Sure, everyone wants to play the Tom Fazio or Pete Dye - and that's the problem. There are plenty of golf courses in Myrtle Beach that don't get the hype but can still give you a memorable round without the crowds.
Oyster Bay Golf Links has gotten some hype, mind you. It was named Golf Digest's resort course of the year - in 1983. Other golf courses may have surpassed it in Grand Strand glamour, but more than two decades since it opened the locals still swear by Oyster Bay.
The debut design by Dan Maples, this par-70 course winds 6,700 years through severe marsh land, with two island-green par 3s and plenty of deep bunkers. With accuracy off the tee at a premium, this is a real golfing test.
Opened in North Myrtle Beach in 1968, the Russell Breeden-designed Possum Trot Golf Club is another older layout favored by the locals. This traditional, well-maintained coastal Carolina track is known as 'The Friendly Course,' no doubt in reference to both its 127 slope rating and its competitive prices.
Despite a four-star rating in Golf Digest's latest 'Best Places to Play' guide, Pawleys Plantation on Pawleys Island doesn't have the profile of other local celebrity designs. But insiders know this Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, one of the first plantation-style clubs in the Strand, for its combination of traditional style with challenging natural hazards like salt marshs and mammoth oaks.
'Pawleys is very underappreciated,' local golfer Robet Klirtz told TravelGolf.com. 'It has every element you want out of a golf course. You get more bang for your buck and it has the strongest par 5s in the South Strand.'
Family-run Crow Creek Plantation opened in 2000 in Calabash, N.C. with the intention of bucking the increasingly corporate swing of Myrtle Beach golf.
'We aren't following the old Myrtle Beach mentality of cramming them in there and seeing how many rounds we can do,' General Manager Patrick Crean told MyrtleBeachGolf.com. 'So far this approach seems to be working out really well. People would rather pay a little more and get more out of it.'
Formerly home to farms and tobacco fields, the layout now hosts some great golf holes, with coastal breezes affecting the front nine and rolling, tree-lined fairways offering a different ballgame on the back.
Woodland Valley Country Club in Loris is another Breeden design set amid low-country forest and natural wetlands. (An excellent drainage system keeps soggy play at bay.) At 6,928 yards from the tips with a 139 slope rating, this is where the locals go when they want a challenge without being crowded or rushed.
Even in Myrtle Beach, that's still possible.
by Ian Lenton, WorldGolf.com
Also available at WorldGolf.com