The Golf Capital of the World showcases the handiwork of a wide array of world-renowned golf course architects. Whose work is our Myrtle Beach Golf Ambassadors’ favorites? Join Myrtle Beach Golf Trips’ Nate DeWitt, Heritage Club’s Jim Huntoon, Pine Lakes Country Club’s Jimmy Biggs and Golf Trek’s Craig Chinn as they share their thoughts!
Which golf course architects’ designs do you like the most and why? So this is a really difficult question to answer. It would actually be easy to say Fazio, Dye, Nicklaus, and Strantz. And, honestly, I can make an argument for all those course architects, because they have some great Myrtle Beach designs. I’m going to base my answer from an aesthetic standpoint and go with Dan Maples. One of my favorite golf courses, Willbrook Plantation Golf Club, is not only beautiful but fun to play. And the same could be said for the Heritage Club. Two Lowcountry favorites located on Myrtle Beach’s southern end along the Waccamaw Golf Trail. These would be two designs that you could play every day and not get tired of.
I could go on for hours about this, but we need to keep it short and simple, so that’s what I’m going to do. As it pertains to Myrtle Beach golf, I’m going to go with Danny and Larry Young. I think they were very instrumental in the Myrtle Beach market here, developed Marsh Harbor, Oyster Bay in the early ’80s with Dan Maples and really revolutionized Myrtle Beach golf and brought it into a different realm. They continued that here at the Heritage Club with Dan Maples and on to Legends with Tom Doak, P.B. Dye, and then the Parkland course, which they finished themselves after several architects, including Tom Doak and Mike Strantz, worked on. They were also instrumental in getting Strantz involved at Caledonia and jump starting his career as a solo designer. So I think they were innovators. They were ahead of the curve on a lot of things.
The Legends complex, to me, is a forbearer to some of the high-end resorts that we have in other areas now, like Sand Valley or Bandon Dunes, Streamsong, where the influences and the onus is on design. And Larry and Danny were innovators in that way and, in my mind, created that type of multi-course golf facility way back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, so that’s what I’m going with.
What is my favorite golf course architect? That’d have to be the King, Mr. Arnold Palmer. Always enjoyed Arnie’s tracks because they’re very much risk/reward. Always some gettable par fives and some short par fours, but you have to hit your golf ball, have to hit it well, so I’ve always enjoyed the King’s tracks. King’s North here in Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach National, Rivers Edge Golf Club. Bay Hill, we watch it every year on the PGA TOUR, and World Golf Village, the King and Bear course, some of my favorites from the King.
Sitting here thinking about it … I’m a big Pete Dye fan. Love Pete Dye courses. I just like the layout. It just flows with my game. But my favorite designer/architect has to be Mike Strantz with Caledonia, True Blue, two courses in Virginia. Just the way the sand mixes in with the terrain, the trees, the fairways, the blind shots. I don’t even know where to hit it. It’s a lot of challenges in the Strantz design work, so definitely have to say Mike Strantz would be my favorite golf course designer and architect. Hopefully, one day I get to play all of his courses. He’s got about 10, and Fazio’s apprentice, head dude that did redesign work at Wild Dunes down south, down in Charleston, south of Myrtle Beach, and he’s got some good work, good resume. Parkland here in Myrtle Beach, fantastic. He doesn’t get credit for it, but it’s his. Again, Caledonia, True Blue, top 100 in the country. Can’t go wrong on any of those with a golf trip.
M.B. Golf Pro signing out. If you get a chance, Mike Strantz. Rest in peace. Loved your work.