is a fun golf course where the wide fairways traverse through the woods. The Heathland Course is most like an American links style with some good variety - this is probably my favorite of the three. And then you have the Mooreland Course, a Dye specialty that is challenging to say the least. On top of all that, this property probably has the best practice facility in the area. A giant grass driving range and nice short game area, this is the place to be.
This collection highlights the variety of Myrtle Beach golf courses. But there is a downside. The Legends resort is a round per day factory. I have never seen as many golfers at a single place at once then I have here. This means long rounds of golf, so if you go with the Legends package, you might want to use one of your rounds to play The Heritage Club or Oyster Bay. Although you will need to drive longer distances to those courses, it may be worth it to play a shorter round of golf.
Myrtle Beach National
Myrtle Beach National is another great resort that has three courses - and it’s just off the 501. The West Course is a nice traditional design with wide fairways that run through the pines. This course made Golf Digests "Places to Play" guide back in 2010. The South Creek Course runs through the neighborhood, but the houses are not right on top of the fairways. The West and South courses are great, fun golf courses that provide a good variety of golf.
Then there is the signature course: King's North. King's North has the famous "Gambler" hole. It is a par 5 with an island fairway water feature where you can test your skill to see if you can cut off the hole and make the par 5 reachable in 2.
With multiple multi-course resorts in the 501 area, this is the perfect spot for your next Myrtle Beach golf vacation.
As we head down the Grand Strand, through Murrells Inlet and towards Pawleys Island, we start to get into the more southern traditional area. Between the giant willow trees and plantation club houses, you know that you have entered a new area with tons of high end golf courses. This is where The Heritage Club, True Blue Golf Club, Caledonia Golf and Fish Club, and Pawleys Plantation Golf and Country Club are located.
Now, you are not going to find huge savings or the best rates in this area, but you are going to find Myrtle Beach's best courses and a trip to remember. If you have talked to anyone that has been to this area, they will tell you that True Blue and Caledonia are their favorite courses. As these are partner courses that are located right next to each other, you can book two rounds as a package and save a few bucks. True Blue Plantation was ranked in Golf Magazine’s “2019 Top 100 Resorts in North America for Buddies Trips” list.
Now these courses might not be for all skill levels. They have tighter fairways. water features, marsh areas, and other hazards that could call for a long day and several lost golf balls. Each hole seems to be very unique and will challenge most, if not all aspects of your game.
There are tons of other unique and exciting golf courses in the area that hold their own and provide a nice challenge for all. It really comes down to what style you are looking to play. There are hidden gems up and down the Grand Strand along with the powerhouse resorts that we all know. With some of the greatest public courses located on a strip of land about 60 miles long, it really just depends on how far you want to drive from your hotel or villa or how many golf balls you want to lose that day. Remember, you are in the marsh land right along the Intracoastal Waterway, so expect to see a lot of water holes and the potential of an alligator or two here and there.
If you’re interested in learning more about golfing in Myrtle Beach or want to chat equipment, feel free to shoot me a message!