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|The par-5 finishing hole at the River Club wraps around water, giving you several possible routes. (Courtesy of Myrtle Beach National)|
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- The best part of Myrtle Beach is the variety of golf courses, even holes within them.
But which holes will you remember as some of the toughest? It's subjective, but here are nine holes on the South Strand that will put your game to the test.
River Club, No. 18: The final hole at the River Club wraps around water, giving you several possible routes: Safely to the right, avoiding the water but having to cover all 518 yards or flying a ball over the corner to cheat some distance. Of course, if you're really brave, try to land on a peninsula that can make this reachable in two.
"A lot of people go for it and that can lead to either many birdies or many bogeys," said Head Professional Christa Bodensteiner. "If played right, you can cut across the water twice, but that's two chances to splash. That hole brings people back."
Willbrook Plantation, No. 18: Several golf professionals in the area consider the finishing hole at Willbrook Plantation one of the hardest on the South Strand.
"To see a tree right in front of you from the tee is quite a way to start a hole," said Bob Seganti, head professional at True Blue Golf Plantation. "It's a tight fairway and you have to avoid trees from your drive to your approach."
Pawleys Plantation, No. 16: The 16th hole at Pawleys Plantation is a tough dogleg left. Your drive has to be on the right or a big tree will block out your approach. The fairway narrows in front of a green protected on the short side by a marsh and bunker and marsh to the rear.
"It's long from the back tees -- 450 yards," said Head Professional Riley Kinlaw. "It has OB right and left off the tee, plus trees and it goes out to marsh. You have to carry the marsh to a two-tiered green with a bunker wrapped around it. If you can hook it hard, you can avoid marsh, but not many people have that shot."
TPC Myrtle Beach, No. 9: The ninth hole at TPC Myrtle Beach is uphill to an elevated green.
"You have to hit it long off the tee to get to the green," said Head Professional Casey Cook. "Our greens play a little faster than other courses on the beach, and that's what makes that hole so tough. It's hard to get the ball to stop."
Blackmoor Golf Club, No. 8: The signature hole at Blackmoor Golf Club offers you two clear choices: Go left to a wide fairway or spare yourself 100 yards by going right down a 30-yard-wide chute over high rough.
"It's more exciting than tough," said Head Professional Matt Daly. "It's a great risk-reward hole. It's one of the tightest tee shots out here."
Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, No. 16: "It's a tough driving hole with an elevated tee to a dogleg right with three bunkers on the right and a deep bunker on the left," said Todd Welden, head professional, about the 16th hole at Caledonia Golf & Fish Club. "The one on the left is so deep, you can't get to the green, which is fronted by water. If you're in one of the bunkers on the right you can't get to the green either because you'll be blocked by trees."
The International Club, No. 15: The 15th hole at The International Club bends right around water, then drifts left to an elevated green fronted by a huge, deep bunker. "It's long -- 406 yards from the whites," said Richie King, assistant professional. "It's a narrow tee shot with water right and OB on the left. The green is elevated, with bunkers in front and left, and it drops off in the back. It's a tough green to hit."
True Blue Golf Plantation, No. 3: The third hole at True Blue Golf Plantation is nearly an island green.
"It's the intimidation factor," said True Blue Head Professional Bob Seganti. "You have to carry it to the green, and there are several tee placements and angles. It's an hourglass green, it's bunkered all the way around and you have prevailing wind in your face. You don't have a lot of green surface to land on. The farther back, the easier it is. We have a drop area near the green, so you can salvage your score. It's unusual to have a round wrecker so soon in your game."
Heritage Club, No. 13: "It's a 175-yard carry over water and that's from the white tees," said Gary Johnson, head professional, about the 13th hole at the Heritage Club. "If the pin's in the back, you're looking at 200 yards with the prevailing wind in your face. Oh, and it's a nearly island green, with bunkers around it and a hump in the middle. If you land on the front and the pin is in the back, you're looking at a three-putt. Some people chip it from there. People complain about this hole, but they love it. It's really a love-hate hole."
So, if you're looking for a tough nine, it might require a little travel, but these challenges on Myrtle Beach's South Strand would make the effort worthwhile.
August 1, 2011
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.
Finding a golf course to play in the Sarasota/Bradenton area 45 miles south of Tampa is easy. World-ranked beaches, European-style boutique shopping and al fresco dining, and a fantastic circus museum are just a few of the choices available for off-course entertainment.
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