Choosing courses to play in Myrtle Beach is a
bit like singling out a charlatan at a political
convention: there are just way too many
Some folks opt for only Top 100
layouts or brand-name architects; others are
drawn to bargain-basement green fees. But some hardy souls
relish the epic tests: man versus nature, scorecard versus par,
thirst versus beverage cart. Here you’ll find — in order or
orneriness — the toughest courses in town. Let the battle be joined.
The meanest track on the Grand Strand comes
from the Marquis de Sod himself, Pete Dye. It’s
reasonably playable if you rein in your ego and
choose the right tees, but who does that anymore?
the tips — or the wrong tees — it’s a brute, with an Everestlike
slope of 149. If the scattering of pot bunkers doesn’t
get you, then expect to be roughed up by the rugged
quartet of par-3s, including two of the toughest holes
on the course: the 195-yard 6th and 227-yard 15th.
Oh yeah, the club-twisting rough and the slick greens
don’t make life any easier.
It’s no surprise that the King’s
gambling style of play
translates into multiple
risk/reward holes at this
The risks are
terrifying — and they are
everywhere — as evidenced by
the 74.7 rating and 149 slope for a
course that barely stretches
Even the safe play is
fraught with peril on most holes,
thanks to targets jabbed into
tidal marshes along the Shallotte
River. The thrill-packed 570-
yard, par-5 9th is one of Myrtle
Beach’s hardest 3-shotters.
Fortunately, liquid medication
for your pain is just steps away
in the clubhouse.
Built 20 years ago when
the Golden Bear would
routinely put a serious
growl factor into his designs,
Pawleys won’t scare anyone
these days with its length.
the vast waste bunkers and the
acres of marshland still have bite.
High, soft-landing, accurate
approaches are in order — otherwise, you’re looking at a pit
stop in Reload City.
Typical of the
test are the 145-yard, par-3 13th
and the 444-yard, par-4 16th,
which share a narrow double
green isolated by salt marsh.
This 60-year-old layout
offers a valuable lesson
in knowing your
Sure, Gary McCord
once won a Champions Tour
event here at 12-under-par, but the only numbers you need to
pay attention to are the slope
(144) and formidable course
In other words, for
middle handicappers this is the
golf equivalent of a mugging,
thanks to its collection of
elevated, fiercely trapped greens
and card-wreckers like the
lagoon-laced, 430-yard, par-4
11th and the spirit-crushing
590-yard, par-5 13th, which
doglegs 110 degrees around
alligator-filled Singleton Lake.
The huge fairways and gigantic greens — all guarded by colossal
bunkers — suggest the scale of the challenge at this course, the
longest one in Myrtle Beach.
The real difficulty comes in the
profusion of water hazards that drown nearly every hole, most alarmingly
at the 8th and 14th, a pair of all-carry par-3s that clock in at more than 240
yards from the back tees.
Ball retrievers were invented for holes like the
par-5 13th, which features two forced carries, and the par-5 17th, where
water lurks for any shot tugged even slightly left. On the bright side,
six sets of tees allow you to limit the pain.
If you’re still not down for the
count, here are another fistful of
courses that pack a mean punch.
Panther’s Run at Ocean Ridge Plantation
7,089 yards, par 72;
Green fees: $54-$93
St. James Plantation (Players Club)
6,947 yards, par 72;
Green fees: $80-$100; 800-281-6626,