Story by Ian Guerin
With the golf bug firmly biting during the previous decade, property owners and aficionados of the sport realized Myrtle Beach was ready for the next big jump during the 1970s.
The area’s growth as a whole was unmistakable, and another golf boom was going to come along for the ride. The area’s number of courses was about to double in the span of a decade, and before 1980, 18 golf courses would be serving the locals and tourists who helped the once-sleepy seaside town turn into a bustling attraction. New construction was constant, and a solid chunk of that was course development and accompanying structures.
In the second of a five-part series, we explore the best courses that opened during the 1970s. Each of the selections are still open to this day, and for good reason.
EAGLES NEST GOLF CLUB (1971)
One of Horry County’s northernmost courses, Eagles Nest recently gained headlines after owner Rick Elliott decided to add 1,000 yards to a new set of back tees. The move extends the longest option to more than 7,900 yards, making it the longest play in the state. The alterations increased to the course’s stout pre-existing standing.
Gene Hamm’s environmentally friendly approach to the layout allowed the 250-acre property to sell itself as a nature-lover’s must-visit. None of that changed during a massive 2001 renovation or the yardage increase down the line.
MYRTLE BEACH NATIONAL, KING’S NORTH (1973)
Each week, first-time players head to Myrtle Beach National for a chance at taking on the famed No. 6 hole at King’s North. Recognized as “The Gambler” to most, the par 5 includes an island fairway that gives those lucky enough to land it a chance to reach the green in two. But long before a plaque with Kenny Rogers’ lyrics were added a few feet from the tee box, King’s North was a local leader.
Arnold Palmer’s influence is everywhere, from pictures of his triumphs adorning the walls of the clubhouse to the feel of the top-end course. As such, adding his nickname to what was originally known as the “North Course” seemed right.
MYRTLE BEACH NATIONAL, SOUTHCREEK (1973)
We easily could have included the third member of the Myrtle Beach National home site, the West Course, in this list. However, SouthCreek’s underlying prominence to a subset of golfers boosted it into the rankings. The shot-maker’s course shrugged off the little brother status long ago, featuring itself to those who aren’t looking to boom it 350 yards with the driver.
Because of that, seniors and women took a liking to the course at a time when appealing to everyone wasn’t the norm. That may not sound like much, except for the play-it-forward campaigns and details like five or six available tee boxes are new concepts. In the 1970s and beyond, it helped set SouthCreek apart.
ARCADIAN SHORES GOLF CLUB (1974)
Rees Jones doesn’t have the sheer number of designs in Myrtle Beach as some other architects, meaning the work he does have stands out that much more. Arcadian Shores was his first foray into the market, and Jones made sure to leave his mark.
Sixty-plus bunkers and traps feel like the basis of this course, with the rest of the terrain seemingly sewn in around them. Arguably no course built before Arcadian Shores, and very few after, leave players needing to navigate that much sand.