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Story by Ian Guerin
Each of the Par 4s that found themselves included in the Perfect Round hold a special place among their counterparts in the Myrtle Beach golf scene.
The Perfect Round project, spearheaded by Myrtle Beach Golf Trips with the help of the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel, selected the best 18 holes along South Carolina’s Grand Strand. Ten of the holes were Par 4s, and five of those will be dissected here. They include Tidewater Golf’s No. 4, the third hole at TPC of Myrtle Beach, the finisher at True Blue Golf Plantation, No. 9 at Barefoot Resort & Golf’s Dye Club and the opener at Willbrook Plantation.
Here’s what took each of them to the top of the panel’s rankings.
One straight shot followed by one more and you’re on the green. It’s that simple, right? Dan Maples plunked the second-hardest hole at Willbrook at the start, and while the slight dogleg divides No. 1 at the halfway point, the trees of this centuries-old plantation develop the opener into a pair of tunnel-like shots devoid of much else to get in the way. Still, for every par here, there is a double bogey on another score card. It leaves those who start off with a bang with a sense of confidence moving forward.
The intended shiftiness of the final hole of the front nine at Dye Club adds to its appeal, at least for those who know what they’re looking for. Off the tee of this 493 yarder, a somewhat seemingly straightforward shot is safe for those who can’t poke the ball like a pro. However, most who do so there find a adjustment is necessary to avoid the oversized pond the pushes the fairway to the left in approach of the undulated green. What the water to the right doesn’t take care of, extensive mounding on the left of it will.
Much like Mike Strantz did with his finisher at neighboring Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, True Blue’s No. 18 also includes significant water between the start and finish. However, this time around, players are forced to overcome it immediately off the tee, especially for those going off from the 437-yard championships. The fairway itself is somewhat innocuous. However, multiple waste bunkers - two on either side of the hole- work as a de facto ball retrievers for the errantly placed shot. Then, it’s a feed into the green, located mere steps from the famed blue-roofed clubhouse.
Simply, the third hole at TPC is a beast. Even from the 410-yard white tees, this uphill climb actually starts with a forced carry over the thickest of vegetation. And even with a perfect drive, a fairway wood or the longest irons are usually necessary to get to the green in two. Many players elect a lay-up of sorts, and that’s because the elevated green drops off to three sides and offers little bump-and-run chances because of a trio of bunkers near the front edges.
The start-to-finish waste bunker up the left side isn’t necessarily a target on Tidewater’s 430-yard No. 4, but it isn’t also the worst place to be. Just beyond that, heavy marsh swallows up big misses that try to cut too much off this right to left bending hole. The right side is nearly as closed off by a heavy tree line. Getting into position to putt can be even more catastrophic. Six bunkers of varying sizes are joined by the extension of that waste bunker, and the green is every bit of a back-to-front slide back into three of them.