Golf Magazine unveiled its biennial ranking of the “Top 100 Courses You Can Play” in its May issue, but earning a spot on the list got a lot tougher in 2021.
In previous years, the venerable magazine ranked the top 100 public courses in the United States but it upped the ante this year to include the best layouts in Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean.
The increased competition was of little hindrance to a pair of the Myrtle Beach area’s premier courses.
In the editorial that accompanied the rankings, the Dunes Club was hailed for the quality of its greens. Golf Magazine’s architecture editor, Ran Morrissett, wrote: “The firmest greens I’ve seen recently, bar none, were those at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, which were regressed with ultra-dwarf bermuda in 2013. Golfers struggle to make a pitch mark. Balls slide around these slick, soft-shouldered putting surfaces in all sorts of appealing ways.”
The Dunes Club’s greens are certainly among the area’s best and most bedeviling, but they are just one facet of the course’s appeal. The Robert Trent Jones Sr. design delights throughout a round that is highlighted by Alligator Alley, the famed three-hole stretch from 11 through 13.
The par 5 13th hole, known simply as “Waterloo,” is a 90-degree dogleg right that plays around Lake Singleton, creating multiple risk-reward decisions that players relish. Dunes Club has also hosted six Senior PGA Tour Championships, the U.S. Women’s Open and the finals of the PGA Tour’s Q-School, adding to the course’s rich history.
Caledonia, Mike Strantz’s first solo design, is a more contemporary but no less appealing design. Playing through a small but stunning piece of lowcountry land, Caledonia (pictured right) is equal parts art and architecture.
Fairways are framed by centuries old live oak trees draped in Spanish moss and the layout reaches a crescendo in an unforgettable closing stretch. The course’s famed 18th hole, a par 4 dogleg right, requires players to carry water on the approach to a green that resides in the shadow of a stunning clubhouse.
When the clubhouse deck is crowded with players cheering (and jeering) approach shots on a spring day, there are few better ways to conclude a round of golf anywhere in America.
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