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Blackmoor Golf Club: Myrtle Beach's top Player

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At Blackmoor, Gary Player combined a love for golf history with the natural beauty of the Myrtle Beach area. (Courtesy Blackmoor G.C.)

Hall of Fame golfer Gary Player approaches golf course design with the same tenacity with which he attacked tournaments during his playing days. One of only five golfers to win all four majors, Player combined his love for Scottish golf history with the natural beauty of the Myrtle Beach area to create Blackmoor Golf Club, a playable yet challenging course in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.

When starting a course-design project, Player considers the area's natural habitat and golfers' skill levels before moving the first shovel of dirt. "I want you to enjoy nature," he said. "I want you to enjoy golf. It's what it's all about - relaxing you instead of stressing you out."

Myrtle Beach's sole Player

Opened in 1990, the Grand Strand's lone Player course has earned a reputation for its conditioning. Blackmoor combines the beautiful lowcountry surroundings with the charm of the Scottish links as the rolling fairways, thick evergreen forests and wetlands work with the wildlife to create an unforgettable experience for golfers. On warm days, alligators can be spotted sunning themselves by the numerous bodies of water; early-morning golfers will catch glimpses of wild turkeys on the course.

Blackmoor is unique in that each hole stands alone. Golfers cannot see the hole in front or next to them, and stray balls from other fairways never interrupt play. The front nine resembles a parklands course with the tree-lined fairways, but after the turn golfers experience more links-style play with wide-open fairways and challenging water hazards.

Blackmoor's signature hole, No. 8, presents golfers with a risk-reward opportunity as the split fairway provides two distinctly different routes to the green. The left side runs 371 yards from the back tees and favors a traditional layout with a strong dogleg right. This is the route for the conservative player who prefers a wide-open fairway. More daring golfers can try to take their ball down the narrow right fairway - it's only 290 yards, but you must carry the sawgrass that separates the tee box from the green.

As with most Gary Player designs, Blackmoor is a course that requires accuracy and precision off the tee - a shot maker's dream.

"Blackmoor is definitely a course that you have to think and use all of the clubs in your bag," head professional Brett Stevens said. "You can't just pull your driver out and knock it as far as possible onto the fairway. Golfers who score well on the course plan their shots well in advance."

Golf course, history course

With the scenic Waccamaw River as a natural border, the course was built on the grounds of the former Longwood Plantation, an antebellum rice plantation built in the 19th century. One of the original owners, John Green, was buried on the property in the old community graveyard that now lies to the left of No. 13. The main house still stands between the 11th and 12th holes; it has undergone renovations but the original foundation remains.

Blackmoor was named the 2001-2002 "Myrtle Beach Golf Course of the Year" by the Myrtle Beach Golf Course Owners Association based on quality of management, course maintenance, contribution to the community and significant contribution to the game. Golfers will find that customer service is a point of emphasis for all Blackmoor employees.

"One thing that Blackmoor is known for is our high level of customer service," Stevens said. "Our staff treats each and every golfer like a member of the club. Golfers remember how they are treated almost as much as the golf experience. When you combine our great facilities with the personal attention that the golfers receive, it's no wonder that golfers return to Blackmoor Golf Club year after year."

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