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|There's no chastising the greens for missed putts at the exceptionally-conditioned Dunes Golf & Beach Club. (Brandon Tucker/WorldGolf.com)|
Listen up, masters of the putting game who visit the Grand Strand for your annual golf vacation:
You may have been taken to the cleaners by your long-driving buddies on some of the Myrtle Beach golf courses that don't test the many facets of the short game as much as you'd have liked.
Now its time for payback. Book your group at a golf course where the greens are the real show, up the ante, and take no prisoners.
Some Grand Strand greens require a little more savvy than the rest. If you're looking for a golf course that will put your group's flat sticks to the test, try out one of these five courses that boast some of the area's best, and most challenging greens.
Legends Golf Group mogul Danny Young designed Oyster Bay Golf Links with course architect Dan Maples, and those familiar with the sloping greens at the Heritage Club (another Legends course) will be in for the same test here. Oyster Bay features not only some of the area's best marsh scenery but some of the most diabolically sloping greens along the coast.
The TifEagle Bermuda greens are kept slightly on the slower side as a result, otherwise they'd be practically unplayable.
Like True Blue in Pawleys Island, there's even a hole here with alternate left-and-right greens, so be sure you're firing at a green with a flag on it - otherwise that'll make one difficult two-putt.
When you miss a putt at the Dunes Golf & Beach Club, arguably Myrtle Beach's most coveted round of golf, you've got no one to blame but yourself. Because this prestigious club is semi-private, rounds are kept down compared to some of the other clubs that rely solely on tourist play, and it means there will be little chances of spike marks or pitch marks sabotaging your roll.
Rees Jones' oversaw a renovation of this classic Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed course from the 1940s, one of Myrtle's oldest, and a big part of the upgrade was the installation of faster, A1 bentgrass greens. Keep this in mind and play your approach shots and chip shots below the hole.
Putting is loads of fun on Barefoot Resort's Fazio Course, thanks to smooth, usually lightning-fast A-1 bentgrass greens. That's the good part. What's tricky is that Tom Fazio loves his bulldozers, and the greens, with their sheer size, can be difficult to read because its harder to ever feel level on them. Fazio's shaping is usually more gradual, unlike Pete Dye's often sharp tiers and ridges, so seemingly insignificant breaks can end up being severe, and vice-versa.
Critics of the late course designer Mike Strantz say that his greens, while original, don't fit the design of his holes all that often. Whether you appreciate the artistic beauty or loathe the sometimes-bizarre designs of them, you'll be awestruck by the imaginative complexes at True Blue Golf Plantation. Even better, the TifEagle Bermuda turf is kept in firm and fast condition most times of year. No green is like the other here, so give each putt its due diligence.
The A.W. Tillinghast-inspired raised greens at Shaftesbury Glen Golf & Fish Club are difficult to hit and guarded by large bunkers. They're also usually very large in nature, so lag-putting is a premium. They aren't the most sloping greens in Myrtle Beach like Oyster Bay or Heritage Club, but the A1 bentgrass greens are kept in firm and fast condition and the slopes are subtle, so be sure to get in your Camilo Villegas "Spiderman" crouch and get your read down right.
December 10, 2009
Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. 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. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker.
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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