Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, fondly coined as the “Golf Capital of the World,” has a rich history in the world of golf. This stunning city has the highest concentration of professional-standard golf courses in the United States and has been graced by some of the most prominent figures in the sport. This article will shine a light on a few of these individuals – from those who put Myrtle Beach on the golf map to the ones currently shaping its future.
The Founding Fathers: Robert White and George Cobb
First and foremost, we must pay our dues to Robert White, the man often regarded as the ‘Father of Myrtle Beach Golf’. A Scottish golf course architect, White designed the region’s first-ever golf course, the Pine Lakes International Country Club, in 1927.
George Cobb also deserves special mention in the formation of Myrtle Beach’s golf scene. The mind behind the famous Par-3 course at Augusta National, Cobb designed several signature courses in the area. The Surf Golf and Beach Club and Sea Gull Golf Club are among his notable creations.
The Golden Bear: Jack Nicklaus
Talk of golfing greats would be incomplete without mentioning Jack Nicklaus or, as fans lovingly call him, ‘The Golden Bear.’ With a record eighteen major championship wins under his belt, Nicklaus’ contribution to Myrtle Beach cannot be overstated.
He designed the Long Bay Club’s golf course in Myrtle Beach. The layout captures his passion and competitiveness, featuring eye-pleasing aesthetics, sharp doglegs, and sparkling water hazards. Not only did he lend his expertise in design, but his stature brought a worldwide spotlight to Myrtle Beach’s golf scene.
The Black Knight: Gary Player
Gary Player, nicknamed ‘The Black Knight,’ for his habit of always dressing in black on the golf course, is another iconic figure who has made his imprint on Myrtle Beach’s golf heritage. The South African golfing superstar designed the Blackmoor Golf Club based on the historic Longwood Plantation’s natural terrain. The course is known for its creativity in design, remarkable use of elevation changes, and rolling fairways that give it character and make it unique.
The King: Arnold Palmer
Arnold Palmer, fondly known as ‘The King’, played a pivotal role in popularizing golf in the Myrtle Beach area. A charismatic, crowd-favorite player, Palmer designed several extraordinary golf courses in Myrtle Beach. Among them, the King’s North at Myrtle Beach National stands out as one of the region’s best. It’s known for the ‘Gambler’ – Palmer’s intriguing risk-reward par-5 6th hole – and the stunning par-3, island green, 12th hole.
Contemporary Contributors: Dustin Johnson and Greg Norman
Local lad Dustin Johnson took the golf scene by storm in recent years. The number one-ranked player in the world at the time of this article currently runs the Dustin Johnson Golf School in Myrtle Beach. The school is today’s symbol of Myrtle Beach’s golf influence, fostering future talent while catering to players of all abilities.
Australia’s Greg Norman, or ‘The Great White Shark,’ moved to Myrtle Beach after his successful career. Not only did he design the acclaimed Norman Course at Barefoot Resort, he also regards the region as his home base. The influence of this two-time British Open Champion has considerably bolstered the city’s golf prowess.
In conclusion, Myrtle Beach has been enriched by a pantheon of golf greats. Their influence has helped the city to establish itself as a revered golfing hub. With such illustrious figures shaping its past and present, Myrtle Beach’s legacy within the golf world is assured for generations to come.