Many have made a solid living as golf course architects under their famous father’s name, but Rees Jones — perhaps because of a wild hair or perhaps because of his famous feud with his brother — was the first Jones boy to split from father Robert Trent Jones’s design firm. His first project was Arcadian Shores, a public golf option on the north end of Myrtle Beach. A region that was well-saturated with courses even then,
Arcadian works with a long, skinny piece of property that squeezes between housing and a large outlet mall (where you can drop off your husband so that you, a serious golfer, can relax on the course).
Those who have played any number of the layouts Jones has created over the past 40 years will recognize his roots alive and well at Arcadian Shores. The first hole, a par five, plays to perhaps the most well-bunkered green on the course. Although there’s little altitude change to feed Rees’s future heroism, the designer took advantage of an inlet at the south end of the property, where players will need to make a lengthy carry across nearly 75 yards of water to reach the green on this par four.
When Arcadian Shores opened it was a quality entry into architecture for Rees Jones as a solo working architect. The layout has been maintained quite well in the years that followed but the main anchor around the course's neck is a routing forced into tight lanes at different parts of the round.
Jones did a fine effort in having a good mixture of holes and Arcadian Shores still does well when held against the array of course options via the broader Grand Strand area. But, the overall bar for golf in the region is littered with a number of mundane layouts that are akin to fast food restaurants - good for immediate golf gratification but hardly anything noteworthy on the depth of details being promoted.
Architects often have to deal with tough land sites in order to successfully bring to life a golf course of quality. Arcadian Shores has its moments -- the par-5 1st is an engaging opening hole. The par-4 13th is also an eye-opener and often used as the photo hole for the layout's marketing purposes. The ending stretch of holes is also fun to play.
Overall, Arcadian Shores is a better golf option than a significant number of other courses in the immediate area but the routing is held considerably in check by a parcel of land that mandated specific situations and, as a result, feels a bit limited from being so much more from a design perspective.
M. James Ward
This course was a standard parkland course. When played it gave me nothing to remember the round by. Recently they have remodeled and updated the course. Have not played it since then so it might have improved since then.