The Grand Strand can span as long or short as you want it to be on your golf trip. If your group is picky with courses, you could end up driving 40 miles or more between plays, taking in everywhere from Calabash in North Carolina to Pawleys Island in the south.
But if keeping your drive time (and fuel bill) down is a priority, it's easy to do here. There are clusters of golf courses all around Myrtle Beach.
If you're staying in the center of the Strand, you shouldn't have more than a 10-15 minute drive from your condo to one of the following Myrtle Beach golf courses. You'll find a course for every taste and every budget. And rest assured, this is where the bulk of the nightlife happens, so your cab bill will stay down at night, too.
The "Grandaddy" of the Grand Strand, Pine Lakes Country Club is the golf course that started it all in Myrtle Beach. So it's only natural it's one of the most centrally located, too, on King's Highway just north of 48th Avenue North.
The course reopened in 2009 after an extensive renovation restoration and upgrade project (once a value course, now it's in Myrtle's upper tier). It's historic clubhouse is now home to the Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Fame.
Myrtle Beach's most prestigious course just north of Pine Lakes off King's Highway, the Dunes Golf & Beach Club is the only one with an ocean view (on the par-3 ninth) and features a Robert Trent Jones Sr. design that weaves classically through pines, plus a fantastic stretch of wetland holes on No. 10 through 13.
Note: Dunes is a private course but offers access through many Grand Strand resort properties.
Nobody visits Myrtle Beach without passing Myrtlewood Golf Club eventually, located right off Highway 17 Bypass across the street from Broadway at the Beach. The two courses, Palmetto and PineHills, are older, value plays.
Palmetto is longer (but a bit easier) and finishes the club's only hole that plays along the Intracoastal Waterway, the par-4 18th. PineHills is an Arthur Hills design that, while shorter, will punish your misses a little more - making it more of a test for lower handicaps.
About four miles north of Myrtlewood on the Bypass,
Resort Club at Grande Dunes is one of Myrtle's biggest and boldest golf courses.
Several holes play along the waterway on each nine, and the course can play up to 7,600 yards if you've felt your driver hasn't been cut loose on your trip quite yet.
By staying at Grande Dunes' Marina Inn, you also have access to the private Grande Dunes Members Club, a more traditional design that, thanks to its exclusivity, is both quiet and a fast play, especially with forecaddies.
Just about another mile north on Highway 17 Bypass from Grande Dunes is Waterway Hills Golf Course, the course with the gondola ride over the waterway to the clubhouse, and 27 holes of RTJ Sr. golf with tiny greens, narrow fairways and doglegs await on the other side.
If you have a late afternoon or evening flight but don't want to sacrifice your morning, there are some courses located within minutes of Myrtle Beach Airport.
Whispering Pines Golf Course is one of Myrtle Beach's bargain plays that flies under the radar, but green fees are cheap year round, there's no houses lining fairways and it's just 1.5 miles from entrance-to-entrance.
For one last challenge before heading home, look to
Prestwick Country Club, one of two public Pete Dye designs in the area and plenty tough on every hole, and just 10 minutes north to check-in.
Myrtlewood's two courses are also about 10 minutes away.
If you're willing to make the short drive over the Highway 501 Waterway bridge, it opens up a whole new collection of multi-course properties.
World Tour International Golf Links boasts 27 replicas of some of the world's finest holes, from St. Andrews to Augusta National and everywhere in between that you've seen on TV.
Or visit the Tom Jackson-designed Arrowhead Country Club with 27 tumbling holes of its own including a few along the waterway.
Legends Golf Resort features three 18-hole courses played out of one clubhouse all varying in styles, including Tom Doak's Heathland and P.B. Dye's stadium-style Moorland.
Myrtle Beach National features three Arnold Palmer designs, which starts with the spectacular King's North, a resort-style design with plenty of eye candy and risk-reward opportunities in a classic, no homes setting. Two others here vie for second place, West Course and SouthCreek.
The Mystical Golf Group's Man O' War and the Wizard play alongside each other but pose for two very different plays (out of two very different clubhouses, too). The Wizard is a very player-friendly, faux links-style design with huge greens and forgiving fairways, while Man 'O War is water-heavy and long, sure to test your game in its prime.
June 24, 2010