No. 11, The Dunes Golf and Beach Club
Arguably, the second-most popular (good cases also could be made for Nos. 9 and 18) hole on the course that has long set the bar for Grand Strand golf, this once-short par-4 hovered below the radar in its original state. But a complete makeover in time for the inaugural Senior Tour Championship in 1994 gave No. 11 enough starpower to grab best supporting status to the iconic No. 13, aka “Waterloo.”
The original No. 11 was best known for having two greens set a short pitch away. The hole played pretty much straight away from the green used most. The other green, set off to the right, brought the swash more into play and made the hole a slight dogleg.
But as a football coach might tell you … If you have two greens (quarterbacks), you don’t have a green (quarterback).
So the Dunes Club brought in original architect Robert Trent Jones, who created a masterpiece with his second opportunity.
The pristine swash now comes into play on both shots of a dogleg right that stretches to 430 yards from the tips. The second shot (over water for all but the longest hitters) to a target on a windy, open peninsula surrounded by swash is easily one of the most challenging and breathtaking on the Grand Strand.
The result: the Dunes Club added another signature hole.
Myrtle Beach National brought Arnold Palmer’s design company back in the mid-1990s to transform a respected layout into a premium design.
The centerpiece of the transformation was turning a relatively unassuming hole into “The Gambler,” a watery, par-5 jewel with two landing areas off the tee, one to a deceptively generous island fairway surrounded by water from a newly created lake.
From the island fairway, most players could shoot for the green in two with a mid-to-long iron approach over water. Too far away after a short drive onto the island? Hit an iron back to the other fairway option, which extends along the right edge of the water.
Don’t like to gamble at all? Play your first two shots right of the water – it’s a longer route, but safer. Solid shots leave only a short approach over the hazard.
Most players should take the gamble – at least off the tee. At 568 yards from the back markers, the hole plays perhaps 80-100 yards less from the island, a target perhaps easier to hit than the fairway that wraps around the lake.
The result: A highly upgraded course with a new, glitzier look has a dazzling signature hole to showcase the new image.
A nice, solid par-3 before its dramatic facelift that added definition to the rolling landscape and the greens complex in the late 1990s, No. 17 now challenges the iconic 18th, which runs along the Intracoastal Waterway, for the designation as the most memorable hole on the layout.
From an elevated tee, players face a picturesque approach over a valley and a pond to a green guarded in front by two spacious, bright-white bunkers framed by trees. The Intracoastal Waterway is in full view to the left, adding more beauty to an already appealing shot.
The change in elevation provides a rare look for a hole so close to the beach.
The result: Myrtlewood Palmetto finishes with not one, but two memorable holes.
John Brasier covered Grand Strand golf as golf writer and sports editor of The Sun News in Myrtle Beach. He also has written about Grand Strand golf for several national publications, including Golf Magazine, Golfweek and GolfWorld. A mid-handicapper with a history of luck on short holes, he’s made four holes-in-one, though much to his regret, none on the Grand Strand.