Myrtle Beach National's Southcreek golf course: More than just a solid primer
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- Mike Cancio's recent trip to the Grand Strand included a visit to Myrtle Beach National's Southcreek golf course.
And after playing 10 or so holes, he was ready to sign up for the replay. The picturesque course between Myrtle Beach and Conway, S.C. had grabbed his attention, and he and his son wanted more.
"We don't play on many courses this pristine," said Cancio, a northern Virginia resident.
In reality, Cancio and his son -- also named Mike -- didn't need the first nine holes to understand what they wanted to do in the afternoon. After an early morning check-in and some time on the prep spots, Cancio was just about already sold.
"When I first came in, they were very laid back; they didn't rush it," he said. "They were very helpful. [Then] I called from the course to set up another tee time. They were very helpful. ... 'What do you want? You want this, this?'
"Before we played, we were putting here and chipping here. This is beautiful. We chipped, and we putted, only hit a few on the driving range. But this was our first picture, father and son coming down here and taking a picture, standing on the [putting] green. It was a panoramic view."
As for the golf course itself, Southcreek only added to it for the Cancios. Frustration was held to a minimum.
And that's one of the perks Myrtle Beach National often promotes.
Southcreek at Myrtle Beach National: The golf course
At a hair over 6,400 yards from the back tees, Southcreek isn't a course built to accommodate the long hitters.
The Arnold Palmer-designed 18 has been praised by national publications for its attractiveness to older golfers and women. But don't mistake any of that for an easy course, Head Professional Michael Burnside said.
"It has some strategy to it," he said. "It has some doglegs to it. We have some junior tournaments out there, and they don't tear it up out there. You have to keep it straight."
Cancio found that out on one of the last holes on the front nine.
With a blind dogleg right off the tee box on hole No. 7, Cancio watched as his drive faded toward the tree line and small pond blocking the view of the green.
On his second shot, he needed a miniature golf-like bounce off the cart path bridge to save him from losing his ball.
"If I had known how to play the hole, I think I would have scored better on it when I got up on the hole," Cancio said.
Cancio's ball-saving ricochet isn't the norm. However, with water in play on only six holes (five from the ladies' tees) and the brush underlying most of the tree lines relatively open, average golfers aren't going to have to use too many drops.
Or, more importantly, suffer the frustration of going back to the bag time and time again.
"It's not like you're losing a half-dozen balls when you're out there," Burnside said. "You're not going to be beat to a pulp. There aren't any 440-yard par 4s with two ponds."
The only major critique of the course is the variation of the sand traps.
On any back-to-back trips to the hazards, golfers may find the first laced with professional-grade sand that gives a true bunker shot while the next is suffering from moisture, giving it the feel of hitting off wet dirt.
That problem is something the course is striving to remedy, as drainage issues -- specifically on holes 10 and 16 -- have caused problems throughout the years. Myrtle Beach National has recently done major repairs on both holes.
The other recent renovation came three years ago, when the Southcreek greens were overseeded with a Bermuda mix. It makes the destinations for every hole ultra-fast, but also about as true as any course in the area.
Myrtle Beach National: Facilities and golf instruction
Myrtle Beach National has a large driving range, putting green and chipping area located alongside a full-service clubhouse, complete with a bar and grill with a full menu of food and drink options.
Once on the course, full restrooms, water fountains and beverage carts were readily available on both nines.
Golf instruction is limited almost entirely to individual sessions, with Assistant Professional Ryan Roddy taking on most of that responsibility.
Southcreek at Myrtle Beach National: The verdict
And while it may be the easiest and shortest of the three, Southcreek is certainly entertaining all on its own.
It's promoted as a course for mid-range hitters. You'll have plenty of opportunities to use the driver, but the work with the other clubs in the bag is what is going to be your make-or-break scenario.
That quaint feel and recent improvements have kept Southcreek a popular Myrtle Beach golf course nearly 40 years after it was originally constructed.
March 9, 2011