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TPC Myrtle Beach

by | Feb 28, 2024 | WHERE TO PLAY

TPC Myrtle Beach, an acclaimed Tom Fazio/Lanny Wadkins design, is celebrating its 25th birthday in 2024. As we look back on the course and its place in the market, veteran golf writer Chris King talked with Tom Marzolf, Fazio’s senior design associate, and the legendary architect’s right-hand man during the design and construction of TPC Myrtle Beach.

King: Were there plans for a 36-hole TPC facility, and how involved was the PGA Tour?

Marzolf: Myrtle Beach was booming in the late 1990s, and the PGA Tour wanted a branded course in the Golf Capital of the World. While Fazio and Wadkins are the architects of record, they worked closely with Steve Winzloff, Senior Vice President of Design Services and Player Liaison for the PGA Tour. Winzloff walked the property with the Fazio team, staking out 36 holes. You read that right; there was a plan for a possible second course. Alas, a declining economy eventually sidetracked that idea.

King: About that routing …

While there were plans for two courses, Fazio used the best property for TPC Myrtle Beach and even two decades later, the quality of the terrain stands out.

Marzolf: “It was beautiful land that had never been developed, Great terrain for golf. We had free reign of the property … we tried to pick the areas that had unique contours and some movement.”

King: You can thank Lanny Wadkins for the daunting approach on No. 16. Is a player/architect deeply involved in course design or happy to attach his name to a project as part of an easy payday? In the case of Wadkins, the former PGA Champion was an integral part of TPC Myrtle Beach.

Marzolf: “He was very passionate about the project. If he was going to put his name to it, he had to be a key player in the design of the golf course. I learned a lot from Lanny.”

King: Golfers continue to learn a lot about Wadkins’ design philosophy every time they play the 16th hole, a shortish par-4 that plays 390 yards from the back tees and 347 from the whites.

Marzolf: “If a tour player has anything below an 8 iron in their hand (on the approach), Lanny believed you should design the hole so hard the player would be fearful to draw the club back, I Remember doing the 16th green – it’s perched up in the air with three deep bunkers beneath it. That’s all Lanny saying ‘it’s a birdie hole, but I want these guys shaking in their boots.”

King: Did Lanny even have his own TPC Myrtle Beach golf clubs?

Marzolf: “One day early on, I could tell Lanny was going to be highly involved, so I grabbed him and said, ‘Lanny, I know you play Titleist clubs, but what shaft do you have? What irons do you have? What driver do you have?,’ So, he told me what clubs he had while we ate lunch one day. Then I called his Titleist rep and had them make a duplicate set that matched his bag.

“The next time he came, I had the ball he hit and I had these clubs, and I said, ‘Lanny, you need to hit some shots out here to get a feel for it as we are building it.’”

King: TPC Myrtle Beach was designed to host professional events

Unfortunately, TPC Myrtle Beach only hosted one Senior PGA Tour Championship, thanks to a new title sponsor with no ties to the area moving it to Oklahoma (in November!). Still, the layout was built to accommodate the large crowds accompanying professional tournaments.  For example, the mounding around 18 allows for stadium-style seating, and there is ample room on the property’s interior for spectators to gather and move around – think about the space between holes 14, 15, and 16.

Marzolf: Yes, the 17th hole, a par 3 featuring a peninsula green, was designed as a tip of the cap to No. 17 at Sawgrass.  But next time you play, make note of the mounding to the left of the green. It just so happens that it’s a perfect viewing spot for fans, and that’s not a coincidence.

King: The layout is part of the Tour’s network of courses, designed to test the world’s best players, leading to an obvious question …Is TPC Myrtle Beach a good candidate to host another professional event?

Marzolf: “The design of the course is strong so there is no reason why it couldn’t [host a Tour event], especially with the investment Founders Group International made in the bunkers(and greens. .The character is there in the design and routing of the golf course.”

tpcmyrtlebeach.com

Photo Courtesy of TPC Myrtle Beach

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About the Author

<a href="https://golfonemedia.com/author/cking/" target="_self">Chris King</a>

Chris King

Based in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Chris King is a nationally published freelance writer whose work has appeared on GolfChannel.com, ESPN.com and various other outlets dedicated to golf and college athletics.