I was one of more than 120 members of the South Carolina Golf Rating Panel asked late last year to identify the best par 3s, 4s and 5s among the 100 golf courses open to play for all golfers along the Grand Strand of Myrtle Beach, an area that stretches roughly 90 miles from just below Wilmington, NC, to Georgetown, SC, and through the heart of Myrtle Beach.
It was a daunting task for a number of reasons: First, of course, it is tough to remember with any precision even the best of a total 1,800 golf holes. Frankly, I haven’t managed to quite play all of them since my first trip to Myrtle Beach in the late 1960s; in the years since, a couple dozen of the original courses on the Strand have closed. But still, when you have almost a couple thousand holes to choose among, at least 18 are going to be terrific.
And they are, at least the ones I am familiar with, although one par 4 choice I know well is what I consider the third best choice on its golf course. That would be the finishing hole at Pawleys Plantation Country Club in Pawleys Island, a difficult and scenic Jack Nicklaus layout less than a mile, as the eagle flies, from the ocean. My fellow raters deemed the 18th one of the top courses on the Grand Strand; it is a fine finishing hole that demands a shaped drive on the slight dogleg left, with menacing marsh and bunkers at the crook of the dogleg and a forest to the right of the fairway for drives overcooked in that direction. A lake and bunkers along the left side protect the long, narrow, back-to-front green, and an overhanging tree about 30 yards in front on the right side makes it tempting to hit a faded approach toward the lake side. On any other golf course, #18 might be the best par 4, but strong contenders at Pawleys include #8, with a 160-yard long bunker that runs from mid-fairway to cover the entire right two-thirds of the green; and the 16th, a long hard-dogleg left with a huge live oak guarding the turn, marsh across the fairway beyond it, and a green surrounded by bunkers.
For a rundown of the other 17 best holes in Myrtle Beach, see the article at CrossRoadsToday.com.