The Myrtle Beach golf scene is home to nearly 1,800 holes and standing out amongst the game’s greatest collection of quality courses isn’t easy, but here is a ranking of the five greatest, most epic holes the Grand Strand has to offer.
#5. Caveat: I’m a sucker for short par 4s; the risk-reward nature of the tee shot, the thrill of carding a birdie, the frustration of feeling like I gave away strokes (how could I double bogey a 315-yard par 4?! Grrrr!), every course should have at least one.
All of which leads to the surprise member of the list – the ninth hole on the Parkland Course at Legends Resort, which barely edges the more renowned 16th on the Moorland Course.
A dogleg right, the ninth plays 317 yards from the blue tees and 308 from the whites. Play the hole straight and try to further shorten it and water lurks on the right.
There are six bunkers, including four in the fairway, but the sandy canyon that fronts the green MUST be avoided. There are many ways to challenge the hole, but none are as simple (or easy) as the yardage suggests.
As the famously cynical Gary Van Sickle of Sports Illustrated and Golf.com once wrote, “I'd love to stand on that ninth tee with a bucket of balls and figure out how to play that monster. It's a fun hole.”
Couldn’t agree more.
#4. The 14th hole at the Grande Dunes Resort Course plays along the Intracoastal Waterway and has all the elements of a great hole – outstanding design, natural beauty and options.
It’s a long par 3 – 189 yards from the blues, 158 from the whites – that requires a carry over water to a green nestled against the banks of the Intracoastal. It’s a sweat inducing shot on a good day, and when the wind is blowing off the nearby Atlantic Ocean, the challenge increases exponentially.
While the hole is unquestionably difficult, architect Roger Rulewich, mercifully, left room to bailout short and left of the green.
No less an authority than Golf Magazine’s Travelin Joe Passov said of the hole:
“Rulewich did an excellent job and totally surprised me with the pulse-quickening 220-yard, par-3 14th. Downhill tee shot, massive green, gargantuan bunker, superb interaction with the Intracoastal Waterway – impressive.”
#3. The third-ranked hole on our list is probably No. 1 in the hearts of most golfers. The 18th hole at Caledonia, a par 4, is the area’s most popular and arguably it’s best. The dogleg right requires a carry over water to a green that sits in the shadow of an antebellum style clubhouse.
But the 18th hole at Caledonia is special for reasons beyond architecture. There are almost always people assembled on the clubhouse porch oohing and ahhing based on the quality of the approach. It’s an idyllic scene and the perfect finish at one of the best courses in America.
#2. The most iconic hole in Myrtle Beach is the par 5 13th at the Dunes Club, known as Waterloo. For many, it’s unquestionably the best hole in the area. Legendary golf writer Dan Jenkins once ranked it among America’s top 18 holes.
So what makes the 13th so special?
It’s a 90-degree dogleg right that plays around Lake Singleton, which is teeming with alligators. The green is unreachable in two, so it requires three outstanding shots to get on in regulation. The drive is about placement, the second shot tests power and intestinal fortitude (how much of the lake do you want to cut off), and the approach is about precision. Did I mention the green is one of the most challenging on the course?
The 13th hole at the Dunes Club is a hole you must play.
#1. If I could play only one Myrtle Beach golf hole, it would be the fourth at Tidewater. The view of Cherry Grove from tee to green is stunning on the slight dogleg left that plays 416 from the tips.
Golf doesn’t get much better than standing in the fairway (it’s wide!) contemplating a long approach to a green protected by six bunkers, including a monster in the front.
The challenge is exceeded only by beauty, and the combination makes the fourth hole at Tidewater my favorite hole in Myrtle Beach.
So that's my top five. Help me out - what did I miss?
Is there a golf hole in Myrtle Beach that you'll always remember? Tell us in the comments below!