Myrtle Beach SC Golf Weekend

TPC Myrtle Beach

T&L Golf , Nov/Dec 2005

Golf Digest, 8/10

Golf Magazine , 10/10, 2/09, 2/10

Your nuts-and-bolts guide to golf mecca Myrtle Beach

By Joe Passov, Senior Editor (Courses/Rankings), Golf Magazine

Which price fits you in America's golf capital?

Under $200 per person

Sleep In Special Package

Where you'll play
Two rounds of golf at:

Aberdeen Country Club
27 hole; 843-235-6077
Indian Wells Golf Club
6,624 yards, par 72; 843-651-1505
Bay Tree Golf Plantation
54 holes; 843-399-6166
Lion's Paw Golf Links
7,003 yards, par 72; 910-287-1717

*Plus nine other course options

Where you'll stay

Ocean Plaza Myrtle Beach
The package includes three nights accommodation.

Book it
Call 800-322-2166 or visit

Under $500 per person

Wild on the Myrtle Beach Package

Where you'll play
Four rounds at:

Belle Terre
7,013 yards, par 72; 843-236-8888
Wild Wing Falcon [ Fat Guy Note :  Since closed]
7,082 yards, par 72; 843-347-9464
Wild Wing Wood Stork [ Fat Guy Note :  Since closed]

7,044 yards, par 72; 843-347-9464
Grande Dunes
7,618 yards, par 72; 843-449-7070

Where you'll stay

Myrtle Wood Villas

Four nights accommodations are included.

Book it
Call 866-554-1537 or visit

Under $1000 per person

The Royal Tour Package

Where you'll play
Four rounds at:

World Tour Golf Links
27 holes; 843-236-2000
King's North
7,082 yards, par 72; 843-448-2308
Tidewater Golf Club & Plantation
7,078 yards, par 72; 800-446-5363
TPC of Myrtle Beach
6,950 yards, par 72; 843-357-3399 Plus nine other course options

Where you'll stay

Holiday Inn at the Pavilion

Four nights oceanfront suiteaccommodationss.

Book it
Call 800-734-6475 or visit

Best Bar In Myrtle: Per Golf Digest's 2008 50 Best 19th Holes

Part of the Legends Resort; it's "the epi-center" of the Myrtle Beach golf experience; roomy but usually jammed with "fat guys from Delaware on a golf getaway"; it's a "scene," with golfers of all shapes and sizes "who don't have a curfew"; tons of beer and good burgers.'s Myrtle Beach Guide:

There's a thin line between bachelor parties and buddy trips, and the Grand Strand is especially good for bachelor parties if the soon-to-be-doomed bachelor and his buddies are golfers. You can do everything you normally do at bachelor parties, then stumble out the door for limitless golf options.

What do you need for a great bachelor party? The essence is cheap digs, alcohol and nude dancers. Myrtle Beach has all that and more. For bonus, it's got the beach — to lie out and let the sun soak up the Jim Beam.

Beware, though: June is also family summer vacation month in Myrtle Beach. Also, pick your spot wisely; the Grand Strand changes character every few miles.

For example, you would not want to party in Sunset Beach, at the northernmost reaches of the Grand Strand. It's quieter than a church. Same for the southern end, with its Southern genteel nature.

No, you want Myrtle Beach or North Myrtle Beach — where the wine, women and song are. As for lodging, the place has so many cheap hotels - even during peak seasons - that it may be smarter to just drive around looking for something rather than make a reservation.

First things first. Book a cheap flight to get things rolling, and then you want a, shall we say, exotic showgirl bar. You want your buddy to see what he'll be missing, while you get in a few peeks yourself.

Myrtle Beach is lousy with strip clubs; you can't turn around without bumping into one. Here are some recommendations:

The Crazy Horse was voted the No. 1 club chain in the country by Exotic Dancer Magazine, a publication with as much integrity as Time and Newsweek. It's best known for having a variety of exotic women from all sorts of exotic locales. They have a herd of 80-100 strippers every night for your viewing pleasure, as well as VIP and Presidential rooms. They also have three bars and "full-service rooms," with 10 cocktail waitresses. For golfers, there is a free buffet daily from 4-7 p.m.

Masters is the largest gentlemen's club in the area, with 33,000 square feet of nudity of the female kind. It also caters to golfers: half off or two-for-one if you show your scorecard. Masters also has a pro shop and an outdoors short course if you can tear yourself away from the babes.

• Others: Derriere's Gentlemen's Club is the only fully nude club in the Myrtle Beach area. It's BYOB. Thee Doll House is another popular spot and, for the ladies, there's Ladies Night Out, with male dancers.

If you're some kind of right-wing religious nut, there are tamer nightlife options.

Broadway at the Beach at Revolutions, Crocodile Rocks, Malibu's and Froggy Bottoms , for example, and the Hard Rock Café and House of Blues are good options.

There will be times when you will have to eat. You're lucky there because Myrtle Beach has 1,800 restaurants, from the rankest fast-food joint to fine dining. You'll probably want a nice place the first night or so, so try Thoroughbreds, The Library or the Collectors Café.

After that, you'll be eating to ward off hangovers, and there is any number of good places for that. Umberto's is a Pittsburgh-style Italian place popular with meat lovers, and Dick's Last Resort is great for beer, wings and barbecued chicken in a bucket. Another good barbecue joint is Mr. Pitt .

If You Go
Tee times: 1-888-851-7070
Web site: or

Crazy Horse
3102 Highway 17
Phone: (843) 272-2514

Masters Club
1901 10th Ave. North
Phone: (843) 916-0972

Derriere's Gentlemen's Club
804 Seaboard St.
Phone: (843) 946-6615

Thee Doll House
9719 Highway 17
Phone: (843) 449-3655

Ladies Night Out
1901 10th Ave. North
Phone: (843) 916-0972

Extreme Limousines
Phone: (843) 293-5466
Web site:

There are several good seafood buffets, like Benjamin's Calabash Seafood Buffet. Calabash to the north and Murrells Inlet to the south have good, fresh seafood restaurants.

Pier 14 and NY Prime are also good for meat-lovers. For down and dirty, alcohol-absorbing, greasy grub, you want The Filling Station , a pizza buffet joint that gets raves, Hamburger Joe's or my all-time, late-night favorite, Krystals .

As for lodging, Barefoot Resort and Golf is a good choice, close to the action. If you want something cheaper, the Hampton Inn on 48th Ave. should treat you right. Or, Ocean Forest Villas is also centrally located, close to both downtown and Restaurant Row, and you can bunk in with your buddies.

As for transportation, if no one wants to be the designated driver, you can go hog wild with Extreme Limousine , with super-stretch, SUVs and corporate sedans.

Now, the golf courses. You're going to be a little wobbly and fragile, so you'll want something easy and quiet. I recommend any of the courses at the quiet Sea Trail Plantation , but especially the Dan Maples course.

At 6,751 yards and with a respectable slope rating of 135 from the blue tees, the course isn't overly long, and offers a combination of fairly easy holes balanced by some moderately tough ones, especially the longer par 4s. Women request the course often: the ladies tees, one of four sets, are 5,090 yards.

The Island Green, Surf Golf and Beach Club, Wicked Stick Golf Links, South course at Deer Track and Beachwood Golf Club are also good for you in your shameful condition.

From two Nov/Dec 2005 T&L Golf articles:

[ Fat Guy Comments : As cool of a magazine as T&L Golf used to be, with it's travel format and as much info about where to eat, see, and stay as there is about where to play, they also got pretty pompous sometimes. Actually, give me the same format magazine aimed at a middle class target audience, and geared more towards cheap travel deals, good value courses, and the best dive bars, moreso than how the souffle' at the Four Seasons is, and I'd be the first to subscribe (maybe I should start one--don't I wish--and isn't this website my substitute anyway?)

Anyway, I'm half-shocked T&L Golf even stooped to profiling Myrtle, which they would hate to admit probably still appeals to large chunks of their Tommy Bahama demographic. They opened one of their two Myrtle articles painfully conceding that Myrtle actually IS likely the Golf Capital Of The World, then quickly dismissed everything outside Old-South-personified Pine Lakes International Country Club as being cheap thrills and fast food in a place which would be more aptly named "Instant Gratification, SC". You could practically see them looking down their noses over their glasses when forced to acknowledge Myrtle's legion of pancake joints and (God forbid, ahem)… Gentlemen's clubs. Taken with these grains of salt, here's what T&L says about the Grand Strand. I've taken the liberty of boiling it down to the bare pertinent info to spare you their elitist attitude…]

T&L Golf Review:

Where To Play:
Caledonia G&FC
Pawley's Island
Caledonia is among the handful of masterpieces in the too-small portfolio of the late, great Mike Stranz, who also designed True Blue here. Both are brilliant.

Grande Dunes GC
Myrtle Beach
Roger Rulewich

A scenic journey through maritime forests bordering the intercoastal waterway.

Pine Lakes Intl CC
Myrtle Beach

See Pine Lakes Intl CC

Thistle GC
Tom Cate

27-hole facility with huge bunkers, water carries, and strategic mounding.

TPC Myrtle Beach
Murrells Inlet
Tom Fazio and Lanny Wadkins

Plays through pine forsests and bucolic wetlands.

Tradition GC
Pawleys Island
Ron Garl

Former rice plantation features generous landing areas and tightly guarded greens.

Where To Stay:

Premiere Resorts @ Barefoot R&GC

North Myrtle Beach
$104-$136 two bedroom villa
$210-$222 four bedroom villa, north tower

Four courses from Fazio, Dye, Norman, and DL III at this laid back resort.

Legends GR
Myrtle Beach
$99-$179 two bedroom villa

Three on-site 18s including Tom Doak's excellent Heathlands. Hone your swing at the lighted 30-acre practice facility, then unwind at Ailsa Pub, styled after a Scottish tavern.

Litchfield B&GR
Litchfield Beach

$39-$89 one bedroom condo
$154-$284 four bedroom condo

Easy beach access, superior tennis facilities, and the popular Low Country restaurant Webster's.

Pawley's Plantation
Pawleys Island
$145-$200 two bedroom villa

A decidedly quieter part of The Strand, this resort blends with nature. The clubhouse overlooks a 7-acre lake, and a rookery for egrets and wood starks. Sharpen your game at the Ritson-Sole Golf School, or just relax poolside.

See Also: Fat Guy's Myrtle Beach SC Golf Weekend

Myrtle Beach, S.C., trumpets itself as the world's most successful golf destination. Presumptuous? No, because it's true. The Costco of golf succeeds for two reasons: unparalleled variety, and unbeatable value in packages, discounts and web specials.

Must-Play Course: The late Mike Strantz was an artist with a bulldozer, and he created one of his masterworks at Caledonia Golf & Fish Club in Pawleys Island. Gnarled live oaks frame the rippled fairways, and much of the course winds along the Waccamaw River. Caledonia measures just 6,526 yards from the tips, but it's replete with wetlands, vast waste bunkers and contoured greens, which explains the daunting 140 slope rating. The superb closer is a 383-yard par-4 that edges the river and old rice fields, with a green fronted by water and backed by a stately, antebellum-style clubhouse. ($90-$165; 843-237-3675, )

Best Bargain: The Witch ($68-$112; 843-347-2706, in East Conway scares wayward hitters with acres of eerie, ball-trapping marshes and wetlands, but delights with a back nine that sports elevation changes unique to this area. A Dan Maples design, the Witch opens with a wicked 425-yard par-4 and never lets up. Package deals with sibling courses Man O'War and The Wizard and with the Sea Mist Resort can drive prices scary-low.

Hidden Jewel: Another Maples design, Oyster Bay Golf Links ($65-$130; 800-697-8372, ) in Sunset Beach, N.C., punishes you early with a pair of brutish par-4s (Nos. 2 and 3), then charms you with the 330-yard, par-4 13th, which doglegs right toward the bay and features an elevated green lined with a wall of oyster shells.

Worth the Extra Effort to Play: Among the 100-plus courses along the Grand Strand, designs may come newer, bolder and trendier, but none touch the Dunes Golf and Beach Club for sheer staying power. Ranked No. 48 in Golf Magazine's Top 100 Courses You Can Play, the Dunes is a 1948 Robert Trent Jones Sr. routing that sports the master's elevated greens, strategically deployed water hazards and heroic shot values, most notably at the vaunted 590-yard, par-5 13th, which dog-legs 110 degrees around Lake Singleton. Double bogeys (and the occasional gator) await any sliced shot. To pit your skills against this private Lowcountry legend, you'll require a hotel stay, but for fans of classic design, it's worth the freight. ($110-$200; 843-449-5236, )

Old and Improved: Myrtle Beach, like just about everywhere else, is in a holding pattern for new designs, but the most improved course on the strip is Pine Lakes Country Club , aka "the Granddaddy," which reopened in 2009 following an extensive Craig Schreiner renovation. The oldest course in Myrtle Beach, Pine Lakes dates to 1927, and it was here in 1954 that Time-Life executives hatched the idea to launch Sports Illustrated. It has yet to host a swimsuit shoot, but if you're looking for a splash, miss the green right at the 461-yard, par-4 3rd. ($74-$149; 843-315-7700, )

Don't Bother: John Daly's first signature course, Wicked Stick Golf Links (he collaborated on the project with architect Clyde Johnston), is a lot like J.D. himself: perplexing. Its Scotland-meets-South Carolina theme on a poker table-flat site has never been a great fit. Forget "Grip It and Rip It" — this one's "Grip It and Skip It." ($60-$94; 800-797-8425, )

One Thing Worth Knowing: Drive time can cut into golf time. If you're planning a 36-hole day, book side-by-side courses, such as at Caledonia/True Blue ( ), Barefoot Resort ( ) or the Legends ( ). You'll often find deep discounts for a second round (same course or companion course) as well.

Eat, Drink, Stay: For dining, drinking and entertainment, the Barefoot Landing retail complex ( ) is your one-stop shop. Located in North Myrtle Beach, along the Intracoastal Waterway, Barefoot boasts two great music venues, the Alabama Theater and the House of Blues .

For memorable drinks and eats, it's tough to beat Dick's Last Resort (843-272-7794, ), where the servers dish out both food and insults. Barefoot also offers Greg Norman's Australian Grille (843-361-0000, ), where the steaks and the wine are a perfect match for the dark-wood interior.

Elsewhere, head for half-shell heaven at Dirty Don's Oyster Bar (843-448-4881, ) and explore the dizzying options at Broadway at the Beach ( ), including the dueling pianos at Crocodile Rocks (843-444-2096).

Myrtle Beach is awash in solid lodging options. We like the Marina Inn at Grand Dunes (866-437-4113, ) and The Legends Golf & Resort (800-299-6187, )

My Town: Dustin Johnson

Though the Grand Strand has courses of all shapes and sizes, a few will get you tournament tough

By Jim Moriarty
Photo courtesy of TPC Myrtle Beach
August 23, 2010

Long-hitting Dustin Johnson grew up in Columbia, S.C., but the biggest influences in his life have their roots in Myrtle Beach.

Johnson's late grandmother, Carole Jones, owned a condo in Myrtle and was in many ways responsible for raising Johnson. When he enrolled at Coastal Carolina, where he became an All-American, Johnson and the lady he called Momma Carole would eat dinner every Wednesday at The Sea Merchants , still one of his favorite restaurants -- as much for the memories of his grandmother as the food.

Now that Johnson has blossomed into one of the world's best players, he has a home on the Intracoastal Waterway and intimate knowledge of one of the great places in America to play golf.

None of the courses we play on tour is wide off the tee, so mostly I look for tight-driving courses with good greens. My favorite is TPC Myrtle Beach . It's a fairly tough Tom Fazio course, narrow off the tee, good par 3s and 4s...just an all-around good golf course. Great practice facility, too.

There are others I spend time at. I like Tidewater GC and Plantation . It plays between the Intracoastal and the marsh. I've also played The Reserve GC a bunch because it's real narrow. It's a Greg Norman course, and if you miss the fairway, you're pretty much out of play. There's also DeBordieu Club , near Pawleys Island. It's on the marsh near the ocean, offering some nice views.

Wachesaw Plantation Club is another Fazio course with really good greens. And at Barefoot Resort , I'm partial to the Pete Dye Course . Once again, you've got to drive it straight there.

For my money, the best place to stay is the Marriott at Grande Dunes . It has a spa right there and just a host of nice amenities. Plus it's close to a lot of fun attractions. I've never been to any of the country western theaters, but I hear they're really good. The Alabama Theatre, Dixie Stampede and the Carolina Opry are all right there. I have been to the House of Blues , though, and it's a lot of fun.

If you're looking for something to do with the kids, there are theme-based putt-putt places everywhere. Of course, the entire Grand Strand is one of the great beaches anywhere in the world. And there are the water parks; Myrtle Waves is my favorite.

There's tons of shopping. We've got two good outlet malls , one on Highway 501 and one in North Myrtle.

Next to the golf, the biggest attraction in Myrtle Beach might be the food. There are just so many great places to eat. The Sea Merchants in North Myrtle for steak or seafood is obviously one of my favorites. New York Prime on 28th Ave. is really good. Amazing steaks. I'm a big fan of Collectors Cafe . It doesn't look like much from the outside, but everything inside is really, really good -- beef, lamb, grilled tuna...Down in Murrells Inlet, the fine dining seafood would be Divine Fish House . Great oysters, sea bass and an amazing view right on the water. For good, old-fashioned fried seafood you want to go to Drunken Jack's or Creek Ratz . They have unbelievable flounder, fried pickles and po'boys.

M y Town: Kelly Tilghman, 8/10

Myrtle Beach has lots of hustle and bustle, but the northern part of town offers places to escape the noise By Ryan Herrington Photo by Stephen Szurlej August 16, 2010 There's a trace of sadness in Kelly Tilghman's voice when talking about Gator Hole GC, the course in North Myrtle Beach her family owned from 1980-2002 and where the Golf Channel commentator spent much of her youth growing up with her four brothers.

"It's now a Home Depot parking lot, which breaks my heart," says the 41-year-old Tilghman. "It was a staple of my childhood. I worked all the odd jobs there, in the pro shop, the snack bar, driving range, the cart barn. You name it, I did it."

Still, Tilghman has a great affinity for the area, where her father served as mayor of North Myrtle Beach for 14 years and her mother continues to reside.


If I could play just one more round of golf anywhere, it would be at the Surf Golf & Beach Club . We lived just off the course growing up. My brothers and I would sneak out at sunset and play until dark. There's public access, but it has a true country club atmosphere. If you play there, make sure to have a BLT at the grill. And don't skimp out...go for it with mayo and everything.

Tidewater GC & Plantation offers stunning views of the Atlantic and the Intracoastal Waterway. It's a course that's one with the landscape. When you're driving in, you feel like you're entering another world.

I played a lot of golf at the Dunes Golf & Beach Club in high school. It's in an older part of town. Great atmosphere, and the course is really one of the best in the state.

Locals call Pine Lakes CC "The Granddaddy." At many Myrtle courses, there's a get-you-in and get-you-out attitude. This is a classic, old-school setting. After the round, stay and have a toddy at the clubhouse. It's got a very stately, colonial feel.


Ocean Drive Golf & Beach Resort is away from all the hustle and bustle. It offers easy access to the ocean and to some classic local spots. If you're familiar with the Shag Dance, there is a bar called Fat Harold's . Have a drink there and watch the old shagging pros do their thing. You might even see my mom.

Ocean Creek Resort is midway between Myrtle and North Myrtle. It's a beautiful resort, and it's got great access to fine dining and the nightlife at Barefoot Landing, including the Alabama Theater, where they have all sorts of concerts and shows.

I also recommend looking into renting a private beach house anywhere north of Main Street in North Myrtle Beach . There are houses that can hold eight, 10, 12 people, as many buddies as you have. Go to the grocery store, load up on everything you need and it's a home away from home.


The Calabash Seafood Hut , just over the border in North Carolina is the authentic seafood experience, all you-can-eat. You leave feeling like a glutton, but it's worth it.

In the Cherry Grove section is Hamburger Heaven . It's a pink, two-story place that's a real beach joint. The menu runs the entire wall with about 100 ways to make a burger. What you have to get, though, is their onion rings.

For a fine-dining experience, there's Greg Norman's Australian Grille . It's a very peaceful setting with a fantastic view of the Intracoastal Waterway. They have a great wine list. I'd definitely try their cab/merlot blend. Plus all the art work in the restaurant was all hand-picked by Greg Norman.

My Town: Darius Rucker
The Grand Strand is a great place to get your golf fix according to one musician/golf junkie

By Ryan Herrington

August 9, 2010

Darius Rucker admits when he and other members of Hootie & the Blowfish started the "Monday After The Masters Celebrity Pro-Am" in 1995, it was basically a short-term lark for a foursome of golf-obsessed musicians. "Somehow," Rucker says, "It became a monster." Turning 17 next April, the event is among the most popular celebrity pro-ams, having collected nearly $5 million for charity. The appeal, says Rucker, comes in part from its location in Myrtle Beach, a place close to the heart of a man born and raised in South Carolina. "There's something for everybody there," he says. "If you want to come down with your family, you can have a great family trip. If you're single and want to come down with your boys for a crazy bachelor weekend, you can do that."

Rucker, 44, makes a point of arriving a few days early for the outing each year to sneak in a little extra golf and get some R&R.

COURSES If I'm coming in for a weekend, I usually start at the Dye Course at Barefoot Resort . We hold our tournament there each year. I've had a lot of 36-hole days on that course. It's always in incredible shape. Same with the Norman Course . They're challenging but fair.

A couple other courses I really like are Caledonia Golf & Fish Club and True Blue Plantation . They're very challenging for the low-handicapper and fair enough for the high-handicapper. And again, the courses are so well kept. When you're playing a bad round, you can stop and look around and see so much beauty, it keeps your spirits up.


My favorite place, and this is either if you're coming with your family or with your buddies, is Barefoot Resort . They've got nice houses you can stay in or big hotel rooms if that's what you're looking for. Maybe it's biggest plus, though, is its location. It's right there in the middle of everything in Myrtle Beach. You can get to everything very easily, which makes it very convenient.


I love going down to Broadway at the Beach . It's a big shopping and entertainment complex. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from. Some nights they have bands playing. It's a great place to hang out.

Another thing I can't get enough of are the waterparks [ Myrtle Waves Water Park, Surfside Beach Wild Water & Wheels and Family Kingdom among others]. It's hokey, but I love sitting in an inner tube and taking it easy on a lazy river ride. I can sit there all day.


When I'm in town, especially with my wife, I go to Greg Norman's Australian Grille . They have great food, and a great wine list. It's just a fantastic overall experience...Another place I'll go that's a little more casual is Calabash Seafood Hut . It's just over the border into North Carolina, not far off the main drag of Route 17. I'm a seafood buffet guy. Last time I went, I got there at 5 p.m. and was one of the first people there. I got all the fresh stuff. The food is amazing.

Don't Miss: I really hate to use the cliché, but when we go out to watch sports in Myrtle Beach, we go to Hooters . As crazy as it might sound, the Hooters of Myrtle Beach is very happening.

Golf Magazine's Travellin' Joe's Guide To Myrtle Beach

By Joe Passov, Senior Editor (Courses/Rankings)
Published: February 27, 2009

I call Myrtle Beach the supermarket of golf, simply because there's something for everybody. True, there's not much snob appeal, but that may be the only thing missing among the 90 or so courses that dot the Grand Strand. Don't get me wrong — there's plenty of "upscale" to be found along the 60-mile stretch of coastline that runs from Southport, N.C. to Georgetown, S.C. — but the pampering here is more laid-back and down-home. What you'll also find in abundance is a fistful of unambitious-yet-handsome, playable and fun layouts where you'll get change back from your Franklin even in high season. That's the real beauty of Myrtle Beach golf: It's all about unparalleled variety for every budget.

What's New in Town

Myrtle Beach is in lock-step with the rest of the nation, where one can only daydream about new course construction. And in a reflection of the times, no fewer than 20 area courses have been shuttered within the past five years. That said, what's new is old — at least in the case of two venerable venues that are sporting dramatic changes.

Highly anticipated is the March 14, 2009, reopening of Pine Lakes Country Club in Myrtle Beach. A.K.A. "the Granddaddy," Pine Lakes was the very first course in Myrtle Beach, dating to 1927, when it debuted under the name Ocean Forest. Robert White, a Scotsman who was also the first president of the PGA, first crafted nine holes, and it's that original nine that architect Craig Schreiner elected to preserve as the back nine for the revised layout.

The result is a throwback design that conjures up classic strategic shot values thanks to enhanced contouring and thoughtful hazard placement. Yardage from the tips will top out at 6,700 yards, and par has been shaved from 71 to 70. Returnees will immediately notice the lush, vibrant green Seashore Paspalum grass that now covers the entire course. "It's like taking the varnish off an old piece of furniture," says Schreiner. "If you paint something seven or eight times, all the detail gets lost. All you had to do was drop the low points of the property and raise the highs, and the golf course just jumps out at you." Check out the renovated clubhouse as well. We're certainly partial to the Snug Pub , where legend has it that the idea for a magazine called Sports Illustrated was born.

A more extreme makeover took place in low-key Pawleys Island at the south end of the Strand when the Founders Club opened in February 2008. Formerly a pleasant (if non-descript) 1966 Gene Hamm track, the layout was turned upside down by architect Thomas Walker, who utilized the existing corridors, routing and mature trees but reworked everything else. Vast, sandy waste areas, bunker-etched mounds and tremendous variety in the green shaping are among the highlights of the new spread.

Things are still percolating at Ocean Ridge Plantation , just across the state line in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C. Its new Leopard's Chase course debuted in 2007 and stalks you with a brutal but beautiful back nine and a set of gigantic greens that will test your flatstick from start to finish. The par-3, island-green 4th might be the showcase hole on this Tim Cate design, but the 439-yard, par-4 closer, complete with flanking ponds, a waste bunker and a waterfall, earns its stripes as the best. If the economy cooperates, a fifth Big Cat course, Jaguar's Lair , will come on board in 2010.

The Trophy Collection

A consensus for Best of the Beach is tenuous for sure, but I think we can all agree on a few "must-plays." Since it's my two cents, based on many trips there since the early 1990s, I'll stick to my guns. To me, there are two quintessential Myrtle Beach golf experiences — one ancient and one modern.

On the classic front, you've got to sample the Dunes Golf & Beach Club . The ambiance is definitely private club, but cooperative arrangements with several area hotels allow for unaccompanied guest play. It's worth the effort. An early (1948) Robert Trent Jones Sr. design, the Dunes features all of the master's hallmarks, from its fiercely trapped, elevated greens to its collection of scorecard-wrecking water holes, spearheaded by "Waterloo," the 590-yard, par-5 13th that doglegs 110 degrees to the right around Singleton Lake. Back in the 1960s, Dan Jenkins wrote in Sports Illustrated : "It has long been agreed among knowledgeable golfers along the Atlantic Coast that if a man plays the 13th hole at the Dunes Golf & Beach Club often enough he will eventually lose every ball he owns and perhaps perish by alligator bite." More than 40 years later, Jenkins remains right on target.

Situated on a former rice plantation and drenched in Lowcountry charm, Caledonia is a 15-year-old Mike Strantz design that looks like it's decades older. Strantz was an artist with a bulldozer, and here he created a layout worthy of a museum exhibit. Gnarled live oaks festooned with Spanish moss line the fairways, and the course winds along the Waccamaw River for much of its journey. Caledonia's 6,526 yards are crammed into 125 acres, which may explain the par of 70, but waste bunkers, wetlands and undulating greens keep big hitters honest. Sitting in a rocking chair on the clubhouse porch, watching play on the 383-yard, par-4 18th unfold, is one of the true treats on the Grand Strand.

Best of the Rest

Tidewater Golf Club
dishes out low-profile fairways that ease past forested bluffs and along marsh-edged flatlands, with photo-ops galore.

Rivers Edge Golf Club is too tough for me — but there's nary a weak hole on this Arnold Palmer-designed risk/reward thrill ride on the North Carolina side. It features skinny targets hemmed in by bunkers, tidal marshes and the Shallotte River.

You could three-putt every one of the wildly undulating greens at The Heritage Club , but you'll wear an ear-to-ear grin from the moment you drive down the avenue of oaks entryway to your post-round cocktail in the Southern Colonial clubhouse.

Barefoot Resort's all-star constellation of architects includes Tom Fazio, Pete Dye and Greg Norman, but it's the layout designed by Davis Love that might be the most fun of all. Love's Donald Ross-flavored turtleback greens and chipping areas, along with re-created plantation house ruins, make for a memorable day, whether or not you're wearing shoes.

My favorite bargain at the Beach is Oyster Bay , in Sunset Beach, N.C. This 1983 Dan Maples design smacks you down early, with rugged back-to-back two-shotters at 2 and 3, then soothes with strategy and scenery, notably at the short par-4 13th that doglegs right toward the bay and features a slightly elevated green shored with a wall of oyster shells.

Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday's Top 5 Seafood Restaurants (2/10):

1. Rivertown Bistro – Located in Conway, approximately 12 miles west of Myrtle Beach, Rivertown Bistro is off the beaten path but worth the trip. Nine different types of sushi are available and the entrée menu is as creative as any. You won’t go wrong with the lightly blackened dolphin, jalapeno grit cake, blue crab crème and sautéed swiss chard.

2. Sea Captain’s House – The area’s oldest and most popular seafood restaurant, Sea Captain’s could easily occupy the top spot. Overlooking the ocean, Sea Captain’s starts every meal with complimentary hush puppies and things only get better from there. The Jambalaya is outstanding, but the Captain’s Seafood Muddle - sautéed shrimp, scallops, fish, mussels and clams in a saffron tomato broth with bacon, potatoes, celery and herbs – is a house specialty.

3. Divine’s Fish House – Murrell’s Inlet is the Seafood Capital of South Carolina and Divine’s is one of the reasons why. A breathtaking view of the marsh is accompanied by a fresh fish menu that includes swordfish, flounder, yellowfin ahi tuna and mahi-mahi. Divine’s is very good.

4. Collector’s Café – The area’s most unique restaurant, Collector’s is a world class restaurant and a working art gallery rolled into one. The sonoran spiced yellowfin tuna, which is caught locally, is excellent, but the scallop cake is an original dish that is as good as any entrée on the beach.

5. Gulfstream Café – The only restaurant in the area where the Atlantic is visible on one side and Murrells Inlet on the other, Gulfstream’s food is often the equal of its stunning views. The she-crab soup is a must, and if you are looking for a recommendation, the grouper francais is a good one.