Golf and the Grand Strand are often synonymous, and some of the area’s finest golf courses can be found in the Carolina Forest area. The U.S. 501 corridor from Coastal Carolina University features 14 golf courses at 10 facilities, with 279 golf holes.

Sadly, an additional five 18-hole equivalents shut down in the 2000s as the glut of Grand Strand golf courses caused supply to overtake demand.

Wild Wing lost 45 golf holes. Nines at Burning Ridge and World Tour have shut down and Belle Terre shut down altogether about 10 years ago. Hard to believe they’re all gone.

Still, plenty of great golf courses remain, including some with golf holes so challenging, they’d make PGA Tour players think. Because the Carolina Forest area is a hub for great golf courses, we set out to find the greatest golf holes our community has to offer.

Our fantasy 18 includes six par 5s, six par 4s and six par 3s, a par 72 compilation stretching to nearly 7,300 yards. Some courses landed more holes than others, and a few didn’t land any.

That’s not a knock on the courses not making the list, but rather a testament to the quality of golf found in the Carolina Forest area. We start this week with our fantasy front nine. Look for the back nine in next week’s edition of the Carolina Forest Chronicle.

No. 1 – The Wizard Golf Club par 5 (440 486 534 569)

4601 West Leeshire Blvd., Myrtle Beach; 843-236-9393;

This is a really fun par 5 that presents a great chance for birdie. The hole doglegs right around a huge lake and big hitters can bite a little bit off the corner. Succeed and you have a shot at reaching the green in two. Fail and it’s a likely bogey.

No. 16 – The Legends-Moorland par 4 (186 202 223 270)

1500 Legends Road, Myrtle Beach; 843-236-9318;

After a long opening hole, it’s only fitting that golfers catch their breath with this driveable par 4 at Legends Resort. But don’t be fooled—a humongous waste area and deep bunkers guard this green. The smart shot is to bail out in the landing area right of the green.

The second is a short, uphill pitch. But with only 270 yards for a chance at eagle, you’re not really going to lay up, right?

No. 7 – The Legends-Moorland par 3 (130 185 220 245)

1500 Legends Road, Myrtle Beach; 843-236-9318;

It’s only 35 yards shorter than No. 16, but this dastardly par 3 is one of the longest all along the Grand Strand. Good news is that it plays downhill and the green slopes from front to back. It also tends to play downwind, shortening it somewhat. Oh yeah, left is dead, courtesy of the railroad ties leading wayward shots to a watery grave.

No. 5 – World Tour Golf Links-Open par 5 (410 435 492 542)

2000 World Tour Boulevard, Myrtle Beach; 843-236-2000;

After such a devilish par 3, golfers have a chance to regain a shot at this reachable par 5, especially from the members tees. Inspired by No. 15 at English Turn, the fairway is wider than it appears, and you can miss a million miles left and still reach the island green in regulation. Bulkheads surround the green, requiring precision if you give it a go in two.

No. 5 – Arrowhead Country Club-Lakes par 4 (297 325 356 387)

1269 Burcale Road, Myrtle Beach; 843-236-3243;

Few people realize that from the tips, Arrowhead Country Club is the highest slope rating of any Carolina Forest area course (second highest if you consider Grande Dunes, a Myrtle Beach course with a 29579 ZIP code, part of the Carolina Forest area). The Lakes-Cypress nines at Arrowhead are sloped 141, and the fifth on the Lakes is the most scenic, running along the Intracoastal Waterway. Strategically placed fairway bunkers and a hidden pond near the green make players think twice from the tee.

No. 11 – Burning Ridge par 4 (285 403 427 450)

500 Burning Ridge Road, Conway; 843-347-0538;

This straightforward, but long par 4 requires two solid shots. The landing area off the tee is wide, as a hole of this length ought to be.

Approach shots require a fairway wood or long iron to a large, relatively unguarded green. Into the wind or after a heavy rainstorm, reaching this beast in regulation will challenge even the longest hitters.

No. 12 – Burning Ridge par 3 (108 164 200 247)

500 Burning Ridge Road, Conway; 843-347-0538;

Women get a break on this one-shotter, but not the men. The above average green complex does little to compensate for the large pond short and right. Missing left is no picnic either, as pulled shots (for right-handers) kick hard left off the hill, leaving a delicate pitch to a green running towar the water.

No. 9 – River Oaks Golf Plantation-Bear par 5 (456 516 547)

831 River Oaks Drive, Myrtle Beach; 843-236-2222;

Named “The Last Mile,” this bear of a par 5 requires careful thought whether you play it as a two- or three-shot hole. It is reachable in two with a big drive and perfect second, but deep woods lurk all along the left side. This hole doglegs sharply right around a pond. Three bunkers guard this narrow green.

No. 9 – Myrtle Beach National – King’s North par 4 (252 350 387 350 382 409 465)

4900 National Drive, Myrtle Beach; 843-347-4298;

This hole is so long it has seven sets of tees ranging from 252 to 465 yards. It’s not so difficult from the members’ and forward tees, but watch out from the tips.

This 465-yard beast requires two of your most solid shots, especially since it traditionally plays into the wind.

Next week: Myrtle Beach National, Wild Wing and Arrowhead boast beautiful finishing holes.


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