Story By Ian Guerin
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | Not all that long ago, we took a look at the courses along South Carolina’s Grand Strand golf mecca that favored the big hitters. It wouldn’t be fair to not give you guys and gals who are adept at the short game your shot, too. So here goes. The following are five of our favorite courses where strong play with the mid- and short irons is not only going to make up for a fair share of mistakes, but probably going to give you a real opportunity to shine.
BAREFOOT RESORT & GOLF DYE CLUB
Pete Dye enjoyed putting his stamp all over this one, what with the punishing results for bad play. He did that off the tee, of course at Dye Club. But what he also accomplished was to craft a trend of greens that even when not considered small were anything but easy. The larger ones are undulated and fierce, so much so that three-putting is quite common and four strokes with the flat stick is not unheard of. It ensures that the final approach shot better be on point.
FOUNDERS CLUB AT PAWLEYS ISLAND
It takes all of one hole at Founders Club to appreciate the shooting technique from the American Revolutionary War flick “The Patriot”. Aim small, miss small is sage advice here, as fairways drop off the table into massive waste bunkers and greenside fringe zones slope into various arrays of a no-man’s land. And for those who find all that sand, getting up and out - without finding more - is a huge step toward scoring chances.
PRESTWICK COUNTRY CLUB
Pete and P.B. Dye teamed up and made sure their family name would be remembered at Prestwick. Opened in 1989 and touched up along the way to accentuate the finer points, players have no choice but to rise to the challenge in the final yardage of every hole. It builds to the last six, where four of the greens are lined or protected by water and ready to add two or three strokes to the scorecard.
TPC OF MYRTLE BEACH
Among the challenges of playing uphill and worrying about so many other issues is blind bunker placement. Given that Tom Fazio designed TPC Myrtle Beach with the idea of hosting high-end events, that challenge make even more sense. Truly, this course is one in which consulting a yardage book is wise and attempting to think through every hole before putting the tee in the ground is required. Don’t go in believing you can wing it, because the late-hole shots are where Fazio went to work.
TRUE BLUE GOLF CLUB
There certainly aren’t many courses in the Myrtle Beach area that stress short-game proficiency more than True Blue. Take the eye-popping par-4 No. 6, for example. The dual-greened hole chases a forced carry off the tee by asking players to navigate mirrored, bunker-sandwiched approach zones and tiered greens (yes, there are two greens). Even though that hole is the extreme, by that point you’re going to have a real good idea of what the final two-thirds of the course is going to present over and over.