Story by Ian Guerin
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | It had been more than a decade since Ryan Waller set foot on Myrtle Beach National’s SouthCreek golf course.
He admitted after a recent round that it wasn’t quite what he had remembered, even though his game has improved drastically in that time.
“I’d certainly say this is a shotmaker’s course,” said Waller, who lives approximately an hour away in Mullins. “They could make it really, really hard. If you were not hitting the ball well, you could really screw it up. The pin placements were fairly average. I don’t think they wanted to make it too tough. But if they wanted to, I think could make it very, very hard.”
Waller mentioning pin placement should be taken into account. Although that topic is one that would frequently be an afterthought at many courses, the shorter distance at SouthCreek accentuates every yard.
Measuring no more than 6,400 yards from the championship tees, average players will be taking their hacks from fewer than 6,100. And believe us when we say that distance has made many a golfer feel like they are doing just that - hacking.
Still, SouthCreek can’t be typecast for one breed of golfer or another.
“[Factor in] the layout, especially some of the holes. No. 10 for sure, the way it shapes around the water, is interesting,” Waller said. “The fairways got real tight in the landing off the tee, which probably made it a little tougher.”
Outside of the top-flight players, the driver is still the route most will take on nearly every par 4 or par 5. Of course, several have shelved the big dog after plunking a few early shots into the pines or the occasional water.
For those who manage the distance appropriately and avoid spraying off the tee, scoring chances are everywhere.
The light dogleg on the par-5 second hole can lead to reaching the green in two; the shorter par 5 at No. 6 is another opportunity to shave strokes. And for those who have a consistent fairway wood in the bag, traversing the bend around an oversized lake on No. 10 can lead to a fantastic start to the back nine.
The par 4s are more of the same. None of those stretch longer than 382 yards, meaning going after the green in regulation can be done time and again, assuming that first shot is anywhere close to the intended target. Do that, and Palmer’s plan starts to really make sense.
That’s because the high-quality turf and some upgraded drainage in the bunkers and waste areas are not going to be an issue, regardless of season.
“I thought it was in good shape, especially for the winter time,” Waller said. “The greens ran true. The fairways were nice. You had excellent grass to hit off
The course has taken that approach for 45 years, piggybacking some off the prestige of King’s North and the expectation that all three of the on-site Myrtle Beach National golf courses should be top-notch.
It pays off for those who make the trek, whether its regular visits or those who choose to play here once in a blue moon.