Four Strand golf courses ranked in Top 100 list

caledonia-golfGolf Magazine has unveiled its biennial list of the “Top 100 You Can Play,” a ranking of America’s best public courses, and four Grand Strand layouts earned a spot on the prestigious list.

A lowcountry classic, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club led the way at No. 29, followed by the Dunes Club (No. 39), True Blue (No. 77), and Barefoot Resort’s Love Course (No. 85).

The Top 100 You Can Play list, which was unveiled in the September issue of Golf Magazine, provided further validation of Myrtle Beach’s reputation as golf’s premier travel destination. The Grand Strand has been voted by best golf destination by readers of Golf.com and USA Today/10Best.

Caledonia, a Mike Strantz design, has long been a favorite of the Golf Magazine ratings panel. The layout, routed along a stunning piece of property, is equal parts art and architecture.

Strantz carved a masterpiece between soaring live oak trees draped in Spanish moss and alligator-filled, lowcountry water that used to feed a thriving rice plantation. The back nine, in particular, is golf at its finest.

The 11th is a devilish par 3 with a stream that snakes from tee to green, an understated but nonetheless daunting challenge. The 18th hole is a dogleg right that plays over water to a green that rests in the shadow of an antebellum style clubhouse, where golfers gather to watch fellow players finish.

The Dunes Club, a consensus top 100 public course, is a Robert Trent Jones Sr. masterpiece. With uncommon elevation change, arguably the state’s best greens complexes, and Jones’ architectural genius, the Dunes Club is the most revered Myrtle Beach golf course.

The layout is anchored by Alligator Alley – holes 11 through 13 – which play along the swash from the nearby Atlantic Ocean and Lake Singleton. If you are a fan of classic architecture, smooth, fast greens and a formidable challenge, Dunes Club is a must play.

True Blue, also a Strantz design and Caledonia’s sister course, deservedly retained its spot on the list. Everything about this 7,126-yard monster is big, including the fairways, greens and waste bunkers.

Golf Magazine said of True Blue, “Hole to hole, the variety is astounding. The course is mostly open, with beauty and menace mingling with lakes, marshland and plenty of scrub-filled natural sandy areas … Rarely has golf architecture had a shaper as artful as Strantz. The full measure of his formidable skill is on display at True Blue.”

When Barefoot initially opened its fairways, some skeptics wondered if Davis Love III would be capable of crafting a course that was equal to the work of more highly regarded architects Pete Dye, Tom Fazio and Greg Norman, who also designed courses at Barefoot.

Turns out Love bettered them and most of America. With its generous landing areas, creative layout, and Donald Ross-inspired greens complexes, the Love Course is among the Myrtle Beach’s most popular and playable layouts.

The faux ruins of an old plantation home anchor the fourth through sixth holes and provide the take home memories for many players.

Photo courtesy of Caledonia Golf & Fish Club

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