Thistle Golf Club8840 Olde Thistle Downs Drive, Sunset Beach, NC, 28468
Located just over the North Carolina border in the scenic and historic fishing town of Calabash, Thistle Golf Club is one of the modern gems of the Grand Strand. Located as it is, mere minutes north of Myrtle Beach proper, Thistle was designed by accomplished golf course architect Tim Cate and opened in 1999.
Thistle Golf Club features three distinct loops of nine holes—the Cameron (North), Stewart (South) and MacKay (West) nines. Playable in three different 18-hole combinations, Thistle can measure anywhere from 6,801 to 6,997 yards from the back Black tees (par 71 or 72).
The club is named after one of the earliest golf clubs ever established, the Thistle Golf Club, originally founded in Great Britain in 1815. Myrtle Beach’s Thistle Golf Club harkens back to the game’s roots, laid out on a mostly treeless, windswept site. Many holes feature greensites that are open in front and able to receive a running approach shot. This aesthetic is something a little different in a part of the world where most courses encourage an exclusively aerial approach to greens. And to be sure, there are plenty such holes at Thistle as well, but the ground-game option suggested on some of its holes is almost always met with applause from members and visitors.
Take the closing hole on the Cameron (North) nine, for example. A 525-yard par five, the green, angled from front-left to back-right, features a sizable neck in front, giving players who hit good tee shots the opportunity to run a long iron or fairway wood up and onto the green, hoping for an eagle chance.