Story by Ian Guerin
Golf movies may not have the prevalence of those based in football or baseball. But the ones that stand out do so for a reason.
Great storylines, a memorable cast of characters, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat all gave us reason to watch and then watch again. The movies developed a personality of their own, and some of the tracks on South Carolina’s Grand Strand can boast something similar.
They’ve developed their own characteristics that have made them stand out, building a noticeable charisma around their famous foundations.
BAREFOOT RESORT & GOLF, LOVE COURSE
In “The Legend of Bagger Vance”, the title character, played by Will Smith, mysteriously pops into the forefront and steers Matt Damon’s Rannulph Junuh to greatness. Much like Bagger’s entrance (and exit) into the plot, Barefoot’s Love Course has its own sense of intrigue that frequently steals the show. Specifically, the third through seventh holes are adorned with the magical ruins, a number of stone structures that were displayed prominently during a recent season of The Big Break: Myrtle Beach. Word has started to get out about those - they were designed along with the rest of the course prior to its opening in 2000 - but the subtle enigma about their age stirs as much conversation as Smith’s role in “Bagger.”
COLONIAL CHARTERS GOLF CLUB
Any head golf professional wishing to keep his job isn’t going to encourage players to imitate the famous-yet-irresponsible swing employed by Adam Sandler in “Happy Gilmore”. The skipping approach to shots is a great way to chew up a course and probably break an iron. As far as experimenting with new clubs or grips, though, Colonial Charters is a great place to work out the kinks. The quirky course, re-opened in 2013, has low traffic and a forgiving design that allows those looking to fine-tune a part of the game without getting beat over the head. And don’t feel bad about pouring one out for Richard Kiel along the way.
HACKLER COURSE AT COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
The shenanigans of “Caddyshack” made the 1980 film not only an instant classic, but one that has endured for nearly four decades. Part of the appeal was some of those famous faces that took a step forward in their acting careers because of it. Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield and Bill Murray were relative pups in the industry at the time and used the movie to springboard into successful 1980s runs. Much the same, the Hackler Course is a potential who’s who of youngsters coming up in the business in any given year. Between CCU’s Golf Management program and neighboring Horry Georgetown Tech’s Turf Management students taking a role in operations and maintenance, the next big course superintendent or head pro may be checking you in for your round or ensuring the playing surface is up to snuff.
MYRTLE BEACH NATIONAL, KING’S NORTH COURSE
The 1996 Kevin Costner flick “Tin Cup” opens with a once-promising golfer grinding it out at a run-down range in West Texas. And while that does little to invite comparison’s to Arnold Palmer’s King’s North Course, the crescendo of the movie - where Costner’s character elects to go for the risky shot instead of laying up - certainly does. Nos. 3, 6, 7, 15, 16 and 18th holes at King’s North all give players and opportunity to muscle up and go after the green well in advance of regulation. The caveat, of course, is that major danger awaits that could turn eagles and birdies into doubles or triples in a hurry.