Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 29579
When you're looking for the finest in Myrtle Beach golf courses, the International World Tour is sure to top your list. As golfers drive up the magnolia-lined entryway to World Tour Golf Links, they are transported to a world that most golfers only dream about. Golf holes inspired by the great courses of the world - Augusta National's Amen Corner, Pine Valley, St. Andrews, Winged Foot - are etched into the South Carolina terrain, enabling golfers to sample some of the globe's great layouts in a single day.
World Tour is the Myrtle Beach Grand Strand's most unusual and unique golf complex with 27 holes that read like a golfer's fantasy list. In fact, a tee time at World Tour is the equivalent of a golfing passport to some of golf's most exclusive golf courses - many of which aren't available for play at any price. Creator Mel Graham, who also headed the design team, spent years researching and studying the courses that are paid homage at World Tour. Then he made sure each hole fits its natural surroundings in Myrtle Beach.
To play the layouts which inspired World Tour Golf Links, a golfer would have to travel nearly 20,000 miles, through six times zones and five different countries.
Of the courses that inspired World Tour, 16 are so exclusive that the average golfer would not be able to play them at any price. Greens fees for just one round at each of the six courses that are open to the public would total more than $1,000 not including airfare and lodging.
The $2.5 million clubhouse features flags representing six countries; Australia, Canada, England, Scotland, Spain and U.S.A. and 10 states California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania which are all associated with the course.
Six different countries with four different languages (English, French, Scottish and Spanish) inspired holes at World Tour. There are also three different dialects of English: American, British and Australian.
Golfers never have to miss a tournament while playing World Tour. Three strategically located television sets linked to the Golf Channel are located in the World Tour facility.
Over 1 million cubic yards of dirt were moved at World Tour to mold the 27 holes.
In doing research for the World Tour project, Mel Graham traveled thousands of miles. The 27 holes of World Tour were chosen from 150 potential holes.
There are more than 2,000 azalea bushes planted around the four holes inspired by Augusta National, including three from the famed "Amen Corner."
Florida is the U.S. state that is home to the most courses inspiring World Tour. Five courses, including Bayhill Club & Lodge, The Doral Resort, Jupiter Hills Golf Club, TPC at Sawgrass and Seminole Golf Club are represented at World Tour.
Augusta National is the layout that inspired the most holes at World Tour - three holes from "Amen Corner" (No. 11, 12, 13) are on the Championship course and No. 16 is on the Open course.
Outside the U.S., the United Kingdom inspired the most courses at World Tour with Royal Troon and St. Andrews in Scotland and Wentworth in England.
GOLF COURSE REVIEWS:
World Tour Golf Links
gives you a taste
of famous courses
By Patrick Jones, Senior Writer
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (Aug. 27, 2003) -- As you play each hole at World Tour Golf Links, a novel design featuring credible facsimiles of 27 famous holes from around the world, somewhere far overhead an orbiting global positioning satellite beams down pertinent yardage information and a little bit of Herbert Warren Wind.
Tee off on No. 5 on the Open Course, a replica of the 15th hole at the English Turn Golf and Country Club in New Orleans, and the digital display in your cart projects factual tidbits on the 542-yard, par-5 replica that are worthy of the famous golf writer and historian. For the less high tech golfer, bronzed plaques with historical factoids are also found at each tee box.
Knowing that John Daly put four tee shots into the water on his way to a 12 during the 1994 Freeport-McMoran Classic on this hole's inspiration is truly interesting -- if not exactly the mental imagery that sports shrink Bob Rotella would want foremost on your cerebellum while waggling over your ball. Having that background information on the original hole (and Daly) is certainly gratifying, though, if you stay dry, roll in a putt and wind up with a mere third of Long John's carded dozen.
No.1 on the World Tour Golf Link's Championship Course is a reproduction of the 18th hole at Winged Foot in Mamoroneck, N.Y. You don't need Ben Wright riding shotgun to learn that this was the closing hole when Bobby Jones won the U.S. Open in 1929.
And that the USGA must have been on top of its punishing course-setup game that year considering Jones won the championship at 14-over-par.
Gaining edification while playing convincing duplications of holes from classic courses such as Cypress Point, St. Andrews, Augusta National, Royal Melbourne and Valderrama is just one of the charms and services that differentiate World Tour Golf Links from the approximately 120 other courses golfers have to choose from in the Grand Strand area.
But there are more appeals to the course than its novelty.
"The marketing angle of the inspired-by holes gets people in the door initially to try the course," said Dennis Nicholl, recently named the club's director of golf. "But for the most part the comments we get back are, honestly, not about the holes or how close they were to the inspired-by originals. It's more about the service and amenities we offer. That is what brings them back. That's what they were most impressed with that maybe they didn't even think about going into it. They didn't realize they were going to get the total golf experience.
"Myrtle Beach is very competitive, obviously, with 100-plus golf courses," added Nicholl. "What has helped set World Tour Golf Links aside is the consistency of the quality conditions and service we offer day in and day out, 365 days a year. Our ownership strives for consistency regardless of the time of year."
The facility, the brainchild of Charlotte-based owner Mel Graham, is located just 10 minutes from downtown Myrtle Beach off course-laden Hwy. 501. It is an innovative layout that every Grand Strand golf traveler should add to their itinerary.
World Tour Golf Links has climbed to the top of many local and national lists since its opening in October 1999.
It was chosen as "Best Overall Golf Course" by 3,500 participants in a Myrtle Beach Golf Magazine poll released in January. Additional top honors for the course from the magazine voters came in the categories of "Best Greens," "Course Consistently in Best Condition" and "Friendliest Golf Course Staff."
World Tour Golf Links
2000 World Tour Blvd.
Myrtle Beach, S.C. 29579
Phone: (866) 295-3241
Fax: (843) 903-1200
Web site: worldtourmb.com
World Tour is the Grand Strand's most unusual and unique golf complex with 27 holes that read like a golfer's fantasy list. A readers poll conducted by a local golf magazine voted World Tour Golf Links the "Best Overall Golf Course" in its Best in Golf contest.
Golf World Business named World Tour Golf Links "A Top 100 Golf Shop in America."
The award most closely taken to heart by the club's staff was being awarded the "2003 Golf Course of the Year" in July by the Myrtle Beach Golf Course Owners Association.
"The award is voted on by the other owners in the area, Mel Graham's peers, and there are other things involved in the award than just the golf course itself," said Nicholl. "It also has to do with giving back to the community, of which Mel Graham is adamant about. It also has to do with quality management and service, among other things. That award was pretty important to us."
With greens fees ranging from $75 to $175 depending on the season and tee time, World Tour Golf Links is not for those committed to frugality. But it is well worth the price if you want the thrill of playing, among others, Nos. 11, 12 and 13 at Augusta National (be it the mock-up version of Amen Corner) and seeing how you fare.
You won't find the complete realism of pimento cheese sandwich wrappers blowing across the fairway, but with a smidgen of imagination you can conjure up images of yourself in pursuit of a green jacket on the final nine of the Masters on Sunday.
Nicholl makes it clear that Graham's vision was to replicate the atmosphere of the famous holes rather than to create exact carbon copies, a near impossibility on the area's flat and sandy terrain.
Not that there wasn't precision involved in the research of the holes prior to their construction. Graham and other World Tour Golf Links representatives dispersed around the globe to make thorough notes and bring back their findings. Changes in elevation, green sizes and contours, hole length, and bunker sizes and placements were all replicated in detail.
"There were a lot of construction companies and contractors that came in with specific blueprints of the actual holes," said Nicholl, who previously served as head professional at the Pete Dye course at Barefoot Resort in North Myrtle Beach. "The holes are inspired by the originals. They are not exact replicas. There are some differences here and there. But the bottom line is that we tried to do the best we could to get them as close as we could to the originals."
The favorite nines requested by most golfers are the Open and Championship nines.
The Open nine features two island greens, No. 17 at the TPC of Sawgrass and No. 15 at English Turn. Other highlights include the 16th at Pinehurst No. 2 and No. 18 at St. Andrews.
The primary appeal of the Championship nine is the chance to take on Amen Corner for those who don't have running invitations from Hootie Johnson or his Augusta National compatriots.
The International has holes modeled after Valderrama (No. 4), Doral (No. 18) and Royal Melbourne (No. 9).
Part of the strong customer orientation at World Tour Golf Links is its Ambassador Service. Granted, it's a fancy name for marshals and other course staff. But the facility makes enough noticeable extra efforts to make sure you have a good experience that it's tough not to concede to their preferred lingo while on the property.
The clubhouse at World Tour Golf Links is impressive. The massive 25,000-square-foot antebellum structure makes Scarlet O'Hara's Tara home in "Gone With the Wind" look like a caddyshack.
On your next trip to South Carolina's self-proclaimed "Golf Capital of the World," make sure World Tour Golf Links is on your list to play. When you return home, your golfing buddies will be less prone to point out that hitch in your backswing when you wow them with your newfound knowledge that Gene Sarazen aced No. 8 at Royal Troon, best known as Postage Stamp Hole, during his 50th appearance in The Open Championship. www.myrtlebeachgolf.com/departments/coursereviews/world-tour-golf-links.htm