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|King's North headlines three Arnold Palmer designs at Myrtle Beach National. Just watch out for the bunkers. (Courtesy of MBN)|
Maybe you don't like having to get directions every morning on your way to a golf course while on vacation. Or maybe you're after the most pain-free way to play 36 holes of golf in one day.
Myrtle Beach has loads of multi-course golf clubs and resorts that make this possible, running the gamut from high-end to bargain plays.
The Grand Strand's golf landscape changed forever when Barefoot Resort came to North Myrtle Beach, bringing four big-name designers to the resort: Fazio, Dye, Love III and Norman (though you'll need to head down the road to a separate clubhouse to play the semi-private Dye course). Both the Fazio and Love golf courses are generally ranked among Myrtle Beach's best, while the swampy Norman course features Intracoastal Waterway scenery. Dye's penal design is one of the area's toughest, littered with bunkering.
While many multi-course facilities would argue that each of its courses are equally good, there's no debating which of the three Arnold Palmer designs here is the top draw: It's King's North. The course was redesigned and upgraded a decade ago and is as flashy a Myrtle Beach signature layout as there is, complete with the island fairway "Gambler" par 5 and the island green par-3 12th hole with the "S.C." bunkers.
Hang out at M.B.N. on any given day and you'll run into plenty of groups warming up on one of the two older designs: the West Course and SouthCreek. The West Course sits next to King's North and features the same type of topography, just not the bells and whistles, while SouthCreek is a shorter, shot-makers' course that winds through a residential development, placing a premium on accuracy.
Just down the road from M.B.N. on Highway 501, Legends offers three comparably good golf courses in Myrtle Beach's upper-middle class. Each design, however, is a world apart from one another.
Tom Doak's Heathland course at Legends course is the Grand Strand's best faux links, where the style of Scotland is captured just about as well as is possible on Myrtle Beach's softer soils. The Legends Resorts's Moorland course is a tournament-style track designed by P.B. Dye and boasting dramatic bunkering, steep railroad ties and green complexes. The Parkland course is the longest of the bunch, playing through thick woods. It is a tribute to the designs of Alister Mackenzie.
Ocean Ridge keeps getting bigger, with the addition of Leopard's Chase in 2009 and Jaguar's Lair. There are several generations of golf courses here. Lion's Paw and Panther's Run are good options for high handicappers. Tiger's Eye, which features an unusual amount of elevation change, is still considered one of designer Tim Cate and the North Strand's top courses, holding its own in Golf Digest's "Top 100 Places You Can Play" rankings.
Sea Trail's trio of golf courses designed by Rees Jones (the Jones course), Willard Byrd and the flagship course from Dan Maples are located near Ocean Ridge Plantation just north of the North Carolina/South Carolina border. This resort caters to the golf junkie and even offers a tempting three-night/six round golf package for those up for a golf-till-you-drop itinerary.
Myrtlewood Golf Club: The club's prime location and value price point in the heart of Myrtle Beach keeps its two 18-hole courses busy all year long. The original course at Myrtlewood, the Palmetto, is the longer and easier option and also features two closing holes along the Intracoastal Waterway. The PineHills course, designed by Arthur Hills, doesn't have much acreage, but produces a shorter and, many argue, more interesting play.
Litchfield Golf & Beach Resort: This South Strand resort doesn't have golf on its immediate beachside grounds, but just a quick and free shuttle ride across the street you'll find three lowcountry gems: Litchfield Country Club, River Club and Willbrook Plantation, all at their own facility but just around the corner from one another.
Grande Dunes Resort: This is about as high-end as Myrtle Beach gets. The luxury resort and residential development along the waterway boasts two modern courses, but the Member's Course offers few unadvertised public tee times. The ones it does offer are available through a select few resort properties.
Man O' War and the Wizard: Mystical Golf wanted to offer two totally separate golf experiences in creating these sister golf courses, Man O' War and the Wizard, which are located right next to each other. So there will be separate clubhouses (one is a fishing wharf, the other a castle ruin), but they share an entrance and getting between the golf courses, both very different from one another, is a cinch.
January 12, 2009
Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Channel Courses & Travel. 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.
A good par-3 course can counter several of the most common complaints about golf -- it takes too long to play, is too expensive and too difficult. The truth is, however, most par-3 courses aren't worth the trip for the traveling golfer. That may be starting to change, though. Mike Bailey spotlights some of the very best par-3 courses (open to the public) in the country.
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