Story by Ian Guerin
There’s a reason fall golf in Myrtle Beach is so popular.
Weather, availability, diversity of playability and off-course entertainment all factor in here. But with all those ringing true, some courses have distinguished themselves among the flock as being more than capable of handling the heaviest times of the year while minimizing hitches.
The right combination of design, difficulty, hazard spacing and tee-time trends add up to give some courses a leg up, especially when it comes to the highest traffic days. More often than not, those are on Saturdays and Sundays, when the convergence of local and tourist play can create otherwise inevitable logjams.
And more often than not, getting a tee time and then getting the round in under 4.5 hours has to do with a location’s built-in ability to call an audible. These are five where getting onto that first tee and then getting to the 19th hole are seldom, if ever, hung up by significant delays.
ABERDEEN COUNTRY CLUB
Located along one of the northernmost Horry County thoroughfares, S.C. Highway 9, Aberdeen’s reputation keeps its numbers up despite a spot outside the prime Myrtle Beach real estate. However, it cycles its maintenance schedule properly, leaving all three nines - Highlands, Meadows and Woodlands - available during the peak spring and fall seasons. The Tom Jackson design then gets a secondary boost from its Scottish-links layout, one where trees and houses aren’t really part of the equation. The open feel keeps things moving.
LEGENDS GOLF AND RESORT
Legends is a few municipal requirements away from becoming its own town. The three-course home site includes the Heathland, Moorland and Parkland tracks, a massive clubhouse, rental condos and villas, multiple restaurants and a 30-acre practice facility. On top of that, the low-priced golf almost always includes drinks and a meal. Needless to say, all of that depends on a relatively strict timeline.
MYRTLE BEACH NATIONAL
Another true golf-only property with as many moving parts may not exist along South Carolina’s Grand Strand. Arnold Palmer’s trio of gems, though, continue to work as a well-oiled machine because of the attraction to three distinctive courses. Between the high-level King’s North and the mid-range West and SouthCreek options, players here find dependable surfaces atop architecture and tee selection that fits seemingly every need.
MYRTLEWOOD GOLF CLUB
The weekend warriors tend to seek out the PineHills and Palmetto Courses, if for no other reason that the centrally located site is so close to the post-round action, not to mention many of the high-volume hotels. As such, Myrtlewood has perfected the art of the walk-up play and booked rounds, putting much of its efforts into the front-end - snagging bags out of SUVs and vans and sorting everything in advance. In simplistic, capitalistic terms, think of it as a grocery store having an employee handing you a cart as you walk in the sliding glass doors. Yeah, it’s that effective.
RIVER OAKS GOLF PLANTATION
On any given weeknight, a nine-hole scramble may be taking place alongside those finishing up the end of their 18-hole treks. The Bear, Fox and Otter nines were all renovated between 2007-2010, primarily to maintain pace of play. River Oaks is a regular site of promotional and junior events, meaning advanced or even regular players will find little excuse to concentrate on the task at hand.