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|Southcreek is a player-friendly alternative (or prelude) to King's North at Myrtle Beach National. (Brandon Tucker/TravelGolf)|
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- The King still rules at Myrtle Beach National, the mega golf club just west of Myrtle Beach.
All three courses here were designed by Arnold Palmer's firm and reflect his influence. And to make sure you don't forget whose house this is, there's a bronze statue of the King, and photographs of Arnie in every clubhouse hallway.
King's North is the club's jewel, both in popularity and difficulty. But golfer-friendly Southcreek makes a good starting play for a 36-hole day here. That was the agenda for my Minnesotan playing partners, for whom King's North would be the climax of a Myrtle Beach golf trip.
Southcreek was built in 1975 and is a signature Palmer golf course, but much of the design credit goes to Francis Duane. Like many of Palmer's golf courses, it's a playable layout that looks a little harder than it actually is. High-handicappers certainly have a fighting chance here, with a top length of 6,416 yards and green complexes that are generous to errant shots.
As at most Grand Strand tracks, there's a good deal of water, but it's rarely unavoidable. Most greens have open fronts, and bunkers are off to the sides. A little course management and few awful swings will keep big numbers off your card.
Three of the four par 5s are tight, short and reachable in two with a good poke off the tee. No. 6 is just 448 yards from the white tees and while tightly tree-lined, it's straight and water-free. A steep bunker with a wooden-rail lip 50 yards out makes going for it almost smarter than laying up.
The 16th is also reachable in two, but a pond to the front-right of the green makes laying up the saner option. The rest of the back nine features a handful of mid-length par 4s.
The 10th, at 525 yards the only par 5 that require some brawn, is also Southcreek's best hole. The fairway doglegs right around a large waste bunker and pond. After nine holes of tight golf winding through tall pines and subdivisions (creating a good deal of out-of-bounds), No. 10 is a welcoming wide-open expanse.
Southcreek isn't going to beat you up. There's a good deal of water and sand, but it can be avoided with a little savvy. Many hazards lie far off the fairway, just in front of the tee box or in places it really takes a bad shot to find.
Playing a modest 6,080 yards from the white tees and with room on many holes to run balls up to the green, Southcreek is a favorite of women and seniors. Even average players with a little more length in their game might consider the championship tees, which play to just over 6,400 yards. It's a popular warm-up for MBN's acclaimed King's North.
April 16, 2007
Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Channel Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours.
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.
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