Myrtle Beach Golf Course Reviews:  Good Times and Great Value Make Rees Jones Course at Sea Trail Me

September 12, 2012

Rees Jones Course Sea Trail Myrtle Beach golfSea Trail Resort opened its fairways in the late 1980s, a pioneering multicourse resort with layouts designed by high profile architects. Rees Jones, Dan Maples and Willard Byrd crafted courses at the North Strand facility, but Jones is the most recognizable name of the trio and his namesake course is arguably the most popular.

The Rees Jones Course relies on a combination of expansive fairways and challenging greens complexes to deliver a layout that is inviting to high handicappers but remains a test for single digit players as well.

The open fairways are the first thing players notice about the Jones Course. There are few significant forced carries on the par 4s and 5s, allowing players to swing those 460cc drivers with comfort provided by the sight of open green grass.

“(Jones) gives players plenty of room to hit the ball off the tee,” said Eddie Pratt, Sea Trail’s head pro. “Where it becomes fun is around the greens; that’s the thrill factor.”

The Jones Course’s L93 bentgrass greens and the surrounding hazards bring sweaty palms and plenty of excitement to the venerable layout. The greens are large, undulating and most always elevated.

Combine those factors with a couple menacing greenside bunkers and it’s not hard to see why the key to success on the Jones Course is typically found in a player’s iron game, particularly the wedges. The course is a relatively short 6,761 yards from the tips (6,334 yards from the white tees), but plays longer.

The elevated greens can add as much as an extra club to approach shots (don’t say you weren't warned), so most players have to play several wedge shots each round that are often the difference between an outstanding round and merely a good one.

Players that bomb the ball off the tee and are good around the greens will take an immediate liking to the Jones Course.

“If you are hitting the ball well, you can score,” Pratt said of the Jones Course. “That’s what people like. If they are hitting the ball crummy, they don’t expect to score.”

Even if you are struggling to make good contact, the Jones Course is still an enjoyable round. The opening nine is chocked full of outstanding holes, including the par 3, fifth, which is as daunting mentally as it is challenging physically.

Playing from an elevated tee box to a green whose front half is surrounded by water, the 189-yard fifth offers plenty of challenge and kicks off the toughest three-hole stretch on the course.

The sixth (400 yards) and seventh holes (440 yards), both meaty par 4s, are the hardest holes on the front side per the scorecard, and after playing them, you aren’t likely to disagree.

The back nine is equally strong, particularly the final three holes. The Jones Course closes with a strong par 3, 4, and 5, capped by the 510-yard 18th hole, a dogleg right that offers the chance to close with a flourish. The par 5 is reachable in two, particularly for players willing to shave the dogleg, though that strategy potentially brings water into play.

It’s a hole that gives players choices and it’s a great hole to close a match with (and determine the winner of your Myrtle Beach golf tournament!).

Verdict: The Jones Course at Sea Trail is an enjoyable layout to play. It’s open off the tee, which makes the course very attractive for mid to high handicappers, and the greens complexes offer the type of challenge and reward the creativity that low handicappers love. Combine those factors with great value and the Jones Course is a strong addition to any Myrtle Beach golf trip itinerary.