Story by Ian Guerin
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | Being good with the irons is one thing. Not having to worry about sucking it up with the driver is another. For as many of the 90 or so courses up and down South Carolina’s Grand Strand force players to be adept with the big stick, there are a few where it all but doesn’t matter. Guys and gals who are even somewhat decent with a fairway wood or long irons can shelf the driver with confidence.
On these five courses, scoring has little or nothing to do with distance.
BURNING RIDGE GOLF CLUB
First-time players reading this and then playing at Burning Ridge would call us liars. The opener is a 546-yard bear (from the whites, 571 from the back tees). No. 18 is also a 500-yard-plus hole for those playing from the whites or blacks. Still, the 16 holes in between are what this course is really about. Three of the par 4s (Nos. 6, 13 and 14) include 80-plus-degree doglegs at the midway point and three others have bunkers halfway up the fairway.
INDIAN WELLS GOLF CLUB
By itself, knowing Indian Wells plays from less than 6,300 yards from the whites isn’t going to let folks know that this course fits the bill. Experience will tell you just that. Indian Wells not only allows golfers to ease up on the driver, it inspires the practice. The Gene Hamm design features doglegs, water on 14 of the 18 holes (including six fairway-cutting streams) and a few where large tree lines funnel tee shots.
MYRTLE BEACH NATIONAL SOUTHCREEK COURSE
When SouthCreek is routinely honored as a great course for seniors and women, that doesn’t mean any other demographic should avoid it. Rather, the shortest of the three on-site Arnold Palmer courses was just built for something else. Case in point: The only hole here where players teeing off from the whites will need to navigate 500-plus yards is the par-5 No. 10 that bends around a large pond anchored by a lengthy waste bunker.
POSSUM TROT GOLF CLUB
Much like Burning Ridge, Possum Trot’s opener is deceiving when it comes to distance. At an even 500 yards from the whites, though, No. 1 is straight and with next to no distractions. From there, only four more holes will top 410 yards, meaning the opportunity to reach the green in regulation can be accomplished without a booming drive. After all, Possum Trot isn’t regularly called the friendliest course in Myrtle Beach without reason.
WHISPERING PINES GOLF CLUB
The course’s location across the street from Myrtle Beach International Airport has it hosting more than its share of first rounds of the week for visiting golfers. It’s reputation for allowing players to get their feet under them before a week here is in part what keeps it going. Those hoping to work out a few kinks with primarily the irons will have a chance to do that here, with only one hole measuring longer than 470 yards from the white tees.