Cleaved into a dense forest of long-needle pines, Beau Rivage Golf & Resort’s course takes golfers careening across 18 holes of immaculate fairways as they gently undulate into picturesque elevation changes. Towering tree lines, tight doglegs, and intervening water hazards haunt golfers throughout the round, forcing clubbers into multiple blind shots and at least one shot from a tree canopy.
Suites stretching to 900 square feet, replete with a separate common area, kitchenette, and in-room wet bar, overlook the verdant greens. Private patios and balconies proffer views of the lush course, and the hotel's 19th Hole bar and lounge serves libations and heaping helpings of trivia and karaoke. The resort ensures days start off right, dishing out hot breakfast at the Verandah Bar & Grill at 7 a.m. and encouraging warm-ups on the 10,000-square-foot putting green and elevated driving range.
Echo Farms Golf & Country Club evokes the links-style courses of Scotland on its 18-hole championship golf course. That’s because renowned British architect Ian Scott Taylor worked his magic on the original design, improving everything from landscape to length. Tiff-eagle bermuda grass greens provide a challenge for players of all stripes, and the adjacent Cape Fear River adds a natural obstacle throughout play. Elsewhere, the country club offers five tennis courts and a competitive-sized swimming pool.
At Azalea Sands Golf Club, a waterless hole doesn't come into play until the tenth hole, and only three are found throughout the course. However, those players piqued by the prospect of challenge will find their niche along the 18-hole layout. First opened in 1972 and revamped in 2009, the course pits players against its mix of ponds, fairway- and green-side bunkers, and surrounding forest—a natural setting unmarred by the presence of housing developments or busy streets filled with traffic of escaped golf carts.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,902 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 72.5 from the back tees * Slope rating of 123 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
Brad Redding invokes more than 20 years of PGA-instructing experience to guide golfers of every skill set, from novice players to Gary Players. Groups of 10 to 12 can immerse themselves in Redding's teachings, trademarked as The Plane Truth, and enjoy unlimited range balls after each session. Clinics are held on Tuesdays at 5 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m., in the first three weeks of every month, excluding January and February. Call ahead to reserve a spot.
Whispering Pines Golf Course is set back just minutes from the beach and nestled among towering pines and mature hardwoods. From the first tee, golfers descend into the serene grounds as drives trace narrow fairways past tall stands of trees that give way to hidden rough, carefully placed lakes, and several feral golf carts that hurriedly scurry back under cover. Though the course is designed to be enjoyable for golfers of all abilities, a higher-than-average slope and handicap rating from the back tees signal a test for more-experienced players. Many holes place an added emphasis on short-game accuracy, as golfers must thread approach shots through an array of bunkers before sinking putts on undulated TifEagle Bermuda grass greens that serve as homage to the architect’s beloved bean-bag chairs. A certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, the course is flush with wildlife, from squirrels and foxes who bark out polite applause to indifferent heron, stirred only by a hole-in-one or a golf bag stuffed with anchovies.
Burrowed amid the low country’s towering pines on the south end of Myrtle Beach, Heron Point Golf Club sends golfers testing their skills across 18 holes of challenging terrain. Throughout the course, players cross paths with varied obstacles and hazards. The eighth hole, for instance, appears fairly straightforward, but its fairway bunkers and elevated green actually make it the toughest track on the course. Then, on the 18th, players must contend with a fairway that has its entire left side guarded by a pond filled with frogs that have evolved to only eat golf balls. After overcoming such challenges, groups can reward themselves with a stop at Mulligan’s Bar & Grill, located inside Heron Point’s welcoming Southern-antebellum clubhouse.