Location: Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Course architect: Mel Graham, president and CEO, of Graham Enterprises
Tee – Yardage l Rating / Slope:
Tournament – 6,525 | 72.2 / 130
Back – 6,214 | 70.6 / 126
Member – 5,826 | 68.2 / 121
Forward – 5,334 | 71.4 / 120
Saturday morning green fee: $$$ [$100-$149]
Caddie service: No
Walker friendly: No
Fairways: 412 Bermudagrass
Greens: MiniVerde Bermudagrass
Starter: There are many golfers who will never get a chance to ever play the most famous golf holes in the world. But if you are OK with playing a facsimile, then book a tee time at International World Tour Golf Links. The 18-hole layout features a Championship Nine and an Open Nine. The Championship Nine copies famous golf holes from the U.S., while the Open Nine offers some of the best from Scotland and Ireland, including the opening and finishing holes based on St. Andrews Old Course, the home of golf.
Play because …: Where else can you feel like you have traveled the world and seen Pine Valley, Pinehurst, Augusta National in just two hours of golf? Then, cap it off with nine more holes that will make you feel like you are in Scotland and Ireland. The price is right too, at just $100 for a weekend tee time. When finished, the dining area is worth some time as well.
Takeaway: Mel Graham is not a famous course architect, but he had the resources to build his dream golf course, which opened in 1999. The nephew of Rev. Billy Graham, Mel was president and CEO of Graham Enterprises, a real estate and development firm in the Carolinas. He traveled extensively for eight years to pick the holes he chose to replicate. Augusta National was Graham’s favorite as evidenced by the fact that four of the 18 holes are patterned after the Masters Tournament host course. World Tour goes so far as to have 2,000 azaleas planted along the four Augusta replica holes each year.
THE RATINGS [1 to 10 scale; 10 being the highest]
Food | Beverage: 8.5
Pro shop: 9.0
Pace of play: 7.5
THE COURSE | Scorecard
Best par 3: No. 5 Championship Course [155 | 155 | 142 | 142 yards]
The fifth hole is patterned after the famous 12th at Augusta National. You’ve seen what this short par 3 can do on day when the winds are swirling during the Masters. Now it’s your turn to take on Rae’s Creek. Like at Augusta, this teeing ground sits on low ground, so take an extra club to make sure to reach the putting green safely.
Best par 4: No. 9 Open Course [354 | 341 | 329 | 307 yards]
This replica of the finishing hole at the St. Andrews Old Course comes complete with a replica of the Swilcan Bridge, where Arnold Palmer famously bid farewell to the British Open in 1995. It is one of the widest fairways in all of golf, but even with a short iron to the green you will be challenged to find a spot for a reasonable birdie putt. The green falls off sharply from right to left.
Best par 5: No. 6 Championship Course [485 | 485 | 430 | 413 yards]
This is a copy of the par-5 13th hole at Augusta National with all of its features, including a creek meandering along the left side and crossing in front of the green. The builders even included a replica of Nelson’s Bridge that is crossed to reach the green. The landing area for the tee ball is generous to the right, but you will never get home in two from there. If you are up for risk-reward, then draw the tee shot around the corner just like the pros do during the Masters Tournament.
Rater: Craig Smith