MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- At Man O' War Golf Club on South Carolina's Grand Strand, you might want to consider wearing white -- along with a sailor's cap. That's because there's so much water that you might as well dress the part.
Check out an aerial of Man O' War, where a water landing off the tee seems the likely scenario. Indeed, there are 100 acres of water, which come into play on every nearly every hole.
But looks can be deceiving. This Dan Maples design was carefully thought out. Most of that water merely provides perspective, and there really are plenty of landing areas -- aka wide fairways -- for tee shots and approaches, which become evident when you get on the golf course.
Still, it can be intimidating, and there are forced carries and watery graves for wild shots.
Man O' War is one of three Myrtle Beach golf courses owned and operated by Mystical Golf. The other two are The Witch and The Wizard, and all three are completely different. The Wizard is part of the same 36-hole complex as Man O' War, while the Witch is a few miles away.
Man O' War is engineered like few other golf courses.
"What we found out was the water table was actually very high," said Claude Pardue, owner and operator of Mystical Golf. "It was just a matter of digging down a few feet to get to it."
Indeed, the water features were simply dug out around the holes, and the water was already there. Throw in a little wind, and you have a pretty tough golf course. In any event, you're always thinking about it.
Man O' War's fifth hole, for example, is a 445-yard par 5 with water off the tee and to the left of the entire hole. The fairway is actually quite wide, but you can't get the lake out of your mind.
The eighth is the No. 1 handicap hole on the course. It's a par 5 that plays almost 600 yards from the back tee, and a lake runs the entire length of the left side.
The ninth could be even more difficult. It's a 433-yard par 4 that's basically an island hole. There's water left, right and long of the fairway and green.
The back nine has two holes that have island greens, and they are back-to-back. The 14th is a short par 4 with an island green. Man O' War's 15th is a 173-yard par 3. Both have large greens, but with wind, they can play most difficult.
Even the clubhouse sits on water, which gives it a unique feel.
While I wouldn't recommend this golf course for beginners or high handicappers, as long as you can get the ball up in the air and play it from the proper tees, you'll have a good time. Still, with this much water, bring plenty of ammo in case you're having a bad day.
Conditions are also outstanding on this moderately priced golf course (around $50 during the summer). The bentgrass greens are especially impressive, and the fairways are plush.
Service is also top notch, as it is with the other two golf courses. No matter when you play, you'll never go more than a few holes without seeing a drink cart, and the burgers and sandwiches are consistent and moderately priced. Sodas, sports drinks and beer are also fairly priced.
Practice facilities are more than adequate with a grass range and short-game area, and lessons are available from the professional staff.
July 19, 2010