Wachesaw Plantation East golf course near Myrtle Beach: Still in pro-tour form
MURRELLS INLET, S.C. -- One can almost hear the crowds and sense the galleries at Wachesaw Plantation East, the site of four LPGA tournaments from 1997 to 2000.
The golf course, on the south end of the Grand Strand near Myrtle Beach, remains in tournament condition with lush fairways and smooth greens. The Clyde Johnston design tests your skills with an array of mounds, swales and bunkers, giving the course a Scottish ambiance.
"This course suits everyone because of all of the tees," said Kevin Frick, assistant professional. "It has the visual of being tight, but it's really not."
Five tees break up the 6,933-yard course, which plays 6,297 yards from the whites and 4,995 yards from the front tees. From the tips it rates a 73.8 with a 138 slope.
Because there are some formidable, creative challenges on the course from which you'll have to extract yourself, assume a four-and-a-half-hour round.
The golf course starts with two Carolina holes with marsh carries from the tees. The first is a dogleg left to a green protected with mounds and undulations. Before you get there, however, a mess of bunkers await at the far corner in case you misjudge distance on your drive. The second hole is a dogleg right.
Wachesaw Plantation East's third hole is one of the most interesting on the course. It's a very tight par 5 with a marsh carry about 150 yards from the green as well as a ridge about 70 yards from the green to reject any attempts at bump-and-run approaches.
The next hole, a par 3, requires you to land your downhill shot on the green. Anything short will be bounced back into a marsh area, and anything long falls off a steep hill off the back of the green. The hole is short, 145 yards from the whites, but it's scrappy.
The sixth hole is called "Narrow" for a reason. The fairway is a railway atop a drop-off right and a roll into the woods left. You might want to keep the driver in the bag for this one.
The ninth hole is another memorable hole that requires you to come up with a plan right from the start. A bank of bunkers on the far side of a dogleg right checks your distance and a drop-off on the right will dump balls into water. The offset green is fraught with bunkers on the near side, so a left approach is highly recommended.
Wachesaw Plantation East saves some of the best holes for last. The 16th, a par 4, squeezes the fairway to near nothingness about 100 yards in with a huge waste bunker right with water past it to the offset green. There are a few more bunkers far right of the green for really, really errant shots. The green has some wild slopes, so pin placement is key.
No. 17 is a tough hole, with a recessed ditch and crazy mounds angled across the front of the green. The fairway is raised, so errant shots right will tumble into the woods.
Frick said No. 18 is the signature hole.
"It's challenging off the tee, with water in front," he said. There is no fairway between 100 yards and just short of the green, which has a bunker wrapping around the left side with bank of bunkers in the back.
Ken Francis plays from the tips.
"It's always windy, so that makes it longer," said Francis, who likes No. 17 because he'll always remember watching Annika Sorenstam knock it in the hole from 100 yards out during a practice round.
"The greens are always in good condition," he said.
Francis also enjoys the deck with an outdoor bar and grill overlooking the course.
Wachesaw Plantation East: The verdict
Wachesaw Plantation East has many memorable holes, including the par-4 17th with Scottish-like contours that bully a creek back and forth in front of the green. The hazards are perfectly positioned to capture an errant shot but let a good one go past. It's a fair, fun course in excellent shape that retains its professional tournament aura.
April 27, 2011