Settle your bets on one of Myrtle Beach's toughest golf courses from the tips
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- Your foursome has one day left on the Grand Strand -- and plenty of scores to settle.
After a few rounds of friendly golf, bets have gone back and forth. And even though you think your game is the best, your wallet doesn't show it. Not yet.
The others in your foursome have gotten away with some luck on easier Myrtle Beach golf courses: Jimmy's course management is Mickelson-esque, Brad's short game is begging for a little pressure, and Pete's two-way miss with the driver is a snowman waiting to happen on any tee box.
You're the player in the group, and you've got one final day to prove it. Here are some Grand Strand golf courses that will settle the bets and send you home victorious.
Barefoot Resort's Dye Course: One of two Pete Dye-designed golf courses along the Grand Strand, the Dye course at Barefoot Resort won't disappoint any visitors looking to get beat up a little by the notorious Dye. The course is loaded with visual intimidation: hundreds of bunkers, water, awkward-looking humps and bumps. The closing stretch is typical of Dye's TPC designs with little room to miss. The long par-3 17th has trouble all around a tiny green, and the 18th hole is a brawny par 4 with sand right and water left.
The back tees can play up to 7,343 yards and a 75.3/139 slope/rating.
True Blue Plantation: This golf course may have been softened since its original design, but that doesn't stop it from maintaining one of Myrtle Beach's most infamous reputations as a unique but daring course. Mike Strantz designed True Blue to be unlike anything else on the beach. His greens are especially imaginative, and some of the more narrow greens can be tough to hit -- and even tougher to get up and down from if you're in the wrong spot.
If your tee ball is a little off, don't worry. True Blue has some of the area's widest fairways. But there is also virtually no rough -- just waste area, so keep your eye down the middle.
Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club: Jack Nicklaus has two Grand Strand designs, and we give the nod to Pawleys Plantation over Long Bay G.C. because it's a tougher course off the tee and the marsh holes are intimidating, especially the short par-3 13th. Big numbers can be had on many holes, thanks to plenty of out of bounds and water hazards. Some trees are even placed in the fairways to require ball shaping, which is something to think about when you're warming up on the range.
TPC Myrtle Beach: Sometimes, the TPC brand and amenities alone can be enough to psych out the goat track-frequenting duffer, and the TPC Myrtle Beach rolls out the red carpet to those willing to take its test. The club is kept in tour-worthy condition, and the design was worthy of hosting the Senior Tour Championship. That means no one will be able to make excuses on the fast, smooth greens.
The Tom Fazio design features doglegs cut through dense wetlands and hardwoods, plenty of water carries and trouble. Great ball-strikers will salivate on the 18th tee, a reachable par 5. But it's not for the faint of heart, with trouble lining the fairway and surrounding the green.
Moorland Course at Legends Golf & Resort: P.B. Dye designed the Moorland course at Legends with the PGA West Stadium course in mind. To do so, he loaded the target-style Moorland course with deep bunkers and elevated greens, large waste bunkers and water. Even though it's length is less than 6,800 yards from the back tees, trouble is a threat on most shots, so consult your course guide.
Rivers Edge Golf Club: Located along the Shallotte River and dense woods, Rivers Edge G.C. puts a premium on accuracy off the tee. And at just less than 7,000 yards, you'll need to hit plenty of drivers, too. The ninth hole is especially risky, and first-time players here might want to use caution. But even if you lay up, your approach shot is played to one of the Grand Strand's skinniest, peninsula greens. The many pitfalls explain the 149 championship slope.
Rivers Edge is enjoying a resurgence after replacing its greens with paspalum, so expect true rolls on the dance floor.
March 21, 2011