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|From the tee on the 11th hole of Arcadian Shores Golf Club, a short slice will wind up wet. (Lisa Allen/WorldGolf.com)|
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - Just a few months into an effort to resurrect the 35-year-old Arcadian Shores Golf Club in Myrtle Beach, the work is starting to show results.
In June, Burroughs and Chapin Golf Management assumed responsibility of the 18-hole golf course, the first one that Rees Jones designed. Head Professional Jason Mitchell and Superintendent Steve Martin tackled the quick fixes first: tidying up the landscaping, replacing signage, painting bathrooms and patching turf where needed.
"We're working on the maintenance priorities," Mitchell said. The firm bought new maintenance equipment, updated the golf cart fleet and planted plenty of vegetation to spruce up Arcadian Shore's signature holes, numbers 13 and 14, which also are the most visible to passing traffic.
New merchandise and displays have brought the Arcadian Shores pro shop up to date as well. Personnel is another asset - from the bag and cart staff to the lunch bar, the people here are friendly and efficient (and the bar serves great burgers, by the way).
There's no question this golf course is going to get better and better, especially once all of the turf work is done and takes hold. The elements of a great course are all there, thanks to Rees Jones, and it's just a matter of a lot of nurturing and a little time.
The most striking feature of the golf course is the amount of sand - a lot. Also memorable are the fairways, narrowed by mature trees and large, undulating greens. It pays to pause on the tee box and assess the situation. Everything is visible, but the distances are sometimes deceiving. A bunker that appears to be in mid-fairway might be right by the green. Those at the green might begin 15 yards in front and extend like fingers up the side of the fairway.
Length is likewise there if you want it. Five tees divvy up distances from the 6,857-yard Champions tees to the 5,113-yard Kingston tees - or, if you're more color inclined, from the black to the reds. In spite of its name, there isn't very much water at Arcadian Shores Golf Club, with the exception of the seventh and 13th holes, which put water right in front of the green.
On a couple of holes, a hump on the front of the green, right in the center, can send a bump-and-run shot squirting left or right, adding an element of chance. It pays to take those features into consideration when choosing your approach.
The second hole is a great par 3, with a pond ringed by tee boxes, all with a substantial water carry in front, and, depending on the angle, either sand or more water as a backdrop. It isn't a simple short iron either, with lengths from 201 to 114 yards.
The 10th hole has a military march of bunkers, left for your drive, right for your second shot, and left and right crater bunkers at the green that form a horsehoe around the putting surface. The green has a double break for most longer putts. Given the undulation, there is no nice, easy place to put the pin on this surface, and a long putt might create a three-stroke result.
The highlights of Arcadian Shores Golf Club are the 13th and 14th holes, which feature the same large pond with a wooden bridge across it. On the 13th, the goal is to launch a drive to the edge of a downhill slope and hope it doesn't trickle into the water. Then, it's an iron shot over the pond to a large green. On the next hole, the pond stands between you and a rising fairway with a mess of bunkers on the left and trees on the right. Coming or going, the two holes offer some fun shots.
"I like number 13," said Joe Lacy, a 15-handicap player from Virginia. He has finished the course several times. "It's a nice course ... it's pretty, it's challenging in some places, and you've got a lot of sand.
"It's kind of open. Any average player would enjoy this course."
Arcadian Shores draws a lot of play, about 40,000 rounds, thanks in part to its proximity to Kingston Plantation, Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort, Embassy Suites Hotel and a campground.
Even though I had never played the course, it's familiar; like Golf 101, without the theatrics of some other courses. If you spray your shot, you might ping-pong through the trees, land in sand or nestle into some gnarly bermuda rough. The greens aren't too fast, too slow, too big or too small. In short, Arcadian Shores Golf Club is just right.
October 7, 2009
Lisa Allen is a golf, travel and business writer based in Beaufort, S.C. She has edited newspapers, magazines and books in Michigan, Indiana and South Carolina. Follow her on Twitter @LAllenSC.
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.
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