Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
A Golfing Paradise For Foursomes and Families


Story by: Ed & Fran Stone
Photos by: Ed Stone & Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday

Myrtle Beach has two golf titles to its credit: more than 100 golf courses the public can play and home to Dustin Johnson (2016 U.S. Open Champion and the Bridgestone Invitational & BMW Championship). Dustin grew up in nearby Columbia, SC. This year-round vacation destination is a mecca for golfers and families looking for good value and plenty of activities for all ages.

Myrtlewood Villas are close to many of the courses and only a few blocks from the Broadway at the Beach Entertainment complex. 

Recently, we decided it was time to make a visit to this beautiful South Carolina costal area, appropriately called the Grand Strand.  Through the efficient Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday organization, we were accommodated in the spacious and very comfortable Myrtlewood Villas on 48th Avenue.  These two and three bedroom condos provide complete kitchen, living/dining area and baths for each bedroom. Myrtlewood Villas are close to many of the courses and only a few blocks from the Broadway at the Beach Entertainment complex.  Here you can find just about any restaurant, daytime and nighttime entertainment, theme park-type rides and family entertainment centers. Parking is free and in some cases valet parking is offered.

We selected three golf courses, with the help of our local friend, Chris King.  These three courses provided us with an excellent cross-section of those in the area where we were staying.  Grande Dunes, Caledonia and Tidewater had their on characteristics and personalities.  We also took our 15 year-old grandson, Dylan who has been playing since he was 9 and is a very good golfer. So good, he captured his first eagle on the 343 yard par four, 14th hole of Caledonia slam dunking a 132 yarder with a nine iron for a 2.  By the way, there are some 50-plus golf courses in the Myrtle Beach area providing free rounds to young golfers 16 years and under. Check them out in our information section below.

Left to right: Grande Dunes, Caledonia and Tidewater had their on characteristics and personalities.
 
At Grande Dunes, holes on the front and back we noted as memorable are numbers 4, 8, 10 and 14.  Yes, they are challenging but offer beautiful views.

Grande Dunes Resort Club features an outstanding 18-hole golf course designed by the Roger Rulewich Group. Interesting to note that Rulewich was an engineer and began his career with Robert Trent Jones, Jr. in 1961. He stayed with Jones for 34 years before going out on his own. Most of his work has been in the northeastern U.S. Grande Dunes is very playable and one you can enjoy from number one tee box to the 18th green. The Bermuda fairways and Champion Bermuda greens place this course in one of the best you’ll find in the Grand strand. Built along the Intracoastal Waterway gives it the advantage of elevations along the bluffs overlooking holes 1 and 18.  The beautiful Grande Dunes Marina and four-diamond resort, Marina Inn at Grande Dunes can be viewed from here.

Holes on the front and back we noted as memorable are numbers 4, 8, 10 and 14.  Yes, they are challenging but offer beautiful views.

Number 4 is a long par 5, stretching 506 from the whites and 566 from the tips.  You’ll need to keep the ball in the left side of the fairway not to encounter water along the right side.  The 8th hole is a par 3 requiring a somewhat forced carry of some 155 whites and 241 yards from the tips. Water makes this hole both challenging and scenic.  Hole number 10 presents a nice serpentine bridge over a small body of water with a need to keep the ball left for a fairly easy second shot to an elevated green.  Playing the par 3, number 14 is what makes golf enjoyable.  This 158 yarder from the whites will take all you have with a six or five iron.  The small pond causing a forced carry with the option for a layup on the right is an alluring and challenging golf hole.

PGA golf professional Matt Daly along with his staff are some of the friendliest and accommodating you’ll find in the business.  They make you feel welcome and offer their services to make the game much more enjoyable.

Caledonia Golf & Fish Club was about a 45 minute drive south of our accommodations. Driving down to Pawley’s Island, we passed through Litchfield Beach which also has a bunch of golf courses along the route. Your sense of arrival at Caledonia is impressive and reeks of the Old South with the entrance of 100-plus year-old live oaks covered in Spanish moss leading to an old Southern historic clubhouse and a beautiful golf course in the background.  We knew this was a special place!  Yes, this is where our grandson made the eagle.

We find it difficult to single out any one hole over the other as favorites at Caledonia.

Prior to the golf course and fish club opening in 1994, this was South Carolina’s largest rice plantation…some 3,500 acres back in its heyday.  Today, the golf course with Champion Bermuda greens and designed by Mike Strantz occupies a little over 150 acres and probably the reason it plays to a par 70.  There are very few homes on this course. We were impressed with the service, the setting and the hospitality extended to all golfers…from start to finish.  The head pro, Marc Guertin and staff run a beautiful and efficient golf shop, course and food and beverage operation.

We find it difficult to single out any one hole over the other as favorites.  However, we noted that numbers 5 and 7 on the front are interesting.  Five is the #2 handicap hole on the course and plays to a par 4 with tips being 419 yards. Going from hole 5 to 6, there are charming bridges adding more character to the course. Hole #7 has a beautiful moss draped live oak guarding the green.  Your approach must be from the left or you’ll have to keep it low to maneuver the low hanging limbs.

On the backside of Caledonia, the 10th hole is a long par 5 with a dogleg right some 100 yards from the green that is situated in a sunken setting making it unique to others on the course. Of note on the 12th hole, there is a large pond with blooming lily pads and home a large alligator on this beautiful golf course. On the 17th, par 3, there is a waste bunker from tee to green making your tee shot essential for capturing a birdie or par. The 18th finishing hole offers incredible views you’ll want to bring out the camera.  The stately clubhouse framed by the live oaks and wrap-around porch overlooks a large lake that is part of the marsh.  This challenging par 4, 383 yards from tips is a memorable golf experience. We found the tee markers attractive as they are carved/molded native ducks…Pintail, Mallard, Wood Duck and Redhead.  A very nice touch for a very classy golf operation.  Happy to report that Caledonia was named as the #3 best course to play in South Carolina by Golf.com in their 2016 listings.  Golf Magazine placed it in #29 position as one of the best courses to play in the USA for 2016.

Tidewater Golf Club is one of those “must play” courses when visiting Myrtle Beach. This one is located in North Myrtle Beach some 30 minutes from our Myrtlewood Villas.  We were blown away with the views of stately live oaks & hardwoods, marshes, the Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean along with the Cherry Grove Inlet on the back nine.  This course is not only challenging but offers stunning beauty at every turn. We discovered that 15 of the 18 holes have some water to come into play.

The Tidewater course is not only challenging but offers stunning beauty at every turn. We discovered that 15 of the 18 holes have some water to come into play.

The course was designed by Ken Tomlinson, an area tax attorney and accountant who played and knew the game of golf.  This is the only course he ever designed. However, we must tell you that Rees Jones did assist with the initial routing of the course on the 600 acre property. Yet, when it opened in 1990, both Golf Digest and Golf Magazine gave the course accolades no other course had ever enjoyed…they named it the Best New Public Course in America. That is strong! In 2014, Tidewater brought in Kris Spence Golf Design from Greensboro, NC to enhance the greens with a Miniverde Bermuda grass.  We found them to be in perfect condition.

Tidewater continues to rank as one of the top most awarded golf courses on the Grand Strand and we can certainly understand why.

Just to give our readers a glance at a few of the holes on Tidewater, we selected holes number 3, 4, 8, 12, 13 and 18. Yes, more than the other two but these are noteworthy.

Number 3 is a par 3, 130 yards with nothing but sand trap from tee to green. The bay/marsh is on the left offering the distraction of beauty. The next hole is a long 430 yard, par 4 providing many sand traps and fairway bunkers with a steep embankment on the left. Harbor Watch is the name given to #8, a 485 yard, par 5 that is treacherous. Number 12 is called the Wishing Well and demands a forced carry of some 150-plus yards to the par 3’s green that has water protecting the front and sand trap on the right with more water just beyond. Hole #13 is a long 543 yard, par 5 with Cherry Cove Inlet on the right from tee to green.  The finishing hole is one to reckon with as it is a 450 yard par 4 with a slight bend to the left some 135 yards from the green.  Beautiful homes are scattered around the course but not close to the fairways and greens. All-in-all, a great and most enjoyable golf course. You’ll want to make a return trip to this one!

Chris Cooper is the head golf professional at Tidewater.  Chris is very proud of Tidewater and offers up not only great service, but great pride in dishing up some history on the building of this outstanding golf course.
(Read more about Tidewater Golf Club...CLICK HERE.)

 

TOP: Brookgreen Gardens located at Murrells Inlet.
BOTTOM: The Sea Captain’s House was a delightful place we discovered right on the Atlantic.

In addition to Broadway at the Beach, we also discovered the beautiful and awarding winning Brookgreen Gardens located at Murrells Inlet near Caledonia Golf & Fish Club. For families looking for one of the Top 10 Public Gardens in the US by Coastal Living Magazine and selected as the Top Five Favorite Gardens by readers of Southern Living Magazine, this would be an excellent choice. The Sea Captain’s House was a delightful place we discovered right on the Atlantic serving outstanding hush puppies and seafood.

One of the best websites we discovered for this golfing trip to Myrtle Beach, SC was www.myrtlebeachgolfholiday.com.  These people have the best rates, accommodations, golf courses and family activities.  They even have access to the best places to dine and find entertainment. This group can assist you with an individual package allowing you to create what and when you want in the Grand Strand. There are some 79 golf courses in their reach to help you find the best prices and tee times. Their claim is true that over half of the courses have received four stars or more in Golf Digest's prestigious "Best Places to Play" guide and twelve have been ranked among America's 100 greatest public courses. So, give them a try before booking your visit to South Carolina’s Grand Strand…Myrtle Beach. Who knows, you might end up playing a round with DJ.

#   #   #

 

 

 


For More Information:
Packages, accommodations, Tee Times:
www.myrtlebeachgolfholiday.com

Free Golf For 16 years and under:
www.myrtlebechgolfholiday.com/news/kids-play-free-on-nearly-50-myrtle-beach-area-golf-courses/

Grande Dunes Golf:
http://www.grandedunesgolf.com
8700 Golf Village Lane
Myrtle Beach, SC 29572
843-449-7070 or 888-886-8877

Caledonia Golf and Fish Club:
http://www.fishclub.com
369 Caledonia Drive
Pawleys Island, SC 29585
Phone:(843) 237-3675

Tidewater Golf Club:
http://tidewatergolf.com/
1400 Tidewater Dr.
North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582
Phone:(843) 913-2424

Myrtlewood Villas:
www.myrtlewoodvillas.com
1410 48th Avenue Ext N.
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Phone:(843) 913-4437

Brookgreen Gardens
www.brookgreen.org
1931 Brookgreen Garden Dr
Murrells Inlet, SC 29576

Broadway at the Beach
www.broadwayatthebeach.com