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Myrtle Beach golf courses: Take on top designers minus the sky high Palm Springs price tags

By S. Adam Cardais,
Contributor
Davis Love III's Barefoot Resort
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Davis Love III outshined bigger name designers in crafting a world class golf course at the Barefoot Resort. (Courtesy Barefoot Resort)

As U.S. golf destinations go, Myrtle Beach is arguably one of the best for playing golf courses designed by brand-name architects - mainly because you won't have to skim too much off the top of your kids' college fund to do it.

Green fees at places like the Love Course at the Barefoot Resort can run into three figures, but you won't find yourself hitting the middle $200s like in Phoenix-Scottsdale or Palm Springs.

And with more than 100 courses, the Grand Strand boasts plenty of other name designers, including the godfather himself, Pete Dye.

To get a little closer to celebrity in Myrtle Beach, check out these courses.

Barefoot Resort, Love Course: Davis Love III faced stiff competition when designing this 7,000-yard course: The three other Barefoot tracks spring from the minds of Pete Dye, Tom Fazio and Greg Norman. But the native Carolinian came out ahead - though it's true he had an advantage from the start.

"DL III shocked the golfing world by upstaging the venerable Fazio and Dye," Shane Sharp wrote in a review for TravelGolf.com. "In all fairness to the other designers, the Love Course was the beneficiary of a great piece of property that winds its way through the ruins of an old plantation."

Ranked 38th in Golf Digest's 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses 2005-2006, the Love Course's wide fairways and spacious landing areas make it a pleasure to play.

Barefoot Resort, Dye Course: Not surprisingly, this is considered the most difficult course at Barefoot. Dye has a penchant for building mind-boggling tracks, and this 7,300-yard-plus private course has enough hidden bunkers and mounding to drive you crazy.

The Dunes Golf and Beach Club: Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., the Dunes is one of the most respected tracks on the Grand Strand and is consistently rated one of America's top 100 courses. It has hosted the Senior Tour Championships and the Women's U.S. Open.

"You play through live oaks, rolling coastal terrain and the roar of the Atlantic in your ears," Tim McDonald wrote in naming the Dunes one of Myrtle Beach's top 10 courses. "You'll need to be both long and smart off the tee and be careful around the greens, many fronted by large, penal bunkers."

River's Edge Golf Club: Designed by Arnold Palmer and Erik Larsen, this course runs along the Shallotte River and the surrounding marshes. The landscape is stunning, even winning comparisons to Pebble Beach.

That might be overstating it a bit, but one thing that can be said about River's Edge for sure - it's long.

"...don't let your friends coerce you into being Macho Man and playing it from the back tees if you're a mid- to high-handicapper," McDonald wrote in a review for MyrtleBeachGolf.com. "The slope rating is 149 from the tips, one of the highest in the Low Country, and will throw 10 forced carries at you, either off the tee, to the green or both. If you fit the above description and try it from the back, you'll end up tired and frustrated with a scorecard either bloated or unreliable."

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