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Most Underrated Myrtle Beach Golf Courses: Part 1

With some 100 golf courses in a 70-mile stretch, there are bound to be some good, some bad, some pretty, some ugly, some overrated and some underrated. Let’s take a look at three courses that belt-notching golfers, who pride themselves on playing “only the best,” might pass by during their Myrtle Beach golf trips. More’s the pity for them.

Avocet Course at Wild Wing Plantation
When Avocet opened, it was one of four courses on-site at Wild Wing. Never mind competition from the greater Myrtle Beach area golf scene—it had three other competitors as siblings. Now, though, in the face of a changing economy, it is the only remaining 18-hole track at Wild Wing, and is more visible now. Designed by former American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) president Jeff Brauer and three-time major champion Larry Nelson, Avocet showcases soundly modern design flair, with extensive and inventive mounding, large greens and water coming into play on a number of holes. The course also houses one of the Grand Strand’s greatest holes: the drivable par-four 14th, which can be played up to a half dozen different ways.

Prestwick Country Club
How one of only two bona fide public Pete Dye courses in the Myrtle Beach area flies under the radar as much as Prestwick does is an enduring mystery. But nevertheless, its relatively modest reputation is exceeded by the high quality of its design and normal good conditioning, which includes barely-year-old greens. Those putting surfaces are relatively large and have engaging, if not overwhelming contours. True to their author’s style, they are guarded by all manner of nasty hazard, from small pot bunkers to awkward grass hollows to water hazards. In some cases, it’s all three, as with the par-five ninth hole, which drifts around a lake, rimmed by Dye’s characteristic railroad ties. Those distinctive wooden planks also guard some of the seven bunkers that guard the greensite, as well as low areas of sometimes-gnarly Bermuda rough.

Farmstead Golf Links
Farmstead is not on the main drag of U.S. 17, like so many Myrtle Beach area courses, which means it requires a little bit of searching. It is a few miles off 17, just over the North Carolina border in the town of Calabash, set on a few hundred acres of rolling former farmland that feel like they’re hundreds of miles west of the sea. The course is relatively open off the tee, but many of its holes are exposed to some strong winds that tend to dry out the fairways and give the course a touch of linkslike firmness. It is well-known for the mammoth 767-yard, par-six 18th hole, but the other 17 are worth seeking out, as well.

(posted 1/15/2014)

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