Location: Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Course architect: Arnold Palmer Design Group (with Frank Duane)
Tee – Yardage | Rating / Slope:
Black Tees – 7,017 | 139 / 74.2
Gold Tees – 6,481 | 130 / 71.4
White Tees – 6,024 | 126 / 69.2
Blue Tees – 5,662 | 121 / 67.4
Green Tees – 6,195 | 148 / 76.4
Blue Tees – 5,662 | 127 / 72.1
Red Tees – 4,816 | 114 / 68.0
Saturday morning green fee: $$ [$50-$99, fall season]
Caddie service: No
Walker friendly: No
Fairways: Common bermudagrass
Greens: Champion bermudagrass
Starter: Myrtle Beach National is a 54-hole golf facility with King’s North being the crown jewel of the property. It is generally considered one of the top courses in the Myrtle Beach area, and in the top few of the 22 area courses in the Founders Group. Originally called the North Course, its name was changed when Arnold Palmer came back in 1996 to redesign the layout. Palmer also planned to touch-up the West Course, but when he made the trip here in 2003, the weather was miserable, and he never got out to review the course. Instead, he patiently stayed in the clubhouse and signed autographs for anyone and everyone. The third golf course in the trio is the South Creek course. Arnold Palmer Design completed all of the golf courses in 1973, and they are the only courses by the Palmer Group in Myrtle Beach.
Play because …: This is one of the best award-winning golf courses in South Carolina. Golf Digest tagged King’s North as among America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses and Golf for Women put King’s North in its Top 100 Courses. The staff at Myrtle Beach National is very welcoming and the golf courses are always in superb condition. And at the end of the round, take time to enjoy lunch and view the memorabilia on display from Arnold Palmer.
Takeaway: With seven sets of tees, there is a yardage perfect for every golfer. There is also plenty of water and bunkering to cause concern with every shot. Heck, there are 40 bunkers on the 18th hole alone. Water comes into play on each of the selected "best" holes listed below, and 15 total. A prize should be awarded for playing this course with just one golf ball. A trophy should be awarded for missing the more than 200 bunkers.
THE RATINGS [1 to 10 scale; 10 being the highest]
Food | Beverage: 7.0
Pro shop: 8.0
Pace of play: 7.5
THE COURSE | Scorecard
Best par 3: No. 12 [140 | 129 | 110 | 98]
This would not be a fun hole, except that the yardage is short enough to where most any golfer should be able to find dry land on this island green that is 30 yards deep. Palmer cleverly designed two greenside bunkers on the left in the shape of SC for South Carolina. Once on the green, the putt will run from back to front, just like most of the greens at King’s North. Think of the more famous 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass and that should provide a good idea of what is ahead.
Best par 4: No. 3 [365 | 342 | 319 | 266]
There is a big lake in the middle of this short par 4. The choices are simple: go around the water to the right or try and to clear the it and the waste bunker area on a direct line to the green. The hole measures 342 yards from the gold tees, but the direct line carry is about 270 yards. The conventional path around the water leaves a 9-iron or wedge to the green, which is 33 yards deep but has three greenside bunkers guarding it to the right.
Best par 5: No. 6 [568 | 525 | 497 | 484]
This is a love-hate hole. The hole is nicknamed “The Gambler” because of its risk-reward option from the tee. There is an island fairway that cuts off more than 40 yards to the green, but if the drive is not accurate a big number comes into play. The island fairway is about 40 yards wide and 120 yards long, so with a straight tee ball most golfers will be looking at 200 yards for a crack at eagle. The long way around to the right leaves a wedge for a third-shot approach to the relatively small green guarded by water in front and three large bunkers long and right. There honestly isn’t a bailout area anyway, and no room for error. According to the scorecard, this is the “most unique hole in golf.” In his heyday, there is no doubt which path the King would have chosen on this hole, right?
Rater: Craig Smith