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|Caledonia Golf and Fish Club routinely ranks on just about every national top-100 list. (Courtesy of Caledonia Golf & Fish Club)|
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- Players can often be overwhelmed by the sheer number of courses on South Carolina's Grand Strand.
So many to play, so little time.
No worries, we're here to point you in the right direction. If you've got one week, these are great options to make sure you feel you've played seven fantastic Myrtle Beach golf courses.
But why stop there?
For every course, we've got a post-round option for dinner and drinks. Make the most of the trip.
Some locals have called this club the "Transformer." Recently re-built and re-designed atop an older golf course, Founder's Club is one of the prides of the south end of the Grand Strand.
Instead of fighting the natural layout -- the course is located at a spot where the Intracoastal Waterway and elevation once deposited plenty of sand -- the Tom Walker design put it to good use. Cart paths are made out of that sand, and the only true pavement is that around the greens and tees.
The element can add a bit of extra strategy to a round.
Pro tip: Pawleys Island Tavern may not look like much from the outside, but locals have made the "PIT" a mainstay. The restaurant features Lowcountry cuisine, meaning seafood is a must. The Pawleys Island Tavern is also home to some of the area's best bands, and they have live music most nights of the week.
There's a reason Caledonia Golf and Fish Club routinely ranks on just about every national top-100 list made in the past two decades.
This course is maintained as well as any in the area. Your round will be capped off with No. 18, a par 4 that tests your abilities. Make sure you snap a shot while on the green with the clubhouse in the background.
Caledonia will cost you a little more than your average course, but it is well worth the price tag.
Pro tip: La Playa has some great authentic Mexican food. From the fish tacos to the enchiladas or something a little spicier, you can't go wrong. While you're at it, try one of the margaritas. It will make a possible bad day on the course seem a little better.
Tom Fazio wasn't playing any games when he designed TPC Myrtle Beach.
The former PGA Seniors Tour course, like Caledonia, gets plenty of recognition from national and local publications alike. TPC recently underwent green replacement, and the staff touched up many of the bunkers.
This course can also be packaged with others on this list, so there is potential for savings there, as well.
Pro tip: After a fire destroyed the Dead Dog Saloon in 2012, owners and locals made sure it was back up and running as quickly as possible. It's now back in business, and the picturesque shots of the inlet are an added bonus to the food and drinks.
Use your vacation's hump day to go back in time.
At the Heathland at Legends Golf Course, players will get a feel of the Scottish highlands. The links-style course is different than any other you'll play in Myrtle Beach.
With an abundance of long Heather grass and a wind factor that simply doesn't make sense, put on the tam and go to work.
Pro tip: Just around the corner from Legends sits a local's favorite, Handley's Pub and Grub. The Scottish owners have established one of the best beer selections in the area. And if you want to feel like you're still across the pond, go with the fish and chips.
South Creek has a pristine layout, and renovations just a couple years back proved to be worth every penny. The tee boxes are immaculate, the fairways give players nearly perfectly positioned second and third shots, and the greens roll as true as just about any in the area.
Pro tip: What better place to cap off a round than at a place named for one of the all-time greats? Sam Snead's Tavern will be opening a new location down the road from Myrtle Beach National in April 2013. For those who haven't been to one of the other locations in Florida or Virginia, expect to enter a restaurant decked out in memorabilia from some of the game's best players throughout the years.
If you want a private atmosphere at a semi-private availability, this is the course for you. Dunes Golf and Beach Club stands among the best courses in America every year.
The Robert Trent Jones course includes three of the best holes on the Grand Strand packaged together on the back nine. No. 11, No. 13 and No. 18 have the notoriety among locals and tourists alike, and they make sure you remember your round well after it has been completed.
Pro tip: You've just played an upscale course. Throw on a jacket and keep it going. A short drive down Ocean Boulevard will lead you to Sea Captain's house, one of the finer restaurants Myrtle Beach has to offer. From fish to steaks to drinks, you can't go wrong with anything on the menu.
That was added to a long list of accolades the North Myrtle Beach golf course has garnered since it opened in the early 1990s. Located near Cherry Grove, on the north end of the Grand Strand, Tidewater has averaged more than three national and regional top play honors annually.
The views certainly haven't hurt that. Players can do their thing while seeing the Atlantic Ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway and the Cherry Grove Inlet salt marshes all in a matter of holes.
Pro tip: You've finished your week of golf, but there's one more spot you should try for food before you go. Give Hamburger Joe's in North Myrtle Beach a shot, and try the bacon double cheeseburger. You won't need to eat again for some time.
February 12, 2013
Ian Guerin is a freelance writer and DJ living in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He's decent with the driver and putter; it's everything else in the bag that gives him trouble. Feel free to follow Ian on Twitter @iguerin
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