One of golf’s most prolific architects, Arthur Hills designed more than 200 courses and renovated another 120+, and his lone Myrtle Beach course – the PineHills layout at Myrtlewood – has stood the test of time.
PineHills isn’t ranked among Myrtle Beach’s 10 best courses but it’s a good design that way over delivers on the value front. Did we mention it’s in the heart of Myrtle Beach, a near ideal location for a buddies trip?
The virtues of PineHills are many and if your next Myrtle Beach golf trip itinerary takes you to the course, here are five things you need to know:
● A quick glance at the scorecard reveals No. 1 to be a 352-yard (all distances from white tees) par 4 (pictured right), seemingly a soft touch to begin the round, but the first tee shot is tricky. Your instinct is to use the bunkers in the elbow of the dogleg right as an aiming point. The shot doesn’t look that long but the reality is you will need to carry at least 220 yards to clear the traps and set up a short approach. Many golfers can hit the ball that far, but a 220-yard carry off the opening tee isn’t easy for most of us. The intention isn’t to make the hole sound more difficult than it is; just encouraging you to make a good choice and be ready to execute off the jump.
● What makes PineHills so enjoyable is the balance between challenge and the opportunity to score. There are several sub-350-yard par 4s – No. 5 in particular is a hole to attack – but you can make a good round great with a strong finish and Hills gives you every chance to do so. The 15th, a dogleg left par 5, is a three-shot hole but at just 469 yards, you should have a short approach. Water looms on the starboard side of the 351-yard 16th hole, but you should arrive on the tee with the driver and a greenlight, and it’s followed by the 134-yard 17th, the layout’s easiest par 3. If you are playing well, you can make a late surge.
● The biggest challenge at PineHills comes early in the round – the par 5, third hole (pictured right), which plays 482 yards. Despite water lurking on the right, there is room off the tee, but anxiety creeps in on the second shot. The landing area is tight and anything that leaks to the right will find a watery grave. Assuming you execute the first two shots, a large bunker fronts the green, necessitating you fly the ball onto the putting surface. The hole doesn’t require power, but there is a premium on precision.
● No need to ramble too long about this point: the fairways and greens at PineHills are in pristine condition and you can expect them to be when it’s time for your trip. The Sunday bermudagrass greens installed in 2018 have had the desired effect. Smooth, fast putting surfaces await, as do plush fairways.
● PineHills is the type of layout that makes Myrtle Beach golf’s most popular trip. There is plenty of room to bang away with the driver but low handicaps are well served to think their way around the course. Put another way, it’s the type of design everyone in your group will enjoy.
If you are considering PineHills, check out the Founders Groups All-Inclusive package, which provides lunch and two draft beers with each round.