Story by Ian Guerin
Year after year, many of the same course designers are having their work recognized by the various state, regional and national ratings panels.
Some golf course architects simply command more respect.
Without fail, South Carolina’s Grand Strand has two of the most famous surnames attached to five of its golf options. Pete and P.B. Dye each have a layout in Myrtle Beach, and they joined forces, so to speak, on a third. Meanwhile, famed designer Tom Fazio left his footprint with two of the relative newcomers to the Myrtle Beach golf scene.
It would be hard to say that any Myrtle Beach-area course under the Dye Design umbrella is more notable than the Dye Club, the focal point of the spectacular Barefoot Resort and Golf mega-complex. On top of the gated entryway, the white-glove treatment from the staff and the eye-popping visuals from the very first tee box, Pete Dye’s stamp is all over this beauty.
The home of Hootie and The Blowfish’s Monday After the Masters Pro-Am works five different types of grasses into an environment also utilizing the natural terrain. Pete Dye, who was just shy of 75 years old when the course opened, got creative with waste bunkers and made sure to use the wooded elements that have come to be affiliated with most of his architecture.
Tom Fazio’s namesake locally doesn’t play second fiddle to any of the other Barefoot rounds. Instead, it has managed to find a personality all its own while sharing the neighborhood with other top-flight courses.
Opened in 2000, Fazio rakes in award after award, garnering attention to a course without a true turn after the front nine. The straight-line approach works, as players are frequently so distracted by the faster-than-normal round and the pristine conditions from start to finish.
It’s evident that P.B. Dye didn’t break too much from the family when he created his lone solo effort in Myrtle Beach. There are lies that leave players expanding their four-letter vocabulary and some of those heavily relied upon railroad ties popping up from time to time.
There are also elevation changes and bunkering issues making at least a solid majority of the players believing this is the toughest of the three tracks at the Legends superblock. That only ups the potential reward for those who succeed in using a bit of patience.
The longest-running of the Dye courses in Myrtle Beach has survived nearly three full decades and counting. Once on the property, it’s pretty easy to see why.
Prestwick’s difficult design, the aforementioned joint effort between Pete and P.B. Dye, is two-fold. For some, it’s the necessary precision off the tee that gets them. For others, it’s the approach into frequently elevated or undulated greens. For all, the Dye legacy of the thinking player’s game exists.
Fazio’s Murrells Inlet layout opened to rave reviews in 1999. Within months, it succeeded The Dunes Golf and Beach Club as host of the 2000 Senior Tour Championship, and was soon after the only local track given a full five-star rating from Golf Digest.
It was because Fazio found a way to combine a championship-level layout with tight landing areas while keeping it playable for the average golfer. And much like Tom Watson did when he won that Senior Tour Championship the year after it opened, the non-professionals playing here find a need to avoid plenty of water and natural grasses and marshland.