Matt Ginella is one of the foremost experts on golf travel. He was the long-time travel editor at Golf Digest and has toured the nation playing the best courses the game has to offer.
Now part of the Golf Channel team and a host of the Morning Drive, one of Ginella’s first features was a ranking of America’s top 40 public courses. As part of his rankings, Ginella took, among other things, quality of the golf course, playability for amateurs, and value into account, criteria that Myrtle Beach specializes in meeting.
Not coincidentally, Ginella’s top 40 featured a heavy dose of Myrtle Beach golf courses. Four of his top 40 reside along the Grand Strand, led by No. 11 Caledonia, which is followed closely by the Dunes Club at No. 17.
A Mike Strantz design, Caledonia is a consensus top 100 course. On the Morning Drive feature, Ginella said it was his favorite Grand Strand layout and called the clubhouse and 18th hole one of the best spots in all of golf.
The Dunes Club, a Robert Trent Jones design and another consensus top 100 layout, is the area’s most famed course and Ginella referred to it as a true classic.
As part of the story accompanying his rankings, Ginella wrote:
“I’m certainly not a geek about course architecture or architects, but the more I play, and the more I learn about the course builders, the more I appreciate the finer points of design. The way the holes look from the tees, the positioning of bunkers, the sizes and contours of greens all play a factor into how and why a course ranks on my list …
“Any one of my top 10 – or top 20 for that matter – are all must-play courses. This whole exercise of putting a number to each is like picking a date within a circle of swimsuit models. As I said on “Morning Drive” I like making lists as much as I like talking about them. That’s what avid golfers do.”
Ginella’s list is certainly worth a read, especially the more detailed evaluation of his top 10 courses. Bethpage Black topped his list, followed by Pacific Dunes and Pebble Beach. Check it out.