There is no real norm when it comes to South Carolina golf along the Grand Strand.
Courses strive to find something all their own to set themselves apart from all the competition. The ones that do that successfully have found lasting legacies.
The microcosm of that can be found in even more finite detail. Some tracks have individual holes that stand out all their own. They don’t match their brethren under the same umbrella, and in many ways, some of them even go so far as to ensure their properties from being typecast as having only one true M.O.
These are some of the aces up their sleeves.
For the most part, nearly every one of Arrowhead’s 27 holes are influenced by water, sand or a whole bunch of both. Try explaining on arguably the toughest hole on the whole property has neither affecting much of anything. One stop removed from the infamous fifth that plays alongside the Intracoastal Waterway, No. 7 is a dry dogleg left set atop a rolling fairway. The green looks monstrous from a distance, and only upon closer inspection does the two-tiered set-up become visible.
The sand-heavy design at Founders Club is always going to be somewhat in play. But on the 511-yard par-5 No. 12, the sandwiching waste bunkers/cart paths that run up either side are almost inconsequential. Instead, roughly half of one of the course’s biggest fairways is split up the middle by three heavily mounded ridges, the latter two including several smaller bunkers. The ridge creates an upper and lower fairway feel. And beyond those is a pond cutting off the fairway from final approach and green.
Varying degrees of difficulty dot the rest of Glen Dornoch’s first 17 holes. On the finisher, designer Clyde Johnston threw the kitchen sink at players. Regardless of which of the five tees utilized, everyone must clear at least one (and as many as three) different wetland slivers off the Intracoastal Waterway that cut the fairway into multiple sections. Sixteen bunkers further break up the final half of the hole, with about half of them protecting a long, slender green.
The West Course is known as one of the straightest in all of the area. And while it has three other minor doglegs built in, none of them are as drastically noticeable as that at No. 12. Playing no longer than 374 yards, anyone who pulls the driver out of the bag here is immediately playing with fire. The 80-degree bend is protected by a pair of bunkers on either side of the fairway, meaning falling short trying to cut any part of the corner or driving through it puts players of all skill levels into dangerous territory.
Aptly called “The Shortest Par 5 on the Grand Strand”, the first par 3 on the back nine of Jack Nicklaus’ design here is sneakily evil. The average player is going to attack a green bulkheaded from the marsh on three sides from just 69 yards. Simple, right? Not a chance. The swirling winds, depth issues from nothing immediately beyond the green and each player’s own mental insecurities turn this cub into a full-grown golden bear.