Story by Ian Guerin
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | If the hole-in-one is among golf’s greatest feelings, bypassing all the clubs between driver and putter isn’t far behind.
Among the 90 or so courses along South Carolina’s northern coastline, several offer the type of par 4s where going after the green with the big stick is encouraged. No, not everyone who tries makes it there in advance of regulation.
And some end up putting some squares on their scorecards while others in their group are drawing a circle or two on theirs. We can’t blame you for playing it safe. However, what each of the following five holes avoid are the sorts issues that turn the latter parts of their designs from near misses to monster mistakes.
So you might as well saddle up and enjoy the show. You may just pull off the unthinkable.
BAREFOOT RESORT & GOLF DYE CLUB NO. 10
Finding that sweet spot anywhere on Dye Club tends to be a fight between your abilities and your own brain getting in the way. Massive waste bunkers and elevation changes force many to tame it down. The 287-yard No. 10 (from the members tees) is maybe the par 4s here where you might as well go for it and pray for the type of result that will make you forget about all the errant shots that developed before or may come later in the round. It takes a straight drive that navigates the late elevation toward the green, but it is certainly possible.
MYRTLE BEACH NATIONAL KING’S NORTH NO. 3
Everything about the third hole at King’s North screams “Hey, look over here!”. The oversized pond separating the tee boxes from the fairway are complemented by a large waste bunker on the right and a slightly smaller one on the left. It’s intimidating, to be sure. What happens, daily, however, is that players are so worried about ending up in any of those trouble areas is that they muscle up, get lucky and find the green. It’s a distance of 301 yards - nothing to scoff at - but with the wind frequently coming from behind, putting for eagle happens here more than you’d think.
RIVER HILLS GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB, NO. 1
Let’s be honest: 305 yards is not a reachable green for the majority of the golfing population. And before your body finds its groove via a few holes, it makes the chances even more slim. However, if any par 4 at River Hills is going to be reachable, it is the opener. The straight-away fairway is actually crafted to put the whites to your advantage with a clean tee shot. It angles you over the top of a right-side bunker and between a pair of green-side ones. Find that flight and even an average role through the sliver, and your round here could be off to a fantastic start.
RIVER OAKS GOLF PLANTATION FOX COURSE, NO. 5
More than the other four holes on this list, the Fox Course fifth does present trouble around the green in the form of a right-side pond and a left-side pot bunker. And with those playing the whites (282 yards), reaching the green is no gimme even just based on distance. However, the saving grace of this hole are those late hazards. Say you miss left and go into the bunker - reaching the green in two is still expected. Even those who find the drink are dropping and preparing for a simple punch up to the green with a par putt in the works.
WILD WING PLANTATION AVOCET, NO. 14
This is one of those rare par 4s where distance isn’t going to be the biggest obstacle in notching the rare on-in-one scenario. Contoured roughs woven amid the defined fairways are accented by nine bunkers. All of those visual mounding issues, as well as a forced water carry, make the green seem so much smaller and further away. The reality of this beauty at Wild Wing is that from just 265 yards from the whites, every play teeing up from that distance should expect to go after the target right off the bat.