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|The Wizard golf course ends with two island greens. (Courtesy of The Wizard)|
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- With so many golf courses to choose from, the Grand Strand delivers -- from ritzy resort layouts by big-name designers to strong local favorites that won't break the bank.
Many of the most affordable Myrtle Beach golf courses have been around for decades. Some have been updated and renovated, but they have still stuck to their legacy of providing a good round of golf for a tremendous value.
The 6,977-yard Palmetto Course gets a lot of repeat business. The dramatic finishing stretch begins with back-to-back watery par 4s at Nos. 14 and 15, followed by more water on the par-3 17th. The 18th is the course's signature challenge.
The two courses at Myrtlewood can be had for as low as $39 in the offseason.
Myrtlewood's PineHills Course is narrower with more doglegs than the Palmetto. The course was redesigned by Arthur Hills in 1993, prompting a name switch from The Pines to its current name. Mounding and intrusive water hazards define the 6,640-yard course. The third hole, where the fairway slithers along water, highlights a strong set of par 5s.
Architect Dan Maples moved a ton of dirt to create some movement at The Wizard Golf Club, a 6,721-yard par 71 built in 1996. Island greens at the par-3 17th and the par-4 18th demand a heroic finish, as Mark Silvers delivered in shooting a course-record 62.
New MiniVerde Bermuda greens installed this summer have enhanced the West Course at Myrtle Beach National. Water is sprinkled throughout the 6,866-yard layout, but none more intrusive than the par-4 15th and par-3 18th. Designed by Arnold Palmer and Francis Duane in 1973, this forgiving course is lined with Carolina pines -- not homes or condos -- so the setting is quiet and pleasing.
Three nines – the Bear, Fox and Otter -- make up the 27-hole facility at River Oaks Golf Plantation, which was designed by Gene Hamm and Tom Jackson on an 800-acre site that used to be a nature preserve. All the greens were recently renovated to Ultradwarf Bermuda. Seven of the holes on the Bear feature water, including a near island green at No. 4.
Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed Waterway Hills Golf Club in 1975. A gondola ride across the Intracoastal Waterway leads to 27 holes, the Oaks, Lakes and Ravine nines. The boat ride whisks players away to the tranquility of the surrounding trees and rolling terrain with no homes or condos in play.
The greens on the Avocet Course at Wild Wing Plantation are now MiniVerde Bermuda, although the nine-hole Hummingbird Course remains PennLinks Bentgrass. The upgrade, completed this summer, will ensure a true roll year-round. The Avocet, designed by Larry Nelson and Jeff Brauer in 1993, is 7,121 yards of watery challenges at every turn. The signature hole is No. 9, which features a double fairway with a "valley of sin" fronting the green.
October 25, 2011
Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
Finding a golf course to play in the Sarasota/Bradenton area 45 miles south of Tampa is easy. World-ranked beaches, European-style boutique shopping and al fresco dining, and a fantastic circus museum are just a few of the choices available for off-course entertainment.
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