Story by Ian Guerin
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | Certain design rules are almost universally followed. Don’t overwhelm golfers on the first tee. Don’t stack par 3s. And certainly don’t go too far against the grain on No. 18. Five holes along South Carolina’s Grand Strand golfing mecca have done just that. Amassed from four different designers, the following courses give players a lasting memory by doing something pretty different on their finishing holes.
BEACHWOOD GOLF CLUB
Each of the back-nine par 3s at Beachwood Golf Club fall in the final four holes, and while No. 15 requires a full water carry, the finisher here is defined more by the four-square bunkers protecting an elongated green. Getting to that putting surface while avoiding the traps can be difficult, especially that at 193 yards from the white tees, getting the proper loft is a bit touchy. For those playing the back tees (224 yards) it’s even more so.
INDIAN WELS GOLF CLUB
Fourteen of the holes at Gene Hamm’s Indian Wells layout have visible water, and it’s in play on nearly all of them. None of the first 13 utilize quite like No. 18. With a wrap-around pond behind the tee box, players are tasked with hitting into a U-shaped fairway that is divided vertically by a sizable inlet straight into the middle of the action. Find yourself on the right section and you’re in good shape. Go left, and you have no choice but to chip back over the water while also avoiding a bunker meant to further penalize those who miss from the tee box.
MYRTLE BEACH NATIONAL WEST COURSE
One of the only other par 3 finishers around was a specific touch added by Arnold Palmer to help the West Course further distinguish itself from its sister courses at Myrtle Beach National, King’s North and SouthCreek. Easing up on the distance is magnified by the fact that the second-longest hole on the entire course comes directly before it. No. 18, then, is a breather of sorts, as nearly everyone will be playing 165 yards or less to the green and with a wide front landing zone.
TRADITION GOLF CLUB
The ultra-thick tree lines on either side of the fairway allows for better focus - they block out the driving range to the right and most of the views of the parallel No. 13 to the left. What those trees also do is highlight the expansive waste bunker that Ron Garl made sure would be the defining characteristic of No. 18 at Tradition. That bunker rides the entire left side of the fairway and increases in width, squeezing players off the tee and giving them plenty of pause when whipping out the driver one more time before the end of the round.
WORLD TOUR INTERNATIONAL GOLF LINKS
If Tradition begs for a lesser club off the tee, World Tour inspires grabbing ol’ No. 1 with authority. Whether you’re trying to take out an existing frustration or are just feeling strong, very few track finishers allow players to bomb away like the final hole of the Open side of the course. Patterned after the 18th at St. Andrews, the fairway is uphill but as wide as could have been possibly imagined. Only the biggest of slices or hooks take players too far off line, and even if you’re on the fringe, you’re still wide open to attack the green in two.