Arcadian Shores Golf Club

Designed by famed golf course architect Rees Jones, Arcadian Shores Golf Course has been one of the area’s finest since opening in 1974. And it bears the distinction of being the first course Jones designed to kick off his illustrious career. Measuring 6,857 yards from its championship tees, the course is a good fit for players of all skill levels. A public course, Arcadian Shores Golf Club is known for the lakes, both natural and manmade, scattered across it, including 10 acres of freshwater lakes bordering fairways. In addition, 64 sand bunkers are placed strategically to guard Sunday Ultradwarf Bermuda greens. Elevated greens and an at times a stiff ocean breeze, particularly on the back nine, add to that challenge.

Blackmoor Golf Club

The only course along the Grand Strand designed by PGA great and course designer extraordinaire Gary Player, the Blackmoor Golf Course in Longwood Plantation in Murrells Inlet captures the moss-draped antebellum beauty of the old rice plantation on which it sits. Situated along the scenic Waccamaw River, golfers can enjoy not only the course’s unmatched beauty but also a variety of wildlife including alligators, turkeys and deer. Designed by Player as a course that players of all skill levels would enjoy, the course has earned a deserved reputation for being kept in top condition since opening in 1990. And its greens are known as some of the smoothest and truest along the Grand Strand.

Crow Creek Golf Club

A highly rated course since opening in 2000, this Rick Robins designed course has consistently been a favorite of golfers visiting the Myrtle Beach and coastal Carolina areas. Once a 500-acre family farm primarily growing corn and tobacco, the course’s front and back nine mirrors that past. The front nine built on the farm’s old tobacco and vegetable fields is flat and wide open with bunkering and subtle mounding used to help sketch out large landing areas. The decidedly different back nine features rolling contours and tree-lined fairways as it cuts through coastal Carolina woodlands. Unlike the par 5-3-4 lineup with which most beach courses close, Crow Creek opts for a par 3-4-5 lineup on its closing holes, giving golfers a chance to make up lost ground on the final hole. But at 517 yards from the short tees, it’s not much of a chance.

Glen Dornoch Waterway Links

A densely packed 270-acre pocket of beauty with thick stands of pine, oak and magnolia, the Glen Dornoch Waterway Links has been a favorite of area golfers and visitors alike since opening for play in 1996. Bucking the status quo of flat coastal courses, this course enjoys a 35-foot change in elevation and a prime location next to the Intracoastal Waterway in Little River. One of Golf Magazine’s Top 20 courses in the southern U.S., the course rolls through pines, magnolias, live oaks, wetlands, and salt marshes with plenty of gorgeous river views.

Designed by golf course architect Clyde Johnson, the course takes its name from Scotland’s Royal Dornoch club with its design echoing the style of one of that club’s legendary members, Donald Ross, the grandfather of golf course design. The course eases golfers into their round with three par-4 holes followed by a short par 3. After that, the course gets a deal more demanding, ending on three of the Grand Strand’s more challenging final holes, like the par-4 16th, that holes out on a postage stamp green sticking out into the Intracoastal Waterway.

Prestwick Country Club

Once you play it, it’s easy to see why the Prestwick Country Club designed by legendary golf course architect Pete Dye and his son, P.B. Dye, required the removal of more than 1.2 million cubic yards of earth. Located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, this golf course features stairway bunkers, bulkhead protected greens, and towering berms all make this golf course a challenge for any golfer, regardless of skill level.

Prestwick offers a wide variety of terrain for a coastal course with sandy waste areas, lush pine forest, and lakes and streams bordering wide landing areas. Players can enjoy those landing areas from six sets of tees, offering a greater degree of latitude for golfers of varying skills than most courses. Well known for well-maintained and smooth greens, this course sports an exquisite clubhouse facing a picturesque lake. Golf Digest recently named Prestwick one of the “Five Best Kept Secrets in America” and rightly so.

Rivers Edge Golf Club & Plantation

Recognized by Golf Digest as one of the country’s 100 best public golf courses, Rivers Edge Golf Course is an Arnold Palmer design offering seven holes on the Shallotte River riverfront with panoramic views of the river’s delta where it runs into the ocean. Other prominent recognition from Golf Digest, Golf Magazine and others have included its selection as one of the country’s best new upscale courses, one of the country’s top 20 new courses, a top 10 course in North Carolina and one of the best new courses on the Grand Strand.

Measuring 6,909 from the gold tees and 6,440 yards from the blacks, Rivers Edge has a formidable 149 slope rating and many will want to play it from the white tees at 6,033 yards. For the ladies, there’s a choice of 5,295 yards or 4,692 yards from the green and blue tees respectively. The most talked about hole and either the most loved or most hated depending on whom you talk to, is the par-5 9th that begins with a tee shot toward a landing area running downhill toward the Shallotte River marshes. Next, it’s over the marsh to a small layup area and if successful there, it’s on to an approach shot to a long and narrow peninsular green.

Shaftesbury Glen Golf & Fish Club

One of coastal Carolina’s best-conditioned courses, the Shaftesbury Glen Golf Course in Conway has been honored time and time again for having the Grand Strand’s best greens. But it’s more than the greens that make this an excellent choice for golfers of any skill level. A Clyde Johnson design, this 18-hole course plays at 6,812 yards from the back tees and opened in 2001, being named Myrtle Beach’s best course in 2009. Laid out along the Waccamaw River, it features wide and flowing fairways and elevated greens with an old English style clubhouse and other touches that call to mind its namesake course at Shaftesbury England.

The Pearl – West Course

Just a tad under 7,000 yards from the back tees and just over 5,000 yards from the front tees, the Pearl West Golf course along with its sister course Pearl East have been favorites along the Carolina Coast since it opened in 1988, a year after Pearl East. Both were nominees for Golf Digest’s best new golf courses in America. With meticulously maintained fairways and greens, the course has been host to several major tournaments and features a spectacular closing hole, a par-5 508-yarder that finishes overlooking the sparkling waters of the Intracoastal Waterway.

This link style course features open fairways set off by clumps of pampas grass, varied elevation, plenty of water hazards and medium-sized greens. At just over 6,700 yards, the course features 5 sets of tees to accommodate golfers of varying skill levels. Highly rated by Golf Digest and selected as one of the magazine’s best places to play in the Grand Strand, the layout provides a good mix of marshland and forest.

Thistle Golf Club

Another of the many excellent designs of master golf course architect Tim Cates, the course is meant to capture hints of the Scottish countryside, with wildflowers, heather and rolling mounds. And while there’s an absence of pot bunkers, there’s no doubt Cates was trying to capture a links feel on this course. The West nine moves through wetlands and coastal forest with some stands of dense trees. Some holes are open and some closed. Greens on the North nine almost all open and cater to the game of the average golfer. With five sets of tees on it and the other two nine-hole tracks, the course is a favorite among women. Like the other 18 holes, water plays a prominent role on the South nine as well.

Wachesaw East Golf Club

With rolling fairways, strategically placed bunkers and traditional mounding, it’s easy to see the Scottish influences in the Clyde Johnson designed Wachesaw East Golf Course. Built on an old rice plantation, the course measures 6,933 yards from the back set of its five tees and has hosted a number of LPGA tournaments. A scenic course with tree-lined fairways, wetlands and freshwater ponds and lakes, it’s been selected as a Myrtle Beach course of the year and received accolades as one of the country’s best courses for customer service.

The course starts with two doglegs, the first requiring a marsh carry from the tees and then an approach shot over an army of bunkers to the green. Its third hole is perhaps its most interesting, a par 5 with a marsh carry required about 150 yards back from the green and a ridge halfway in to deny any bump and run attempts. Another hole of note, the 380-yard par-4 No. 6 dubbed the “Narrow” features the skinniest of fairways with sharp drop-offs on either side. The course’s most demanding holes are likely its last three including the signature No. 18. Facing water off the tee, the fairway essentially stops 100 yards short of the green with plenty of bunkers around the green.