Story by Ian Guerin
While not every track is built for children, more than a fair share of those located on South Carolina’s Grand Strand hold all the necessary components for a day with your budding youngster golfer.
Influenced by architecture, environment and personality, some are just better than others.
So whether you’re trying to find a new way to connect with your offspring or watching him or her surpass your abilities with the sticks, make sure you’re not walking onto any old course with expectations of perfect accommodations.
The following are among our favorites for teeing it up under those circumstances. All include either a year-round “Kids play free” or at the very least a hefty junior discount.
ABERDEEN COUNTRY CLUB, LONGS
Following nearly four months of re-construction and renovations after the effects of Hurricane Matthew, Aberdeen Country Club on the north end of the Grand Strand is re-opening to much of the same expectations it had before the storm. Tom Jackson’s 27-hole design has several combinations for different skill levels, with the Highlands and Meadows nines serving as the easiest. Not so surprisingly, those two are going to serve as the widest of the three with fewer natural hazards.
BLACKMOOR GOLF CLUB
When Gary Player designed this course around club selection, it forced average adult golfers to expand their game some. There is no formulaic approach to any back-to-back holes at Blackmoor - something that was sort of Player’s calling card during his professional career. Simultaneously, this course won’t necessarily beat up younger players either. Some recently cleared tree lines added more forgiving landing zones for shorter hitters and prompted more parent-child visits to an already friendly course.
MYRTLE BEACH NATIONAL, SOUTHCREEK COURSE
Arnold Palmer was a wee bit nicer with his design at the SouthCreek Course when compared with his neighboring King’s North. The challenges here are heavily back-loaded toward the back tees. That means this track, frequently applauded by women and senior’s groups, also works well for youngsters given its quality turf, relatively open look and a solid flow from one hole to the next.
THE WITCH GOLF COURSE
The beauty of The Witch is two-fold when talking about juniors taking their crack at it. For starters, the course can play as short as 4,800 yards, a considerable change of approximately 30 percent from the 6,800-yard championships. Maybe more importantly - given most courses levy added distance-specific tee options now - is the lack of housing on and around the property. It could be all the difference in the world for an up-and-coming player still trying to find some confidence in the game without added distractions.
WILD WING GOLF PLANTATION
The quickest way to discourage a youngster’s game is to ask him/her to do too much. Nine times out of 10, that can be eliminated by cutting down on distance. And while tee recognition and selection is crucial in that regard, so, too, can be the number of holes. Some kids aren’t built for four consecutive hours. The glory of Wild Wing is that it’s Hummingbird nine, cut from what was formerly three additional 18-hole courses, offers a milder round without sacrificing quality of play. Or, if things are going really well and everyone is up to it, Hummingbird can serve as a nice add-on to the full Avocet course.