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|The Wizard may be the easiest of the Mystical Golf courses, but the finishing stretch, including the watery 18th, is tough. (Courtesy of Mystical Golf)|
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- The great wizards in literature share a common trait: Treat them well and they'll take care of you. Get on their bad sides, though, and your fate is in their hands. And sometimes it's unpleasant.
Such is the case at The Wizard Golf Club, one of three magical golf courses owned and operated by Mystical Golf in Myrtle Beach. At 6,721 yards from the tips, The Wizard isn't particularly imposing, but you must find your rhythm early. Because in the end, The Wizard offers a special surprise.
At that point, it's critical to remain in control of your game.
The last three holes serve as the most interesting part of the golf course. They features more water in play than the rest of the golf course -– much like The Wizard's neighbor on the same property, Man O' War -– with two of the final greens on an island of sorts.
"We have players who finish and want to go out and just replay the last three holes," said Tim Sautter, general manager for The Wizard. "Of course, we can't let them do that, but many of them winding up replaying the entire golf course."
Dan Maples designed the golf courses that make up the Mystical Golf trio.
In addition to the aforementioned Man O' War, The Witch cuts through a thick forest of swampland and imposing trees, undoubtedly ranking as the most difficult of the three.
The Wizard is the most player-friendly, in terms of length and the width of fairways.
Aside from the first hole and the final three, water doesn't play a huge role on The Wizard. The fairways are wide, and the greens are large. Even long putts are manageable on these near-perfect bentgrass greens. And if you do happen to miss the fairways, recovery usually isn't that difficult, although the rough tends get thick in some spots. Patches of high fescue and ball-nabbing junipers pose trouble but generally stay out of range.
While the last three holes are the most memorable, they're far from the only highlights of the golf course. The 569-yard first actually rates as the No. 1 handicap hole, requiring three good shots to reach the green. Water runs along the entire right side of this dogleg right. Lose it right, and you add a stroke or two. Lose it left, and you'll find the rough.
The par 5s on The Wizard, are, in fact, very good. For example, the 11th, at 510 yards, provides a nice risk-reward opportunity, and the 14th, at 518 yards, is also reachable, but it requires a precise tee shot to get a good look at the green below.
Of course, the grand finale brings you back. It starts with the dogleg-right, 424-yard, par-4 16th. With water down the right side off the tee, it's critical to hit a good drive. The second shot plays to a well guarded, two-tiered green.
The 180-yard, par-3 17th plays from an elevated tee to a green fronted by a bunker and surrounded by water. And there's water everywhere on the 321-yard 18th, It also plays into the wind, meaning a well-struck tee shot is important to to ease the difficulty of the approach shot.
In many ways, The Wizard ranks as the most enjoyable of the Mystical Golf courses. It's the sort of golf course on which you can find your game as you go along. If so, you can forge a pretty good round in the end.
The course also offers a good venue for less-experienced players. With four sets of tees, forced carries are rare. And if need be, you can play around long carries on the finish.
Like the other two layouts, service is also top notch at The Wizard. Inside the imaginative, stone-castle clubhouse awaits a well-stocked golf shop and a snack bar with reasonable prices and quality food. In essence, The Wizard provides a consistent, enjoyable golf experience that belongs in the upper echelon of Myrtle Beach golf.
July 30, 2010
Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in the Houston area. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 20 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @Accidentlgolfer.
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.
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