Story by Ian Guerin
We’ve all had those days where the par 5s just seem longer.
Maybe it’s the heat, a bit too much fun the night before or you’re just not feeling it. Either way, the strokes aren’t shaving off the big dogs quite like you hoped. A few of the longer holes on the Grand Strand may leave you feeling that way regardless of your mental or physical state.
We call them “The Monsters.”
While the 581 yards here technically only apply to those playing the Tournament tees, the intimidating feel remains for those utilizing the Championships or even the Members. That’s because laying into a true drive or even a second shot isn’t wise.
The hole bends slightly around some sand and trees up the right-hand side. More sand and a steep hill lines the left.
Even if you’ve played it smart through the first two shots, a narrowing fairway leading into a tight, elevated green awaits.
All but four holes at River Hills have water in play. The course’s longest is no different.
The 572-yarder starts with a stream just off the right of the tee boxes. It then cuts in front and snakes to the left side, where it continues until it reaches the back of the green.
That blue tint contrasts with all the green - in this case, a tight tree line all the way up the right side. The skinny design of the hole leaves almost no room for error left or right of center.
Let’s take the gambling part of “The Gambler” out of the mix. Because for as much as everyone would love to land their tee shot on the island fairway and then plunk the second shot next to the pin, it’s not right approach for everyone.
The traditional route, though, is still a bit of a bear. A lean landing area off the tee is protected by water and sand. The target area for the second shot is more of the same, with a hooked green plunging back into the realm of all that water. It’s why many repeat players choose to roll the dice.
The finisher at River Club certainly won’t be the longest hole on this list, but it’s packing an imposing 518 yards.
Point A-to-point B here wraps around a pond, making reaching the green in two next to impossible for anyone other than the more skilled golfers. But while there is a bit of a harsh design, it also shapes up as one of the more exciting last holes in the area. Barring a big-time second shot, most will have an approach to the green protected by water in front and sand in back.
How do you put a list together of this ilk without including a bi-state hole?
Farmstead’s finisher is the area’s lone par 6, one that measures an eye-popping 767 yards from the back tees. For reference, it is more than four times the length of the par 3 directly before it.
The tees, set in South Carolina, require you to play up the right side for a long drive and then a long fairway wood. By that point, hopefully you’ve avoided the pond on the left - and crossed back into North Carolina as you inch closer to the green.