The Most Overrated Myrtle Beach Golf Courses

I will be talking about four golf courses in the Myrtle Beach area. To heed to the marketing blarney about them, you’d think they were Augusta National, Bandon Dunes, Pinehurst No. 2 and Pebble Beach. They are not. Not even close.

Are they the worst golf courses in Myrtle Beach? No, but if you pay top-dollar to play any of them, you might as well be lighting $30-50 of each greens fee on fire and then throwing it in the ocean.

Dunes Golf & Beach Club
We’ve all heard the accolades. It’s been on many “Top 100 courses in the country” lists a number of times. In the past. Like, a decade ago. That’s not to say The Dunes is in disrepair, but rather that a number of newer, more intriguing courses have surpassed it. Its fairways are narrow, its greens are smallish and elevated, and its bunkers tend to be pretty deep. The course is pretty flat and its most famous hole, the much-photographed 13th, is a mediocre hole at best: a 600-yard par five where you have to lay up of the tee. Yuck.

Luckily, the Dunes Golf & Beach Club will be getting some cosmetic updates this summer in the form of new greens, a few new back tees and a handful of new bunkers, in summer of 2013. Will she be the Girl Next Door again? We’ll see.

Grande Dunes Resort Club
Grande Dunes Resort Club measures more than 7,600 yards from the tips. That is, if you ignore the fact that a number of those back tee yardages are imaginary. You know the 576-yard tee on the par five 13th? Me neither, because it’s been gone for years now. The 244-yard tee on the 14th? It’s under someone’s infinity-edge pool.

Not only this, but there’s another set of tees that’s still longer than 7,000 yards. In a golf destination mostly visited by golfers who can’t manage more than 220 yards off the tee, not only does that stink of vanity and delusion, it wastes water with excess irrigated acres of grass at a time when water is increasingly at a premium everywhere, not just on golf courses. This is not to mention the fact that Roger Rulewich, who was a long-time associate of designer Robert Trent Jones, Sr., didn’t exactly design 18 of the most engaging golf holes in the world when he built Grande Dunes Resort Club. The Intracoastal Waterway holes are at least picturesque, but having holes 9 and 10 be almost carbon copies is pretty much inexcusable. If you like playing golf among faux-Tuscan houses, though, you’ll probably love it…

Pine Lakes Country Club
Ah yes, “The Granddaddy.” It’s fun to type—how many words have four Ds in them?—and it’s kind of fun to play, I guess. Those bunkers, though. Those huge, uninteresting bunkers. No artistry to them. And those two new holes that had to be built to accommodate the new entrance drive? Mediocre in the extreme. The chowder is tasty and the paspalum grass that was introduced in 2009 during those renovations has been a plus, but please, please don’t spend more than $60 to play this course.

Tidewater Plantation
Tidewater has gotten a lot of marketing mileage out of some long-forgotten golf writer who once, after a bottle of absinthe, no doubt, called it “The Pebble Beach of the East.” The course, which Rees Jones (yawn) routed and Ken Tomlinson (who?) finished, is decent. It has a number of holes along the marsh that separates Cherry Grove Beach’s rows of hotels and condos from the mainland and a couple that overlook the Intracoastal Waterway too. But “Pebble Beach of the East”? Hell no. To my knowledge, Pebble Beach isn’t lined by olive-drab-colored houses and condos and there aren’t any hundreds-of-yards-long cart rides between one green and the next tee…

In any major golf destination, there are bound to be some courses that have a bit more sizzle than they do steak. These four courses aren’t all sizzle, but they sure aren’t your filet mignon either.

Posted 5/21/13