THISTLE GOLF CLUB (910-444-2500)
Myrtle Beach Golf Course Review
Thistle Golf Club in Calabash (20 minutes north of Myrtle Beach) is a 27-hole Scottish links type layout, with rolling fairways, stacked sod bunkers and TifEagle Bermuda greens. The design is a showpiece of an exclusive gated residential community, with acres of wildflowers, nature preserves and carefully sculpted landscaping. A unique feature here is the tee time schedule - which is set up in 10 minute intervals to provide a comfortable and efficient pace of play. This is almost unheard of in this day and age when courses are packing their schedules to get as many players on the course as possible.
The clubhouse (approx. 16,000 sq/ft) is quite spectacular, with features like a full service restaurant and bar, banquet and outing facilities, locker rooms with showers and more. The design is also one of Scottish architecture - complimenting the golf course design theme. In fact, several pieces, including the Pro Shop counter and Snack Bar counter, were brought here from Scotland. Practice facilities here are comprehensive, and include a targeted grass range, short game area with a sand bunker and putting green.
On course yardage blocks are posted in the fairways of all par fours and fives at 100, 150 and 200 yards (markers also on cart paths), and sprinkler heads are also measured to the center of the green. Each tee box has posted measurements and the day's pin placements are indicated on a pin chart that is posted on all carts - which also have coolers and rear covers to protect clubs during inclement weather. The playing surfaces consist of TifEagle Bermuda greens and 419 Bermuda fairways (over-seeded with rye during the winter).
Five sets of tee boxes are provided for on each hole, with slopes ranging from 137 to 109. The Cameron Course has water in play in some shape or form on all nine with 24 sand bunkers, and plays to 3450, 3187, 2949, 2580 and 2257 yards. The MacKay Course is the longest of the three courses and measures 3547, 3308, 3092, 2776 and 2355 yards. The Stewart Course was our favorite nine, and it plays to 3351, 3168, 2894, 2583 and 2179 yards. The MacKay and Stewart nines have a combined 54 sand traps (counting waste bunkers) with water in play on 14 of the holes.
The Stewart Course features open, rolling terrain that is definitely affected by the wind, with wide fairways flanked by pampas and waste bunkers that lead to large undulating green complexes. The Par five 4th is a classic risk reward hole as it doglegs to the right over a lake on a 90 degree angle. The Par three 9th is a nice finishing hole as it plays to an elevated green over water with a rock retaining wall framing the green complex. The MacKay Course starts out with a similar terrain, but varies into some secluded wooded areas that feature sprawling natural areas and marshes. The dogleg left Par five 7th is a spectacular golf hole, as it features two forced carries, one off the tee, and a demanding approach over a natural area to a green complex that is defined by a wood retaining wall. The Par five 9th is also a great finishing hole, a dogleg left shaped by a large lake on the left, and a natural area on the right, to a two tiered green guarded by a large bunker. Let's not forget the Cameron Course, where water is in play on every hole. The Par four 2nd, although short, demands a precise tee shot to attack the green guarded by water, held back by a retaining wall with some heavy undulation. Lastly, the Par three 4th contains an island green surrounded by water, protected short by two large bunkers and a heavily undulated putting surface.
This is a superb Tim Cate design, with great facilities, fine conditioning and friendly service. From the tips and blue tees - particularly on a windy day, this course can be quite a challenge. From the three forward sets, mid levels and beginning players can enjoy a round and score well here. The 10 minute tee time interval is special. For more info, visit our page for the property with direct link to their website by clicking here.