Perfectly played and laid: Holes that shape golf in Myrtle Beach

By Ian Guerin, Contributor

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- With so many golf courses to choose from, it should be of little surprise that South Carolina's Grand Strand also has some extremely quirky holes.

Myrtle Beach National - King's North - no. 6
The sixth hole on Myrtle Beach National's King's North golf course, AKA "The Gambler."
Myrtle Beach National - King's North - no. 6Barefoot Resort & Golf - Love Course - 4thGlen Dornoch Waterway Golf Links - 18th teeFarmstead Golf Links - 18th hole
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From stone walls meant to look centuries old to a distance that makes you feel that way, from the ultimate risk-reward to somehow avoiding the visual rewards of the area's "other" body of water, four holes have helped shape Myrtle Beach golf.

They're just one portion of already successful tracks. But all by their lonesome, they draw players and create memories while adding a certain flair to the game.

King's North at Myrtle Beach National, no. 6

When Texans hear "The Gambler," they think Kenny Rogers' famed song about poker. The same phrase means something entirely different to the Myrtle Beach golf community.

The sixth hole at Myrtle Beach National's King's North Course is as much risk-reward as the game has to offer. The only chance at an eagle for 95 percent of players on this 568-yard par 5 is via an island landing-area to the left of the primary fairway.

Approximately 100 yards long and anywhere from 30 percent-40 percent as wide, those who find this strip off the tee box have a shot at the green in two with either a fairway wood or long iron. And while local divers pull their share of balls out of the water there, the next shot is nearly as viable for that business.

Three sides of the green are surrounded by water, with a large bunker and mound on the back side supplying (by comparison) the safe haven for a secondary miss.

Glen Dornoch Waterway Golf Links, no. 18

Blind tee shots and split fairways aren't all that uncommon to the game. Neither are significant wetlands.

But combine those with one of the busiest portions of South Carolina's Intercoastal Waterway, and the challenge of putting aside all the distractions becomes that much greater. Glen Dornoch Waterway Golf Links' finishing hole demands precision from start to finish.

That's because the 367-yard par 4 (from the whites, 455 from the championships) requires multiple choices along the way.

From the tee box, big hitters can take a shot at the longer fairway -- something that more often than not turns into a mistake -- all the while avoiding multiple sections of wet lands. For the more patient, a secondary fairway juts off to the right. However, go long there, and more water, a sand trap and a busy tree line affects the next shot.

As if that wasn't enough, there's always a chance of an oversized barge, casino boat or pack of jet skis cruising up and down the Waterway.

Barefoot Resort Love Course, no. 4

The Love Course at Barefoot Resort got its share of run in the fall of 2014 when it was heavily featured on the Golf Channel's reality show "Big Break Myrtle Beach."

That meant plenty of time in the spotlight for the ruins.

Actually designed (and built) into the course upon its opening in 2000, the imitated brick facades are a visual gem. They serve as the backdrop for the 280-yard par 4, lending a touch of depth-perception issues along the way.

Regardless, it's next to impossible to end up where the Big Break contingent started during one of the show's episodes. It was then that they were asked to chip through an open window onto the green.

If you do end up there, snap a couple photos, pick up your ball and move on to the next hole.

Farmstead Golf Links, no. 18

As a whole, Farmstead Golf Links is already a bit quirky. The course's 18 holes fall on both sides of the North Carolina-South Carolina state line, leaving players going from one to the other, usually without knowing it.

That goes for the final hole of the day, as well.

Because the layout was not as clear-cut as most, no. 18 was crafted into a monster hole that plays as long as 767 yards from the blacks. Even the ladies are asked to traverse 635 yards.

The tee boxes start in South Carolina, and the Grand Strand's only par 6 brings players back to the clubhouse in the Tar Heel State.

Ian GuerinIan Guerin, Contributor

Ian Guerin is a freelance writer and DJ living in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He's decent with the driver and putter; it's everything else in the bag that gives him trouble. Follow Ian on Twitter at @iguerin.

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