Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, fondly referred to as the “Golf Capital of the World,” is renowned for its plentiful, high-quality golf courses. However, amidst the more than 80 courses scattered along this section of the Atlantic coastline, there are a few that take golfers on an especially memorable journey due to their unique, and at times, unusual design. Here’s a closer look at some of these courses that eschew tradition, offering a unique blend of creativity, innovation, and challenge that elevates the golfing experience.
1. The Dunes Golf & Beach Club
Designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones, The Dunes Golf & Beach Club seamlessly integrates the natural landscape into its layout. The course is particularly notable for the 13th hole, famously named “Waterloo.” This par-5 dogleg right takes an extreme bend around Lake Singleton, daring golfers to bite off as much of the lake as they dare for their tee shot. With its unusual design, it’s no surprise that Waterloo is one of the most photographed holes in the region and consistently ranked among the top golf holes in the world.
2. World Tour Golf Links
Have you ever dreamt of playing some of the world’s most famous golf holes without having to jet-set across the globe? World Tour Golf Links turns this dream into reality. Designer Mel Graham took inspiration from celebrated courses around the world, replicating their most iconic holes. The layout includes tributes to Augusta National’s Amen Corner, the Road Hole at St. Andrews, and the island green from TPC Sawgrass’s 17th, among others. This imaginative course design offers a unique “world tour” without ever leaving Myrtle Beach.
3. Prestwick Country Club
Prestwick Country Club is the result of a rare collaboration between Pete and P.B. Dye, a father and son team known for designing some of the most challenging and unusual courses. This par-72 layout presents an intriguing blend of design elements, including steep bunkers, bulkhead-protected greens, and towering dunes. The course’s signature 18th hole, a par-4 with a green located beyond a lake, provides an unforgettable finishing challenge.
4. Tidewater Golf Club
Tidewater Golf Club, designed by Ken Tomlinson, takes full advantage of the area’s diverse natural terrain. The course weaves through saltwater marshes, dense forests, and even alongside the Intracoastal Waterway, offering varied landscapes that significantly impact play. The course’s most striking feature is the par-3 12th hole. Here, the green perches on a bluff overlooking the marsh, with Cherry Grove Inlet and the Atlantic Ocean in the background. This blend of natural beauty and course strategy makes Tidewater a standout in Myrtle Beach.
5. Caledonia Golf & Fish Club
Located south of Myrtle Beach in Pawleys Island, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club is set within a former rice plantation, offering a rich historical setting. Designed by Mike Strantz, the course masterfully utilizes the low country landscape, with each hole uniquely blending into the natural surroundings. The 18th hole is a showstopper: a par-4 that requires a nerve-testing carry over water to a green situated just in front of the Antebellum-style clubhouse. It’s a thrilling finish to a round of golf and one that spectators often enjoy from the clubhouse’s outdoor patio.
6. The Wizard
Mystical Golf’s The Wizard course transports players to the British Isles with a links-style design rarely seen in the United States, let alone Myrtle Beach. Designed by Dan Maples, the course features dramatic elevation changes, rolling fairways, and massive, bent-grass greens, offering a distinct flavor compared to its Myrtle Beach counterparts. The stone clubhouse, reminiscent of a centuries-old castle, adds to the overall charm and unique experience.
7. The Dye Course at Barefoot Resort & Golf
The Dye Course at Barefoot Resort & Golf is a Pete Dye masterpiece that, true to his reputation, pushes golfers to their limits. The semi-private club features Dye’s signature railroad ties, pot bunkers, and multi-level fairways. Notably, the course doesn’t return to the clubhouse after the 9th hole, a design trait known as a “single loop” layout, which is unusual for American golf courses.
The diverse and innovative course designs found in Myrtle Beach, from the audacious reimagining of famous holes to the innovative use of the local landscape, reflect the city’s spirit and its passion for golf. These unconventional designs push the boundaries of traditional golf, offering unique challenges that surprise and delight players of all skill levels. The next time you find yourself in this golfing paradise, dare to play these unique courses. You’re sure to leave with memorable tales of exhilarating challenges and stunning beauty, both of which are integral to the golfing landscape in Myrtle Beach.