Golf Digest has unveiled its biennial list of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses, and a trio of Grand Strand layouts earned a spot on the prestigious list, which was unveiled in the February 2013 issue of the magazine.
The Dunes Club (No. 52), Caledonia (No. 97) and TPC Myrtle Beach (No. 98) were all ranked among America’s greatest public courses.
A classic Robert Trent Jones, Sr. design, Dunes Club is the most revered Myrtle Beach golf course. The famed layout has hosted six Senior PGA Tour Championships, the finals of the PGA Tour’s Q-School, and the Women’s U.S. Open.
Playing along natural sand dunes just yards from the Atlantic Ocean, Dunes Club is an architectural and visual masterpiece. Holes 11-13, known as Alligator Alley, are arguably the best three-hole stretch on the Grand Strand, highlighted by “Waterloo,” the monster par 5 that plays around Lake Singleton.
Caledonia, which returned to the list, was Mike Strantz’s first solo design. The course is an appealing blend of art and architecture as Strantz carved a memorable design amidst a stunning lowcountry setting.
The 18th hole, a stout par 4 that requires a carry over water and finishes in the shadow of an antebellum style clubhouse, provides an unforgettable finish to a day at Caledonia.
TPC Myrtle Beach has long been one of the area’s most highly regarded layouts, earning 5 stars in Golf Digest’s prestigious “Best Places to Play” guide. The Tom Fazio design’s inclusion on the list pushes the number of Myrtle Beach golf courses that have earned top 100 recognition in the last six years to 13.
TPC is the home course of PGA Tour star Dustin Johnson and it provides a Tour-quality challenge to everyone that tees it up. Elevated greens and tree-lined fairways conspire to create one of America’s strongest designs.
Golf Digest’s team of raters evaluated golf courses on seven categories. Below are the criteria the magazine set for each category:
1. Shot Values: How well does the course pose risks and rewards and equally test length, accuracy and finesse?
2. Resistance to Scoring: How difficult, while still being fair, is the golf course for a scratch player from the back tees?â€¨â€¨
3. Design Variety: How varied are the golf course's holes in differing lengths, configurations, hazard placements, green shapes and green contours?â€¨â€¨
4. Memorability: How well do the design features (tees, fairways, greens, hazards, vegetation and terrain) provide individuality to each hole, yet a collective continuity to the entire 18?â€¨â€¨
5. Aesthetics: How well do the scenic values of the golf course (including landscaping, vegetation, water features and backdrops) add to the pleasure of a round?â€¨â€¨
6. Conditioning: How firm, fast and rolling were the fairways, and how firm yet receptive were the greens on the day you played the course?â€¨â€¨
7. Ambience: How well does the overall feel and atmosphere of the course reflect or uphold the traditional values of the game?