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New Course Tops GolfPass List of South Carolina’s Top 25 Public Layouts

Golf course rankings are inherently subjective. The game’s legacy media typically rely on the evaluation of low handicap course raters with a taste for private layouts and the hottest architectural trends.

GolfPass, Golf Channel’s travel portal, relies on the opinion of the common man, allowing regular players to evaluate the courses they play and then compiling ratings based on the results.

“Golfers are not measuring the quality of the course’s routing and place in the game as much as they’re summarizing the day-to-day experience compared to the cost,” GolfPass wrote of its ratings criteria. “If you charge me $50 on what I perceive to be a $100 course, that’s a five-star day. If you charge me $200 for what turns into a $75 experience, a lower-rated review will reveal the discrepancy.”

If you think that sounds like a recipe for success for Myrtle Beach golf courses, you are correct. Nine of the Palmetto State’s top 25 are located along the Grand Strand, a group led by No. 1-ranked Founders Club at Pawleys Island, according to Golf Pass.

Surprised to see Founders Club at the top of the list? You shouldn’t be. The Thomas Walker design has been on a steady ascent in recent years, providing outstanding conditions, a unique layout, and the type of value Myrtle Beach is renowned for. (Founders Club top photo)

With elevated fairways, framed by waste bunkers, Founders is almost devoid of cart paths and Walker’s design creates visuals players remember.

Joining Founders Club on the list were No. 7 River Hills, No. 8 Avocet, No. 9 King’s North at Myrtle Beach National, No. 10 Burning Ridge, No. 14 Myrtlewood’s PineHills Course, No. 17 Pawleys Plantation, No. 20 World Tour and The Wizard Golf Links was No. 25.

The top 10 ranking for River Hills and the Avocet Course is hardly a surprise. River Hills installed new greens in 2022 and completed a bunker renovation in 2023, enhancing an already dramatically underrated layout.

Avocet is one of the area’s most creative tracks, offering golfers a little bit of everything from an architectural perspective, including the drivable 265-yard, par 4 16th hole.

King’s North, an Arnold Palmer design, is one Myrtle Beach’s most popular courses. The King’s North experience is highlighted by the par 5 sixth hole, otherwise known as “The Gambler.” The iconic challenge features an alternate, island fairway that allows the daring among us to shorten the hole in an attempt to make eagle.

Burning Ridge is another course that over delivers on the value side, delighting traveling golfers with a challenge that exceeds expectations. Myrtlewood’s PineHills Course is No. 14 but will have its sights set on climbing the list once a bunker renovation project, currently underway, is completed in summer of 2024.

Similarly, Pawleys Plantation, a stunning Jack Nicklaus design, underwent a comprehensive greens, bunkers and clubhouse renovation project in 2023 and is in pristine condition with the arrival of Myrtle Beach’s peak spring season.

The experience at World Tour, which features 18 holes that replicate some of the game’s greatest challenges, including Amen Corner and No. 18 at St. Andrews, remains at the heart of the course’s appeal.

The Wizard is renowned for its playability and links-inspired layout, giving players a chance to score on a creative design.

Any course rankings that take value into account are bound to benefit Myrtle Beach, a fact the GolfPass rankings reinforced.

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