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Four Myrtle Beach Golf Courses Getting Better with Age

Glen Dornoch Waterway Golf Links

Story By Ian Guerin

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | The last thing anyone wants to find after arriving at a course he or she hasn’t played in a while to find a run-down track where neglect is apparent. It ruins the mood, and frankly, it’s not going to leave a good taste in your mouth. Along South Carolina’s Grand Strand golfing mecca, however, some courses are bucking the normal trend of time and for various reasons aging quite well. Some can credit a key tune-up at the right moment. Others saw large-scale renovations breathe new life. All four mentioned here are proving that every flip of the calendar makes them that much more impressive


One of the benefits of Dunes’ semi-private status is that the course is a bit more selective in booking its tee sheets. That doesn’t mean the course is ever empty. However, less traffic means less wear and tear. We mention that first because the Robert Trent Jones/Rees Jones design/re-design has reinvented sections of itself in relatively small increments that did just enough to pique player curiosity. Greens have been remodeled (using new grass twice in the last 30 years) and new tee boxes added length to some holes. 


Like another course on this list, Glen Dornoch recently unveiled new greens - going to a Champion Ultradwarf Bermudagrass. But what the Clyde Johnston course is also boasting more than two decades after originally opening is its natural habitat coming more into the picture year after year. The course, cut from the once-thick tree lines along the Intracoastal Waterway, is seeing much of its greenery mature. It adds to the scenic views along the crucial final stretch (next to the Intracoastal) by further accenting much of what makes the preceding 16 holes so dynamic.  


We’ve written extensively about all the work PineHills endured throughout portions of 2018 to restore their greens. We can report that no one was blowing smoke about what the process would mean. The high-traffic, centralized course installed Sunday Bermudagrass (after first removing the previous strain of Bermudagrass). That was big on its own. But as a side effect of the project, the greens were also reshaped to how Arthur Hills intended when he redesigned the course in 1993. The approach zones are much more fluid and provide a truer feel as players get close to the pin.


Myrtle Beach’s first course opened in 1927, but to think any of the course’s owners, including the current ones, have sat on their product would be inaccurate. Robert White’s original design has flipped nines (twice), added some of the flair for the old Scottish design before eliminating all that plaid-laden outfits and then bringing them back last year. Drainage systems have been improved throughout trouble areas, making the par-70 layout that much more playable during evening the rainiest portions of the year. So while changes have been a steady occurrence, they’ve all led to a great product with more history than any other local track.


Ian Guerin is a DJ and freelance writer based in Myrtle Beach. You can follow him on Twitter @iguerin and Facebook

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