My friend, Clay, has been playing Myrtle Beach golf pretty religiously for the past seven years. During that time, he’s developed a pretty good understanding of the good, bad, and very ugly of all the golf courses along the Grand Strand. Always one to give his opinion–feelings be damned–Clay stepped right up to the plate when I asked him to recommend the five most challenging courses to play. Keep in mind, although he’s pretty much on one course or another every weekend, Clay’s handicap is about a 15, so his list of courses are still playable, and enjoyable, to golfers of all skill levels. By the way, Clay books golf packages and golf vacations for Myrtle Beach Seaside Properties, so it’s kind of his job to know the ins and outs of golf—but unlike the phonies out there, Clay walks the walk rather than just talking the talk.
Here’s his list of the Toughest:
Fifth: Rivers Edge. Designed by the great Arnold Palmer, River’s Edge actually sits just above the South Carolina border in Shallotte, North Carolina. Real creativity took place to carve such an amazing layout within the bluffs overlooking the Shallotte River.
Fourth: Barefoot Dye. Treachery is thy name. With every stroke, Beware, the pitfalls are many at this Pete Dye course. Really, a layout that will test every nuance of your game, you have to see and experience to believe the dynamic elevations.
Third: Oyster Bay. You will not find two of the same holes here. Huge, deep bunkers, and gorgeous scenery. Bring your best game and your thinking cap to make the most out of this monster.
Second: Barefoot Fazio. A sister course to the Barefoot Dye that Clay ranked as fourth, the Tom Fazio creation lists higher thanks to the sweeping design of the rolling stretch of green. Really, you just can’t lose by playing this beauty…except maybe a few balls.
First: True Blue. So, it’s no secret. True Blue is a great course. Golf Digest once ranked it as the “#1 Public Course in the Myrtle Beach Area” and amongst “America’s Top 100 Greatest Public Courses” overall. But, let’s forget the fact that it sits on what was once a booming rice and indigo plantation that now naturally supports thick, native vegetation to create a stunning playing field. The real beauty behind True Blue is the layout. Play it once, and you’ll long to get back to it again, and again. Mounding and bunkering to the extreme, plus hidden pitfalls around every corner add to the excitement and intrigue of finding each hole’s hidden green. All in all, it’s a fine mix of par 3s, 4s and 5s to keep you mentally sharp, and constantly changing your tactics for a thoroughly enjoyable game for those that really, really like a challenge.