Myrtle Beach golf courses like the West at Myrtle Beach National and The Wizard are the perfect layouts to kick off a golf vacation, because they build confidence.
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - It might be your first tee time of the golf season, escaping the snowy Northeast for the greener confines of Myrtle Beach.
Or maybe you're just hungover.
Or perhaps you've only got two balls left in your golf bag, you lost all your cash to your buddies at yesterday's nassau - and you just need to make it around 18 more holes without having to go swimming for Titleists.
Whatever the case, we all need a low-stress round out there once in awhile to put some confidence back in our swing. So, here are a handful of the most player-friendly golf courses in Myrtle Beach (that are still worth traveling to play) that shouldn't leave you shattered.
And, gentlemen, you probably won't even have to tee it up from the reds here to make it around.
West Course at Myrtle Beach National (middle-back tee slope/rating: 113/69.0): Many foursomes often play the West Course or SouthCreek as a warm-up to King's North, but while the West Course is longer than SouthCreek, it features the widest fairways and largest greens that often have plenty of room to run shots up. (SouthCreek, on the other hand, winds through real estate, so those without their driver confidence might feel a little caged in.)
The par 5s can be especially chewed up from the white tees, all playing under 500 yards, but the par-3 18th hole features water all along the left side, so hopefully your swing has arrived by then.
The Wizard middle-back tee slope/rating: 112/67.7): Mystical Golf planned the Wizard to be a links prototype with gentle mounding and wide open fairways. Even though the wind can pick up, and the closing stretch - with an island green par-3 17th hole and long 18th hole around water - can be challenging, you should be able to avoid any catastrophic numbers before then.
The course's large but relatively flat and smooth bent grass greens will also give you more than a few opportunities to give your putter some confidence heading into the week.
Myrtlewood Golf Club, Palmetto course (middle-back tee slope/rating: 132/71.4): It's next door sister course, PineHills, is a little shorter, but don't let that fool you: It's easy swinging on the Palmetto, home to flatter, wider fairways and just a couple water carries. It's also got the only two Intracoastal Waterway holes at this 36-hole club, No. 17 and 18 - all the more reason to tee it up here first.
Shaftesbury Glen Golf and Fish Club (championship slope/rating: 135/74.0): If you're playing the Glen's Group courses, consider booking Shaftesbury Glen first, as its fairways are wider than Heather Glen Golf Links and is far less penal compared to Glen Dornoch Golf Club. Shaftesbury, on the other hand, is wide open but scenic, where the course defends itself around it's A.W. Tillinghast-inspired raised greens and splashed bunkering.
Legends Resort, Heathland (middle tee slope/rating: 127/71.2): The Moorland course is a flashy, stadium-style design by P.B. Dye, ranked among Golf Digest's 50 Toughest Golf Courses. The next door Parkland Course, molded after Alister Mackenzie, carries a longer yardage and higher slope rating.
But Tom Doak's Heathland course, Myrtle Beach's most authentic links prototype design and a course that's wildly fun to play, plays short at under 6,700 yards from the championship tees, and its fairways are wide enough to give you supreme confidence off the tee on most holes. The greens are large and undulating, so they're easy to hit (though you putter may face a little pressure on long lag putts), and there is often plenty of room in front to run it up.
Blackmoor Golf Club (middle-back tee slope/rating: 118/69.3): Gary Player has a reputation for designing some of the world's most player-friendly courses, and such is the case with Blackmoor, set on wooded, gently undulating terrain in Murrells Inlet. It plays just under 6,700 yards from the championship tees (6,217 yards from the men's) and features a collection of short and mid-lengthed par 4s, so you can reach the green easily even if your muscles aren't loosey-goosey quite yet.
The following Myrtle Beach golf courses are all Grand Strand "must-plays," though probably not ideal as the first course out of the gate if your clubs have been in the basement all winter. These penal designs can be tight, require plenty of forced carries and navigation around sand traps: Barefoot Dye, Grande Dunes Resort, Glen Dornoch, Long Bay Golf Club, Pawleys Plantation, Prestwick Country Club, River's Edge, Tidewater Golf Club Plantation and True Blue.
February 23, 2009