Golfing in South Carolina is a way of life. Whether you’re a resident or just visiting the area on a golfing vacation, there is no shortage of great courses to play. It’s home to courses suiting any and all skill levels, including many designed by world-renowned golf course architects. It features nearly 200 miles of coastline and on them sit many of the state’s most-visited golf courses. South Carolina is, indeed, a mecca for golf lovers.
In the northernmost part of the state, near the shared border with North Carolina, sits Myrtle Beach. Myrtle Beach is perhaps the country’s most visited golf travel destination, with more than 100 golf courses taking up thousands upon thousands of acres along the Grand Strand. Just south of Myrtle Beach is the Charleston area, which is home to some iconic and classic designs. Follow the coastline even further south and you’ll hit Hilton Head Island — undoubtedly a travel destination all golfers should visit at least once.
With so many great areas to visit, South Carolina is home to many fine golf courses. Below, we break down the 10 best places to play during your visit:
10. True Blue
Famed course designer Mike Strantz designed this masterpiece, which rests on natural land between Myrtle Beach and the Charleston area. Golfers of all skill levels will enjoy the design’s windy trip through natural water and sand.
9. TPC Myrtle Beach
A must-play when visiting the Myrtle Beach area, TPC is one of the PGA Tour’s “Tournament Players Clubs.” Raised in 1998 by Tom Fazio and Lanny Wadkins, TPC Myrtle Beach is one of the most well-maintained tracks on the Grand Strand.
8. Caledonia Golf & Fish Club
Situated in Pawley’s Island, just south of Myrtle Beach, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club is another masterpiece designed by the late, great Mike Strantz. It was among his first courses in the Myrtle Beach area and remains one of his best. Short hitters will especially enjoy their round at Caledonia Golf & Fish Club as it’s only 6,500 yards from its back tees.
7. The Dunes Golf & Beach Club
Designed by legendary course designer Robert Trent Jones in the 1970s, The Dunes Golf & Beach Club has long been a marquee destination for golfers in South Carolina. Beginner beware, however, as the Dunes has been host to numerous Champions Tour and Senior PGA Tour events, a U.S. Women’s Open and the PGA Tour’s qualifying school.
6. Heritage Club
The Heritage Club is one of five exquisite golf courses that make up the Legends Golf Resort in Pawley’s Island south of Myrtle Beach. The key to Heritage Club’s impressive perennial rankings is its beauty. Set on more than 600 acres of 300-year-old oaks, magnolias, fresh-water lakes and marshes, the Heritage Club is a beautiful place to play and considered one of the top public courses to play in the country.
5. Glen Dornoch
Highlighted by tremendous views of the Intracoastal Waterway, Glen Dornoch is a North Myrtle Beach favorite and home to one of the toughest finishing holes in the area. The course was designed by famed course designer Donald Ross and what it may lack in distance, it more than makes up for in required precision.
4. The Dye Club
In the center of Myrtle Beach is the Barefoot Resort, a swath of property set off the beach but still very much a sought-after location. On the resort are four terrific golf courses. The toughest tee time to get is arguably at The Dye Club. Named for its designer Pete Dye, The Dye Club is a perfectly-manicured challenge that all golfers should play when in the Myrtle Beach area.
3. May River Golf Club
Located near Hilton Head, May River Golf Club is a Jack Nicklaus Signature Course and continuously receives rave reviews. No corners were cut in the 2005 design of May River. Nicklaus, a native of Ohio, even brought in sand from his home state as it adheres to slopes and coastal conditions well.
2. Harbour Town Golf Links
The iconic Harbour Town lighthouse can be seen from the epic 18th hole, but that’s not all this amazing course has to offer. Home to the PGA Tour’s annual RBC Heritage, Harbour Town is another Donald Ross gem and undoubtedly one of the tour’s shortest courses. Precision and course management are key, though, as golfers will face a mix of tight tee shots with narrow landing areas and long carries over water — both fresh and salt.
1. The Ocean Course at Kiawah
Host of the “War on the Shore,” 1991 Ryder Cup, Kiawah’s Ocean Course is one of the world’s best courses — let alone South Carolina’s. A bucket-list course for most avid golfers, the Ocean Course forces golfers to battle wind straight off the Atlantic with very little shelter on many of its holes. The wind and otherwise rough conditions make for majestic views and even tougher challenges across the awesome Pete Dye classic.
— Ben Larsen