- The Dunes Beach & Golf Club: The resume more than speaks for the challenge the Dunes Club presents. A course doesn’t host a U.S. Women’s Open and six Senior PGA Tour Championships because birdies are easy to come by. This RTJ design is masterful throughout but holes 11 through 13, known as Alligator Alley (name requires no explanation if you’ve been there), are the spine of the area’s most revered course. Also, the 18th is a world-class finish – a long par 4 with an approach over a pond that eats Pro V1s.
- The Dye Club at Barefoot Resort: On a list of golf’s evil geniuses, Pete Dye ranks somewhere near the top. He did nothing to damage his reputation as the designer of some of the game’s most diabolical courses with his work at Barefoot Resort. Dye utilized his trademark waste bunkers, railroad ties and visual deception to make his namesake design one of the area’s toughest tracks. One tip, if you can convince yourself not to believe you lyin’ eyes, easier said than done, the Dye Course is much friendly than it sometimes appears from the tee box. Just avoid the hazards.
- Pawleys Plantation: (pictured) Designer Jack Nicklaus softens you up on the front nine, which plays through a Carolina pine forest, before the Golden Bear goes straight grizzly on the back. Four of the final nine holes play along a tidal marsh. It’s among the area’s prettiest stretches, but the 13th, a short par 3, and 14th, a par five with marsh running along the right side, leave most of us begging for mercy. Survive that and the approach on 16 or the marshy carry on the 17th tee shot will surely get you. The course can be as brutal as it is beautiful. In other words, it’s a must play.
- TPC Myrtle Beach: This Lanny Wadkins/Tom Fazio beauty was designed with the idea that it would host high-level professional events, and it delivers the challenge that goal necessitates. TPC hosted the Senior Tour Championship almost immediately after its opening and it served as the long-time home for PGA Tour star Dustin Johnson, so there is ample anecdotal evident of its difficulty. Practically speaking, the layout weaves through a Carolina pine forest and demands a combination of power and precision that few can summon enough of to bring TPC to its knees.
Those are the four courses our panel reached a consensus on, but there was much debate about which course should occupy the fifth spot on the list so we decided to turn it over to you, the people! Cast a vote and let us know which layout deserves the final spot on our list of the area’s toughest tracks:
Do you agree with all our selections? What's the toughest Myrtle Beach golf course you've ever played?!
Options for #5: Glen Dornoch, Moorland at Legends, Prestwick, Rivers Edge, & Tidewater. Add others in the comments below!