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|Featuring an island fairway, the par-5 "Gambler" at King's North has nothing conventional about it. (Courtesy of mbn.com)|
For daring golf course design in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, check out Grande Dunes Resort Club, True Blue Plantation or King's North at Myrtle Beach National.
Some golf courses honor the game's roots, using minimalist, classically-styled, low-budget architecture.
Then there are the head-turners that break the mold, utilizing the imagination (and machinery) of modern golf design. Myrtle Beach, which boasts more than 100 golf courses dating as far back as the 1920s, has a design for every taste.
Here are some of the Grand Strand's most dare-to-be-different golf courses:
The centerpiece of this multi-billion dollar development, Grande Dunes Resort Club has some pizazz to it. Roger Rulewich's design offers dramatic views of both the Intracoastal Waterway and the multi-million dollar, southwestern-themed villas along the fairways. A good amount of land was moved and shaped to get the best waterway views. Grande Dunes has six tee boxes going back to 7,600 yards.
Opinions vary on the Mike Strantz-designed True Blue Plantation course, and for good reason. True Blue is simply one of a kind. The holes are imaginative, and the green complexes are unlike anything you've ever seen if you've never played a Strantz course. There's even a hole with alternate left and right greens (also found at area courses Barefoot Fazio and Oyster Bay).
When Arnold Palmer redesigned his King's North course at Myrtle Beach National, he aimed to make it a modern day, resort-style stand-out with plenty of unique holes. The island fairway on the par-5 sixth hole, named "The Gambler," is the first such example, followed by No. 12's par-3 island green (each of the four par 3s require a water carry here) and finally the 18th hole's more than 40 bunkers.
The Founders Club is set in the historic lowcountry seaside town of Pawleys Island on the former Sea Gull course. But the brand new Founders Club, opened in 2008, is anything but conventional. Sprawling waste bunkers encircle each fairway, leaving little rough; and large, dramatic mounding surround the greens.
The mission at Prestwick Country Club was to create an old-world links, but Pete & P.B. Dye left there stamp as well, moving 1.3 million cubic yards to create 30 feet of elevation change on a once flat landscape just off the ocean. There are 10,000 railroad ties, and Scotland's Prestwick has nothing on this modern version's closing ninth and 18th holes, which wrap around a lake.
Legends Resort founder Danny Young took a hands-on approach to the construction of most of his golf courses, including working with Dan Maples on Oyster Bay Golf Links. The greens here are severely sloping, and some holes are anything but conventional, including the short, par-3 13th. It plays to a green high above the fairway and sits atop a concrete wall over the water.
Dye moved a lot of earth in creating the Dye Course at Barefoot Resort. The result is typical Dye mounds, humps, railroad ties and countless bunkers.
One of three Tom Fazio-designed golf courses along the Grand Strand, the newest of the bunch - the Fazio Course at Barefoot Resort - is set on expansive acreage, so there are few parallel holes. The course features huge waste bunkering with native trees.
Moorland at Legends Resort, P.B. Dye's stadium-style design, features target golf and penal waste areas. Despite a modest length - under 6,700 yards from the championship tees - Golf Digest ranks Moorland among the 50 most difficult golf courses in America.
Jack Nicklaus got out his chisel on this unassuming piece of land out on Highway 9. Long Bay Club features a lot of mounding, especially around the well protected greens. A vast amount of waste bunkering was used; you'll be driving through them occasionally, including on the signature horseshoe bunker encircling the 10th fairway.
June 24, 2009
Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker.
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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