Golf is one of the major attractions of Myrtle Beach—indeed, this is arguably America’s greatest golf vacation destination. Golfers can tee off at more than 100 championship golf courses (www.mbn.com), making it possible to play a different course every day for 3 months straight. Many local courses host major professional and amateur tournaments. Some of the most visible tournaments attract huge interest locally; examples include the PGA Tour Superstore World Amateur Handicap Championship, in late August; the Palmetto High Golf Championship, held in March and again in September, wherein golf teams from high schools throughout the country compete against each other; and the Veterans Golf Classic, a May event that’s open only to active military personnel and qualified veterans.
Variety is a contributing factor to the success and popularity of Myrtle Beach and Grand Strand golf courses, which come in many shapes, sizes, and degrees of difficulty. Courses have been designed by some of the best-known names in golf: Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Rees Jones, Tom Fazio, Gary Player, Don Ross, Dan Maple, Tom Jackson, and Pete Dye.
Golf-course architects have taken care to protect the habitats of indigenous wildlife. Players find themselves in the midst of towering Carolina pines or giant live oaks draped in Spanish moss. Some courses overlook huge bluffs with the Atlantic Ocean or Intracoastal Waterway in the background. Some of the courses feature such unusual attractions as a private airstrip adjoining a clubhouse, a cable car that crosses the Intracoastal Waterway, and alligators lurking in water hazards. Some courses are built on the grounds of historic rice plantations, which offer Old South atmosphere.
Although golf is played year-round, spring and autumn are the busiest (and most expensive) seasons. Many golf packages include room, board, and greens fees. For information, call Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday (tel. 800/845-4653; www.golfholiday.com).
Aberdeen Country Club, 701 Bucks Trail, Longs, S.C. 9, North Myrtle Beach (tel. 843/399-2660 or 843/235-6061; www.playaberdeen.com), is a 27-hole course designed by Tom Jackson, charging greens fees of $31 to $67. Along the banks of the Waccamaw River, this course has Bermuda greens, along with a pro shop and a practice area with a driving range.
Arcadian Shores Golf Club, 701 Hilton Rd. (tel. 866/326-5275 or 843/449-5217; www.arcadianshores.com), an 18-hole, par-72 course opened in 1974, was created by noted golf architect Rees Jones. Just 5 miles north of Myrtle Beach off U.S. 17, the course has bent-grass greens winding through a stately live-oak grove. Electric carts are required, and greens fees are $31 to $67.
Azalea Sands Golf Club, 2100 U.S. 17 S., North Myrtle Beach (tel. 800/253-2312 or 843/272-6191; www.azaleasandsgc.com), opened in 1972. The 18-hole course features white-sand traps and blue lakes. Designed by architect Gene Hamm, it’s a popular course for golfers of all handicaps. Greens fees range from $40 to $55.
Beachwood Golf Club, 1520 U.S. 17 S., Crescent Section, North Myrtle Beach (tel. 800/526-4889 or 843/272-6168; www.beachwoodgolf.com), is another course designed by Gene Hamm. Opened in 1968, it has 18 holes, charging greens fees ranging from $55 to $70. It’s a par-72 course with blue tees of 6,844 yards.
Caledonia Golf and Fish Club, 369 Caledonia Dr., Pawleys Island (tel. 800/483-6800 or 843/237-3675; www.fishclub.com), is set atop what used to be a series of marshy rice paddies, and some of its links are graced with century-old oak trees. This golf course has an intelligent layout favored by pros, and a clubhouse whose architecture was inspired by an antique Lowcountry plantation house. Its only drawback is a location that’s about a 30-minute drive south of Myrtle Beach. A flotilla of charter boats and deep-sea fishing pros are associated with this place as well. Greens fees range from $102 to $190.
Grande Dunes, 8700 Golf Village Lane (tel. 843/315-0333; www.grandedunes.com/golf), features two of the newer and better courses. The Resort Club is an 18-hole course set on a bluff overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway with panoramic views. Consistently rated as one of the best courses in the nation, it is a par-72 course with numerous elevation changes and wide Bermuda-grass fairways, including 34 acres of lakes. Greens fees are $50 to $141. The adjacent Members Club course was designed by Nick Price, but is off-limits to non-members.
Legends, 1500 Legends Dr. (U.S. 501), Myrtle Beach (tel. 800/299-6187 or 843/236-9318, www.legendsgolf.com), features three choices for championship golf designed by Pete Dye and Tom Doak, with a gorgeous clubhouse modeled after the home of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club in Scotland. The complex comprises Legends Heathland, Legends Parkland, and Legends Moorland; the latter boasts many of the most feared holes in Myrtle Beach, in addition to the shortest par four guarded by “Hell’s Half-Acre.” Greens fees range $49 to $104 at all three courses.
The 36-hole, par-72 Myrtlewood Golf Club, 1500 48th Ave. (U.S. 17 Business), North Myrtle Beach (tel. 800/283-3633 or 843/913-4516; www.myrtlewoodgolf.com), was designed by architect Arthur Hills. Bordering the Intracoastal Waterway, the PineHills course is the fourth oldest at Myrtle Beach, measuring 6,640 yards. Also at Myrtlewood, the Palmetto Course is one of the best in the area, with bent-grass putting greens. It stretches for 6,953 yards. Greens fees range $31 to $69.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.