Ian Guerin is a freelance writer and DJ living in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He's decent with the driver and putter; it's everything else in the bag that gives him trouble. Follow Ian on Twitter at @iguerin.
One of the four host courses of Golf Channel's "Big Break Myrtle Beach" reality show, the Love Course at Barefoot Resort certainly earned the right to shine on national television.
Nestled next to the internationally known Dye Club, Barefoot Resort's Fazio Course isn't locked into a supporting role. Routinely finishing among the top 20 golf courses in South Carolina, the course's 18 holes flow from start to finish. Nearby housing is invisible, and even spotting one hole from another is rare.
Year by year, the Dye Club at Barefoot Resort seems to grow its lore just a tad more. And now, with it having served as one of the four host courses for Golf Channel's "Big Break" reality show, this Myrtle Beach-area favorite is expanding its notoriety again.
True Blue Golf Plantation is recognized as one of the best, not only on the Myrtle Beach Grand Strand but in all of South Carolina. Along with its sister course, Caledonia Golf and Fish Club, True Blue stands out as a must-play for golfers of all skill levels. It isn't simply about the design or the turf quality, though. It is one of the few area courses that not only has a horticulturist on staff but publicizes it on the score card. The extra touch doesn't go unnoticed, as it accentuates everything else True Blue has to offer.
Coming off the golf course in Myrtle Beach thirsty or hungry, in search of more than a hotdog and a cold can of Bud? These courses have on-site food-and-beverage operations that are tops on the Grand Strand.
Caledonia Golf & Fish Club in Pawleys Island, S.C.: Commune with nature on the south end of the Myrtle Beach Grand Strand
In the middle of the picturesque Lowcountry setting sits a course that alone would draw rave reviews: Caledonia Golf & Fish Club. Even from the tips, Caledonia's 18 holes combined measure at a less-than-threatening 6,526 yards. But while the course itself shouldn't be considered easy by any stretch of the imagination, the lack of housing units on the property provides a wide-open -- as cliche as it sounds -- experience with nature. Ian Guerin has more from Pawleys Island, S.C., just south of Myrtle Beach.
Blackmoor Golf Club, a Gary Player design located in Murrells Inlet, S.C., is chock full of 90-degree bends. The golf course features seven doglegs where Player chose accuracy over brawn, but the doglegs are only a small portion of what Blackmoor is all about. Opened in 1990, Blackmoor should be starting to show its age. That's not the case, Ian Guerin writes from the Grand Strand.
A.J. Sawyer and his buddies at East Coast Golf Management have taken on another reclamation project -- Indigo Creek Golf Club in Murrells Inlet, S.C. But this one is special to Sawyer, who got his start at Indigo Creek more than a decade ago. And the early returns are good, Ian Guerin writes from the south end of the Grand Strand.
Amid a picturesque background with a reasonable price centrally located just outside Myrtle Beach, the golf at Myrtle Beach National's SouthCreek Course is, well, true. There aren't any gimmicks. It's just golf at one of its purest forms. Pristine tee boxes and greens, fairways without glitches and clearly marked site lines are the standard here. And it's why locals and tourists have continued to make it a regular part of their rotation.
The pictures of hole no. 10 at Long Bay Golf Club on the north end of the Myrtle Beach Grand Strand, which has a waste bunker shaped like a tuning fork, have pretty much become synonymous with the course. There's much more than one great hole at Long Bay, however. With several holes considered among the toughest in the area, Long Bay Golf Club is not for the once-a-year golfer. But even high handicaps, however, can enjoy a round.
Azalea Sands Golf Club in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: A quick play that doesn't sacrifice quality
It's not easy to get players in and out while enjoying a solid round of golf. Azalea Sands Golf Club in North Myrtle Beach, however, has found a way to do both. And Azalea Sands has made it clear that it won't sacrifice long-term customer satisfaction for a quick buck now, Ian Guerin writes from the Grand Strand.
Wicked Stick Golf Links has stayed true to its blue-collar appeal. In many ways, it's in the style of one of its co-creators, John Daly. Located on the south end of Myrtle Beach, the club attracts golfers of all skill levels. True to its roots, the course provides an open links style with plenty of room for error. The motto of the course, after all, is "Grip It and Rip It." Getting beat up isn't part of the equation.
The Signature Golf Group, a South Carolina-based management company, slowly -- but surely -- has Heron Point Golf Club on the mend. Although there's still plenty of work ahead, Signature believes it can bring this course on the northern end of the Mytle Beach Grand Strand back to life, Ian Guerin writes.
Hummingbird Course at Wild Wing Plantation near Myrtle Beach, S.C.: A great nine-hole play, whether golfers know it or not
Golfers who play Wild Wing Plantation will likely experience their first round on the nine-hole Hummingbird Course, whether they know it or not. Wild Wing is spending this summer on a major greens renovation on the 18-hole Avocet Course, so it's going to use the Hummingbird to substitute some holes. And, for a course that often goes unnoticed, that will be a very good thing, Ian Guerin writes.
Don't believe everything you hear. Especially if the topic is the greens on the Avocet Course at Wild Wing Golf Plantation in Conway, S.C. They had a rough spell, but the greens are looking better than they have in years, Ian Guerin writes. And the Avocet may be on its way back to the upper echelon of Myrtle Beach golf.
Old-time feel, great value make Tom Doak's Heathland Course at Legends Golf and Resort a Myrtle Beach favorite
Some would say the Heathland Course at Legends Golf and Resort is the best deal in the Myrtle Beach area, and much of that is due to the old-time feel the course provides. Patterned after a number of British Isle courses, Heathland is different from the four other layouts at the Legends -- and that's part of its draw, Ian Guerin writes.
PineHills course at Myrtlewood Golf Club in Myrtle Beach offers a playable, versatile round for all handicaps
The driver is probably better off in your bag on many holes of the PineHills course at Myrtlewood Golf Club in Myrtle Beach. Accuracy is key. One of the advantages of playing the PineHills course is that a lack of elevation variants makes it easier to judge distance. Ian Guerin has more from the Grand Strand.
The Palmetto course at Myrtlewood Golf Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C. is a solid mid-range play on the Grand Strand that offers a great mix of distance, accuracy, sand and water. And its picturesque settings are evident on several holes, with azaleas often serving as a back drop. There's a reason the majority of golfers who play here are are repeat customers, Ian Guerin writes.