Story by Ian Guerin
Sorting through a bag of Skittles for your favorite is a matter of personal preference.
The reds may hit your taste buds just right. The greens provide just enough of a lime kick to make the citrus from oranges pop. Now imagine the yellows and purples were priced a tad cheaper and still provided the type of punch you expect.
The market for Myrtle Beach golf is set up just like that.
Courses are competitively priced, sure, but finding the best bang for your buck isn’t relegated to five flavors. There are about 90 of them. We want you to find not only great golf without having to play one of the top-tier tracks in order to make it happen.
Mix any or all of these into you rotation and know you protected your budget.
Jack Nicklaus courses are often viewed as out-of-touch for the common player, as folks believe the Golden Bear’s designs are big-ticket items reserved for those with fat wallets and every tool available in their bag. Long Bay is proof that the opposite exists. Located due west of North Myrtle Beach in Longs, the course exhibits a tough layout and beautiful surroundings with greens fees that could unquestionably be much higher. It allows the modern golfer an opportunity to take a crack at a Nicklaus design without feeling a monetary pinch.
Located in Carolina Forest, SouthCreek has helped Myrtle Beach National become one of the true anchors of the area. It is part of a three-course complex that also includes King’s North and West, all three of which are crisp Arnold Palmer designs that the King decided would play well to golfers of all skill levels. On SouthCreek, he developed challenges for top-notch players while cushioning the blow for high handicappers. Ownership then went above and beyond in terms of turf and customer service, making the 18 holes under the SouthCreek umbrella a can’t miss for the money.
With 13 of its 18 holes affected by water, and a few more framed by creative mounding, PineHills offers a visual trek around the course frequently unheard of on courses in its price range. In no uncertain terms, it takes advantage of its place on the east banks of the Intracoastal Waterway. With a steady diet of walk-up traffic combined with pre-determined play, PineHills never fails to impress those who are either looking for a warm-up round or simply a consistently manicured option in the heart of Myrtle Beach.
A true product of location when it comes to price, Shaftesbury Glen in northern Conway greets players with an English-style clubhouse and then continues to elicit oohs and aahs with 18 holes derived from the likes of Winged Foot and Augusta National. Clyde Johnston sought to bring favorable conditions to players upon the course’s opening in 2001, and the result was a thick stack of awards from the Myrtle Beach Golf Course Owner’s Association, Golf World and Golf Digest. Sixteen year later, the luster has certainly not worn off.
Dan Maples notably helped turn South Carolina’s Grand Strand into the golfing mecca it is today with a contribution of more than 10 courses in the 1980s. One of his last local projects, the Wizard, was among his most popular. Since opening in 1996, players have started with the stellar first hole wrapped around a large lake, a trek through an open property, and then three finishing holes quite close to where it all began - next to that water. The 17th and 18th holes alone are worth the trimmed down cost.