By David DeSmith
Myrtle Beach is to golf as New Orleans is to dining. Lots of appetizing choices – but you can’t possibly try them all. So how do you pick which courses to play on your Myrtle Beach golf getaway? The easy answer is, you don’t. You let the experts help you decide which are worth a visit and which you should give a pass. The selection process gets even easier if you start at the top and work your way down, because there is only one Golf Digest 5-star course in the Myrtle Beach area: The Tournament Players Club of Myrtle Beach.
TPC Myrtle Beach opened in early 1999 with the goal of bringing a true, tour-caliber experience to the Grand Strand’s menu. The vision called for world-class facilities, at the heart of which would be a course that would challenge and delight visiting recreational golfers, but also have the teeth to test the game’s best. The very next year, the course more than lived up to its pedigree when it held the Senior PGA Tour Championship, won that year by 8-time major champion and World Golf Hall of Famer Tom Watson.
Designed by one of America’s most highly regarded modern golf course architects, Tom Fazio, the layout at TPC Myrtle Beach is an 18-hole thrill ride that makes the most of its Carolinas low-country landscape. It’s a serious golf course that demands your full attention from the first shot to the last, but it’s also a course that‘s seriously fun to play. You’ll have a blast playing this layout, which winds its way through towering pine trees and plays in, around, and sometimes over numerous native wetland areas. Accuracy is the key here at the TPC: you’ll want to hit your tee shots straight to avoid trouble and set up the best approaches to the greens, which are well protected by strategically placed and sometimes deep bunkers.
After a shortish, dogleg-left, par-4 opening hole, the course picks up speed in a hurry at the 2nd, a beguiling 3-shotter that offers a number of playing routes. Here, as at his other courses, Fazio makes you think—and that’s a good part of what you’re paying for when you play TPC Myrtle Beach. You don’t just bash away and zoom off in your cart here.
You’ll encounter your first forced carry at the 3rd, a par 4 where your tee shot must either stay aloft until it hits short grass or you’ll be reloading. Hole 5 is the first of the course’s four excellent par 3s—this one featuring a wide but shallow green that has bunkers lurking both short and long. Some of the course’s other truly memorable holes are the 11th—a Cape-style par 4 that requires a tee shot over water; the 17th—with its devilish peninsula green; and the finishing hole—a par 5 that brings you back to the clubhouse and presents one last birdie opportunity if you can keep your ball out of the water that guards the left side of the fairway and green.
And speaking of the clubhouse, it’s the real deal. True to the TPC brand, its many amenities are fit for a pro, from the front door all the way through to the locker rooms, TPC Grille, award-winning pro shop and top-shelf customer service.
One person who especially values the TPC Myrtle Beach experience is PGA Tour star and South Carolina native Dustin Johnson. Johnson’s college team at Coastal Carolina University practiced and played its home matches at the TPC Myrtle Beach, and he’s made it his home-away-from-home ever since. He likes the place so much, in fact, that he located the Dustin Johnson Golf School here. The school is headed up by Johnson’s former CCU golf coach, Allen Terrell, whose coaching chops include not only working with Johnson but also a dozen other PGA and European Tour players, as well as hundreds of standout college and junior players. The school’s focus is on function, not just form—so it takes into account things like physical training in addition to its cutting-edge instructional and practice programs.
If you’re ready to book your visit, keep in mind that you can play TPC Myrtle Beach for as little as $87 in the summer months—and every kid can play free on summer afternoons as long as he or she is accompanied by a paying adult.
For more information and to book your tee time, visit our TPC Myrtle Beach page here or call 800-882-3420.