For the last 8-9 years, my best friend and I have been taking the last week of February and heading down to Myrtle Beach for a huge golf week. My definition of huge? This year we were gone 8 days and played 216 holes of golf at that time. Myrtle Beach, to me, is the golf capital of America, and perfect for that “escape the cold weather/buddies golf trip.”

Nowhere else in the country has a population of greater golf courses over such a relatively small area.  Everyone has their favorites, but here is my list of 10 in no particular order.

Note, my friend has a condo down there and so worrying about where to sleep has never been an issue.  Consequently, this list is based just off my thoughts about the golfing experience only. Accommodations, dining, etc. I leave to others.

  • Myrtle Beach National-King's North Course

    There are three courses at the Myrtle Beach National facility. The gem, though is this one. Arguably one of the best Arnold Palmer designs anywhere, the highlight is “The Gambler” a fantastic risk/reward par 5 that will always be one of your favorite holes (pictured above).

  • Caledonia Golf & Fish Club

    On just about anyone’s list of great Myrtle Beach Courses, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club is at or near the top of it.  Designer, Mike Strantz was the genius behind “Tobacco Road” in the Sandhills of North Carolina (which just so happens to be my favorite course on Earth).  This, and its sister course are artistic masterpieces.  Now, these are among the most expensive to play, but for an annual treat, so worth it!

  • True Blue Golf Course

    Which leads me to Caledonia’s sister course, True Blue.  Another Strantz gem and again, on the pricier side.  However, it is well worth it with some of the best and most memorable holes in the area.

  • Grande Dunes Resort Course

    For many years, this course for me had the title of “Best Bang for Your Golfing Buck at Myrtle Beach.”  It’s got a little bit of everything:  elevation changes, challenging par 3s, tremendous par 4 variety and some of the finest holes along the Intercoastal Waterway anywhere in the area.  Also, its practice facilities are among the best.

  • Arcadian Shores Golf Club

    My current “Best Bang…” title holder is this course that many drive by on 17 on the way to N. Myrtle and don’t pay a bit of attention to.  Arcadian Shores was purchased by Hilton 7-10 years ago and over that time, millions of dollars have been poured into the course, facilities, and amenities.  The greens and bunkers are always a good method to judge a course by and the consistency of both at Arcadian Shores take a backseat to no one in town.  Plus, on this list, it is among the most economically friendly.

  • Tidewater Golf Club

    I made mention with Grande Dunes of holes along the Intercoastal Waterway.  NO ONE in the Myrtle Beach area can touch the Intercoastal views and holes of Tidewater Golf Club.  Legend has it that designer Ken Tomlinson commissioned a couple of designers to build his course, but none met with his expectations, so he took on the project himself.  And pulled it off.  Tidewater at times feels like Harbor Town in Hilton Head, Pebble Beach, and a fine inland course all rolled into one.  It is beautiful, challenging, a bit pricey, but well worth the experience.

  • The Dye Course At Barefoot Resort

    There are four courses at the Barefoot Resort facility, of them there are two that get my recommendation.  The first of which is The Dye Course.  Designer Pete Dye is a sadist.  Normally, I am NOT a fan of his work.  However, there’s real genius here.  The variety of holes is great.  The variety of trouble you can get into is great.  The protection of this golf course is wind.  And when it’s blowing (hard), this course is a tough day at the office.  However, if you want to be challenged and have an afternoon everyone on the trip will be talking about a year from now, The Dye Course is a must-play.

  • The Love Course At Barefoot Resort

    Davis Love III is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame as a player.  I feel like he’s well on his way to becoming of similar status as a designer.  His contribution to the Barefoot Resort collection of courses is one of my favorites in the area.  Variety is a good word to use here.  I’ve probably played 10 rounds on that course in the last few years and each time I feel like I get to a hole and go, “Oh yeah, I remember this one.  What a great hole.”  I’m not gonna say playing golf at Barefoot is cheap, but research package deals to get a round at Dye and Love for sure.  Two of the best in the area.

  • Pine Lakes Golf Club

    “The Grandaddy” is the one that started it all.  The first resort course in the area and stylistically one of the best.  Just out of respect, you must play Pine Lakes if you never have.  They have just redone their greens and bunkers and both are outstanding.  Now, here are couple of drawbacks.  Fist off, there’s ZERO practice range if you wish to get loose prior to the round.  And two, there is a TREMENDOUS amount of real estate construction going on right now that really takes away from what used to be a really nice visual golfing experience.

  • The Surf and Beach Club

    The Surf and Beach Club is located just across the street (basically) from the Atlantic Ocean in North Myrtle Beach.  It was designed by George Cobb, the same designer behind Quail Hollow Club and Rolling Hills Country Club here in the Charlotte Area.  And, it’s unique on this list as it is a private facility.  HOWEVER, there is public play allowed, and I would suggest you book the experience.  If I was going to play one course-day in, day out-at the beach, The Surf and Beach Club would be the one.