Story by Ian Guerin
Watch as many Sunday showdowns on television as you like, and dream about that one time you almost hit the exact type of shot.
You’re not fooling anyone.
Come to grips with your own abilities (or lack thereof) and set your sights on courses built just for you, Joe Golfer. These may not be PGA Tour worthy, but that doesn’t mean a sacrifice of a quality golf experience, either. These tracks will allow you to build some confidence, get a few nice scores along the way and not leave you wanting to dump your clubs into some back-nine pond.
Want to know how we know? Most of us are right there with you, scratching that duffer’s itch.
Meadowlands Golf Club, Calabash
With so much concentration frequently focused on a hole’s look from the tee box, players seldom pay attention to what the backside presents. That’s where even halfway decent putters can make their mark at Meadowlands.
Oversized greens are an attractive quality considering the round measures less than 6,600 yards for anyone this story relates to. It gives players the opportunity to go after more greens with less risk.
Combined with a wide-open design, and there is plenty of room for error on nearly all of the par 4s and 5s here.
Colonial Charters Golf Club, Longs
The trick at the recently re-opened Colonial Charters is getting through the first hole unscathed. The 526-yard par 5 is the longest on the front nine by 20-30 yards, depending on the tees, and it is also the maybe the most daunting part of the 2013 re-opening, with water up the left side and a thick tree line up the right.
But finish with a bogey and the rest of the par-71 round can shape up quite nicely. First-time visitors can reasonably expect to shave a few strokes off their average. Repeat players can start challenging their personal bests.
Possum Trot Golf Club, North Myrtle Beach (pictured, left)
This course didn’t make the list simply because of its high-quality teaching facility (although that didn’t hurt). Frankly, Possum Trot plays to its strengths, even advertising itself as the “Friendliest Course on the Strand”, as well as a “warm-up” course before taking on bigger challenges.
The 18 holes here back up those claims. Hazards can mostly be avoided with conservative play and the landing zones off the tee are wide throughout. It all adds up to a round can be played at an absurdly fast pace because of the straightforward design and conditions crafted for the high handicapper.
West Course at Myrtle Beach National, Myrtle Beach
The hole description for No. 4 says it all. No secrets here.
One of the two on-site little brothers of King’s North has five doglegs, a considerable amount of water on the back nine and some hefty tree lines left from the Carolina Pines that once dominated the area. However, all of that looks less scary in person.
What’s also nice about West Course is that its two most challenging holes - a pair of straight-line par 4s at Nos. 5 and 15 - come after you’ve found a bit of a groove.
The Palmetto Course at Myrtlewood Golf Club, Myrtle Beach
Be it a single-day package with its on-site sister course PineHills or those who double up with an outside property, it stands to reason that Myrtlewood’s Palmetto Course should come first. With three par 4s stacked at the beginning of the round, nothing more than 389 yards for the first five holes and little in terms of elevation differences, it starts smooth and stays that way throughout.
Much of that can be attributed to the original design from 1966, when mid-level courses weren’t packed into sardine cans. Only a handful of holes can be seen from another, so you can focus on the task at hand.