Arcadian Shores is a Classic, Quality Design

April 18, 2011

Arcadian Shores r066.jpgThe Myrtle Beach golf community has grown up around Arcadian Shores, adding more than 70 layouts since the course opened in 1974.

While the game and its architecture have evolved, placing a premium on course length to combat ball and equipment technology, Arcadian Shores has remained a highly regarded layout because of the timeless quality of its design.

Space-age drivers and balls that scream off club faces can’t overtake the virtues of good, traditionally designed golf courses such as Arcadian Shores.

The test is substantial, yet fair. Playability is balanced by the need for sound decision making, and the beauty lies in what the land provides, not what was created.

Arcadian features a nice blend of doglegs, water comes into play on 14 holes, and the fairways are all tree-lined.

“The golf course itself is fantastic layout, a local’s favorite,” head pro Jason Mitchell said. “It got lost in the shuffle a little bit over the last several years. The people that remember the golf course being special are coming back. It’s not just a great layout but a fun golf course to play, too.”

As Mitchell alluded to, the popularity of Arcadian Shores, once ranked among the Top 100 public courses in country, is again on the upswing. Burroughs & Chapin Golf Management took control of the course nearly two years and conditions have dramatically improved, particularly on the greens.

Arcadian Shores has five sets of tees – 5,113, 5,647, 6,055, 6,447 and 6,857 yards – making it easy for a range of handicaps to find a fair challenge. The Rees Jones design features generous fairways, making it relatively easy to find the short grass.

There are seven forced carries, most notably at the course’s most photographed hole, the par 4, 13th, but none are overly onerous. The shots over water represent a fair test.

Arcadian Shores has 64 bunkers and the undulating greens are well guarded, making the approach shot critical for success.

For players looking for a point of comparison, Arcadian Shores is reminiscent of Myrtle Beach’s most famed course, the Dunes Club. Those similarities are more than coincidental. Rees Jones’ father is the revered Robert Trent Jones, architect of the Dunes Club, and the old man’s influence is evident at Arcadian Shores.

Rees started each side with a par 5, giving players the opportunity to get off to a good start. Other than No. 16, which plays 557 yards from the tips and 533 from the blue tees, the par 5s at Arcadian offer players the chance to score.

It’s best to take advantage of the early par 5s because the challenges come quickly. The par 3 second hole is the toughest on the front nine, requiring the day’s longest carry over water and offering little bailout room. It’s a hole that gets the blood pumping.

On the back nine, No. 11 and most memorably, No. 13, both straight-away par 4s with well protected greens, provide stern tests.

The strength of Myrtle Beach as a destination lies in the depth of its offerings. The area has more than 50, 4-star courses, according to Golf Digest, and people, understandably, like to play what’s new, but golfers are well served not to overlook Arcadian Shores.

“What you see is what you get,” Mitchell said. “It’s just a beautiful golf course.”

What players are seeing in the spring of 2011 is a classic design at its best.

The Verdict: Myrtle Beach has more than 100 courses, and Arcadian Shores remains one of its best layouts. The course is imminently playable and Burroughs & Chapin has restored it to its rightful place in the market. Conditions are good and it returns great value. Your group will enjoy this course.