10 of the Best North Myrtle Beach Golf Courses
A few people might be surprised to learn that we play a little bit of golf in North Myrtle Beach. Golf to us is like Guinness in Ireland, except with us you’ll remember you were here. So, if by chance you are visiting the area and want to do some reconnaissance, we at Salty Frye’s thought we would take some of the mystery out of it. Herein lies a list of 10 of the Best North Myrtle Beach Golf Courses.
Before we start, did you know that according to USA Today, North Myrtle Beach is the “Best US Golf Destination”? There are over 15,000 golf courses in the US, so to say that we are number one as the destination with the most high-quality courses really means something. It means you should get here immediately. Golf Magazine (which is a super creative title for a golf magazine, probably invented by the same people who named “handshake”) says that 13 of the top 20 and 6 of the top 10 courses in South Carolina are right here in North Myrtle Beach. Golf Week asserts that 8 out of the top 15 are North Myrtle Beach golf courses (within 30 minute’s drive of NMB.)
IATGO (it’s an organization of tour providers) rated Barefoot Landing as the #1 North American Resort of the Year. Sweet! But do we know why we can’t just go ahead as say #1 in the Western Hemisphere? Does Paraguay have some secret resorts they’ve kept from the Internet like one of those lost tribes? Maybe there are lost golf courses in the Amazon where natives play year round. And why isn’t IATGO telling us where the courses are if they know so much?
So what gives? Well, some of it is the beautiful weather - not a hot yoga session like south Florida and not the “Hansel & Gretel” witch’s air fryer in Arizona. Some of it is the location, since people tend to like the shockingly gorgeous natural beauty of saltwater marshes, swelling inlets, and roaring ocean waves. Also, a crucial cause of our greatness is the investment of talent and passion by world-class golf course designers like Greg Norman, Arnold Palmer, Robert Trent Jones, Gene Hamm, Pete Dye, and other icons in the industry. Okay, so here we go - top ten North Myrtle Beach golf courses in no particular order:
Down in Barefoot Resort, the Dye course boasts 7,343 yards of challenging, tricky bunkers, narrow fairways, and hard-earned holes. Birdies are a thing with feathers here. Enjoy the calendar-esque vistas with white sand perimeters and dynamic design Pete Dye is famous for. This is one of the top 100 courses in the country according to Golf Digest.
With dozens of awards to show, Tidewater offers the thrill of choice and chance with plenty of opportunities to lay up or air it out, as well as scenic views too good to be true. Tidewater is windy and sneaky at times, with precarious hazards that ironically contrast with the Lowcountry beauty of saltwater marshes and ocean views. Go here and you’ll understand why people call Tidewater the “Pebble Beach of the East.”
Glen Dornoch takes after its Scottish cousins with tight, sharp, mischievous approaches and unforgiving hazards. This fun, thrilling course is designed for precision, so keep that in mind. If you are a sloppy player with a fragile temper, you might have a long day. But, hey, at least it will be beautiful. The aesthetics is one big reason Glen Dornoch is considered one of the best North Myrtle Beach golf courses today!
Barefoot Love (not loving bare feet, which is also a thing, apparently)
Extremely popular is the Davis Love III designed course at Barefoot Resort. It’s playable by most golfers with the exception of the 18th hole, which is a monstrous 5 par apparently designed by Love’s alter ego, Davis Hate. We know it’s getting old to hear this, but the courses really are outrageously beautiful, and this one is no different. Come see the restored plantation home that butts against the course and the other spectacular, Lowcountry views. As with all the Barefoot offerings in this list, Love also is consistently voted as a top 100 courses in the country.
Accessible to amateurs and pros alike, Beachwood holds a special place with the locals. This course was designed by the great Gene Hamm in 1968 and has hosted many high-level tournaments. If you’re taken with nostalgia, world class groundskeeping, and aesthetics (it sits between the ocean and intracoastal waterway), check out Beachwood. If a golf course could have feng shui, this would be it.
As you might suspect, we are going to tell you that Norman is visually striking. It makes contact with the intracoastal waterway for several holes, shows off its grandeur with sprawling fairways, and showcases the natural beauty of its location. Rapid slopes and elevation changes make it a challenge, but relatively speaking, it’s a forgiving course without the orneriness of some of its other counterparts.
The Surf Club is a mostly private club, but if you should find yourself able to squeeze in, you should definitely do it. The Surf Club is a true classic both in age and elegance. It’s challenging, as well, with multi-tiered greens and a tight course that rewards precision over power. This is a golfer’s golf course, meaning it’s not for lollygaggers or people that zig zag down the fairway by hitting the ball back and forth from the rough. It has a quick pace policy. If that’s to your liking, get someone to pull a string for you.
Not really. We just wanted to see if you were still reading. If you are, contact us and tell us about it. Then you can rent a golf cart. But since we’re here, Mr. A is a tight, fun, wonderfully frustrating course, with grotesque, distorted aesthetics, faux stone, and misplaced tiki huts. This neat little outing has the highest user rating of any of the courses on this list - a 4.6!
The distinctive of the Fazio course is the incorporation of the local flora into the architecture. Sandy patches, native grasses, tall pines, and hearty oaks encroach upon the links, and Fazio added just enough lakes and water to be annoying (the good kind of annoying that makes you try harder, like video games and romance). This is often considered the best of the four major courses at Barefoot Resort and certainly one of the best North Myrtle Beach golf courses.
The Dunes is often the top rated course in Myrtle Beach per Golf Digest and other publications. We’re not sure how MB claimed The Dunes since it’s smack dab in the middle between there and NMB. So we’re going to claim it here. If we have to throw hands, we will. The Dunes has hosted PGA Championships and also carries the dignification of being the brainchild of Robert Trent Jones. Since 1949, The Dunes has consistently taken breaths away with its abundance of natural flora and Lowcountry topography like tidal creeks, marshes, and the oceanfront.
Heather Glen Golf Links
This Scottish-styled course twists through Lowcountry terrain with ponds, streams, marshes, and swamps; plus maritime forests, pines, and oaks. Like Glen Dornoch, Heather Glen is dynamic and dense, built for precision. This stands up against the more famous courses in its dually-gifted beauty and rigor. Don’t sleep on this one!
These are 10 of the Best North Myrtle Beach Golf Courses. This list does a disservice to several fantastic places: River’s Edge, Tiger’s Eye, and Grande Dunes; as well as the often-heralded True Blue and Caledonia, both of Myrtle Beach. We also want to throw a shout out to the mini golf courses that were not picked. It’s just that we don’t think minigolfers should use golf carts and are, thusly, not our target audience.
Speaking of target audience, if you found us here, you might just be in need of a golf cart, and wouldn’t you know it, Salty Frye’s has quite a few classy and handsome models (ew, that came out wrong). So contact us and we’ll hook you up with one (still weird). Anyway, give us a chance to earn your business! Be sure to check out our other recent blog posts about Best Wine Bars in North Myrtle Beach and Best Pizza Restaurants in North Myrtle Beach. A long day of golfing precedes some great eatin’ and drinkin’.