Golf Panel Selects State’s Top Courses Available for Public Play for 2017

HILTON HEAD - Old-Timer Among New Faces On List of Best You Can Play

There are four new names on the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel's biennial listing of the Best Courses You Can Play in the state, but one of them is old enough to be known as "The Granddaddy."

Pine Lakes Country Club, the pioneer of golf in Myrtle Beach, has been around since 1927 when it opened as Ocean Forest Country Club. The club may be old but the course is anything but after a full-scale renovation at the hand of architect Craig Schreiner in 2008.

Pine Lakes is one of 13 courses along the Grand Strand to make it onto the Best You Can Play List, which for the first time amounts to 31 courses. An inseparable tie in the polling of panel members left the panel leadership with no choice but to "add one" to a list that is traditionally capped at 30.

Another "newcomer" on the list, Kiawah Island Resort's Cougar Point course, was included even though - technically speaking - it's not one you can play at the moment. The course closed shortly after Thanksgiving and is undergoing its own renovation under the eye of Gary Player Design with a reopening set for October.

The Fazio Course at Palmetto Dunes Resort in Hilton Head and Prestwick Country Club - a P.B. Dye design in Myrtle Beach - round out the new inclusions.

Among those making way was a course that ostensibly doesn't exist anymore. The Ocean Course at Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head was completely revamped by Davis Love III last year and is now known as Atlantic Dunes. Too few panelists had experienced the new design by polling time for it to be included.

Others slipping off the list were RiverTowne Country Club in Mt. Pleasant and the Heathland Course at Legends Resort in Myrtle Beach.

Information on previous rankings can be found on the organization's website # # #

The "Best You Can Play" Public Access Courses in South Carolina for 2017

# = Best In Region * = New to the list of Best You Can Play

Listed alphabetically within region


# The Furman Golf Club
(864) 294-2000

# The Walker Course at Clemson University
(864) 656-0236

Country Club of South Carolina
(803) 669-0920

Mount Vintage Plantation & Golf Club
North Augusta
(803) 278-5000

# Orangeburg Country Club
(803) 534-5988


Kiawah Island Resort - Cougar Point Course
Kiawah Island
(800) 576-1570

Kiawah Island Resort - Osprey Point Course
Kiawah Island
(800) 576-1570

# Kiawah Island Resort - The Ocean Course
Kiawah Island
(800) 576-1570

Kiawah Island Resort - Turtle Point Course
Kiawah Island
(800) 576-1570

Seabrook Island Club - Crooked Oaks Course
Seabrook Island
(866) 586-6380

Seabrook Island Club - Ocean Winds Course
Seabrook Island
(866) 586-6380

Wild Dunes Resort - Links Course
Isle of Palms
(888) 778-1876


May River Golf Club at Palmetto Bluff
(843) 706-6580

Palmetto Dunes Resort - Arthur Hills Course
Hilton Head Island
(800) 827-3006

Palmetto Dunes Resort - George Fazio Course
Hilton Head Island
(800) 827-3006

Palmetto Dunes Resort - R.T. Jones Course
Hilton Head Island
(800) 827-3006

# The Sea Pines Resort - Harbour Town Golf Links
Hilton Head Island
(866) 561-8802

The Sea Pines Resort - Heron Point by Pete Dye
Hilton Head Island
(866) 561-8802


Barefoot Resort - Dye Course
North Myrtle Beach
(800) 320-6536

Barefoot Resort - Fazio Course
North Myrtle Beach
(800) 320-6536

Barefoot Resort - Love Course
North Myrtle Beach
(800) 320-6536

# Caledonia Golf and Fish Club
Pawleys Island
(800) 483-6800

Grande Dunes - Resort Course
Myrtle Beach
(843) 315-0333

Heritage Club
Pawleys Island
(843) 237-3424

Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club
Pawleys Island
(800) 367-9959

Pine Lakes Country Club
Myrtle Beach
(877) 283-2122

Prestwick Country Club
Myrtle Beach
(843) 293-4100

The Dunes Golf and Beach Club
Myrtle Beach
(843) 449-5236

Tidewater Golf Club and Plantation
Little River
(843) 913-2424

TPC of Myrtle Beach Myrtle Beach
(843) 357-3399

True Blue Plantation
Pawleys Island
(800) 483-6800

Background On SC Golf Course Ratings Panel


The South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel is composed of golf enthusiasts representing a diverse range of occupations, handicaps and backgrounds. These individuals have been charged with the task of identifying the best that South Carolina golf has to offer.

Objective and Purpose

The objective of the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel is to promote excellence in SC golf course design and operations through competitive rankings, education and public advocacy. The Panel serves as an ambassador for golf in South Carolina by striving to stimulate and facilitate the promotion and marketing of the outstanding golf courses, resorts, and real estate developments.

1) South Carolina’s 50 Best Courses – Bi-annually (in even-numbered years) members of the Panel identify their choices for the “50 Best Courses” in the state, public or private.

2) The Best Courses You Can Play – Bi-annually (in odd-numbered years) the Panel releases a listing of the best non-private courses in the state. Every resort, public access, and daily-fee course is eligible for this elite listing.

How We Rate Them

In determining their ratings panelists consider the following criteria:

  • Routing – How the course flows from hole to hole in harmony with existing topography.
  • Variety – Degree to which the course demands a full range of shot requirements.
  • Strategy – How design features test course management.
  • Equity – The course’s capacity to reward good shots and penalize poor ones.
  • Memorability – The distinctiveness of the golf course and its individual holes.
  • Aesthetics – The degree to which scenery and surrounds lend to the enjoyment.
  • Experience – Incorporates all elements of the course: practice areas, clubhouse and more.


The Panel consists of a maximum of 130 members with twenty-five percent representing each of the following geographical regions: The Upstate, The Midlands, The Lowcountry, and The Grand Strand.

Categories of Membership

  • Golf Industry – individuals who have a direct connection to the golf industry
  • Players & Coaches – individuals who excel at playing or coaching the game
  • Media – individuals who report on golf for one or more media outlets
  • Business & Industry – individuals who utilize golf within the business community

For more information on the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel contact its Executive Director, Michael Whitaker, via email at

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