Gary Player's Blackmoor Golf Club south of Myrtle Beach, S.C. is a dogleg bonanza
MURRELLS INLET, S.C. -- Blackmoor Golf Club is a must play in the Myrtle Beach area. It's creative, well maintained and extremely friendly. Everyone does a little of everything. An assistant golf professional was working the bag drop, while another was working the counter. Seniority doesn't determine who does what. It rotates.
Out on the golf course, the same do-whatever-it-takes efforts prevail. The fairways are lush, while the greens are smooth and fast.
Gary Player's only Myrtle Beach-area golf course starts out with a par 4 with a bit of a marsh carry (nothing to worry about) and a wide fairway. From there, it's up to an elevated green that is fronted by two large bunkers. Piece of cake.
The second hole is a par 3 with a wall of bunkers behind it, and the third is a par 5 that goes down, then up a valley with a marsh carry at its floor. The fourth is a par 3 with a huge alligator that suns next to the front tees. Yes, he's real no matter what your so-called buddies tell you. The alligator does not like to be petted but would like your arm for dinner.
The sixth is an open hole with a spine running down the middle of the fairway and spokes emanating from the green that prevent any attempts of a bump and run.
The best hole at Blackmoor Golf Club, heck, for miles around, is the split eighth. Go right around a woods and turn right to get to the green. Or, shave off 80 yards and go right for the green through a chute that was recently tamed. Scores of trees were removed and waist-high vegetation cut back. Going that route isn't as punishing as it was a few years ago, but it's still risky.
The personality of the back nine is a little sassier. The 11th is contoured with a large tree in the left third of the fairway and a ridge past it that feeds anything left of center toward the woods. The green slopes the same way, so if you're coming in from the right, your ball probably won't stop on the green.
The last half of the golf course has a big collection of right doglegs, including 12, 13, 14 and 16.
The par-3 15th is a memorable hole. The green is below the tees, across a marsh area and fronted by a sharp slope that will deflect short shots into the marsh. If you drift right, there are three really deep bunkers ready to snag your ball.
The final hole is a par 5 that bends left to a green with a pond on the right and a few mounds and swales to keep things a little uncertain. It's a nice conclusion to a really fun golf course.
Player's stamp is on this links-style course adorned with swales and mounds. He added more elevation changes and a few blind approaches if caught on the wrong side. For example, No. 16 has a huge arrow about 30 feet up on a tree pointing to the green if you want to try to go for the green.
"It's a shot-makers' course," said Brian Lewis, assistant golf professional at Blackmoor Golf Club.
His favorite holes are the split-fairway eighth and the 14th because you can cut the corner, bunkers and hills be damned. Same for that water on the far side.
Lewis says Blackmoor can compete with any top-end course on the Grand Strand, except for price. It falls far, far short of the change they seek.
Crews felled about 2,000 trees last winter to open up the course to how it played when it opened 20 years ago.
The course is built on what was once a rice plantation and includes a 19th century cemetery. Blackmoor earned four and a half stars from Golf Digest and was the 2001 Myrtle Beach Golf Course of the Year.
"You've got to hit some shots," Bob Hurbster said. "You've got to position them."
Blackmoor Golf Club: The verdict
Even against some tough competition along the Grand Strand, Blackmoor shines because of the variety of holes, the mental effort required and the steady temptation to go for it. It's in stellar shape and offers excellent service inside and out. It really surpasses expectations.