LONGS, S.C. | Aberdeen Country Club’s closures of late 2018 and into the early part of 2019 feel like a lifetime ago.
The historic flooding associated with Hurricane Florence shut down the course for 165 days back then. But these are different times.
The 27-hole Tom Jackson layout has done everything right in re-establishing itself along the northern corridor of Highway 9 that runs many a traveler right into the heart of South Carolina’s Grand Strand. It’s been a popular first-in and last-out stop, but it’s every bit the destination for those looking for 18 holes or more in a single stop.
Crafted by the Highlands, Meadows and Woodlands nines, Aberdeen pumped the brakes when natured demanded.
But it’s all go and no stop now.
ABERDEEN AT A GLANCE
The consensus believes Meadows is the easiest of the three nines, while Highlands it the next rung up the ladder and the Woodlands’ target-rich design forces more folks to struggle.
It’s clear on the latter from the very first hole, a 380-yard Par 4 with an ultra-slender fairway squeezed by a pair of ponds up the right and a tree line on the left. The very next hole is a subtle dogleg left made much more ferocious by another pond that makes cutting the corner virtually impossible. Then there’s the beast at No. 3 – a 502-yard Par 5 that lulls you into a false sense of confidence off the tee before snatching it all back with a bending chute between (you guessed it) more water.
By this point, some players start to feel their frustration, especially if they started on one of the other nines first.
Meanwhile, on Meadows (the last of the three nines to be built), freedom and room for error is the theme. There, players have a few more chances to utilize the driver and shave off some distance; Meadows is a tick shorter than either of the other two already.
The Par 4s here – Nos. 1, 3, 5, 6 and 9 – all give average players opportunities to reach the green in regulation without too many hiccups along the way.
Highlands is the healthy medium between the two. There are still some of those ponds – in play on six of the nine holes, in fact – but the fairways are forgiving. In place are a pair of forced carries over vegetative territories (on Nos. 4 and 9) and some challenging greenside bunkers.
PRO-TIP: It can be a tad difficult to get a feel on Aberdeen’s greens if you’re playing morning rounds here.
However, it’s not for the reasons that sometimes affect a player’s ability on other courses. Thanks to routing, angling and some towering and thick tree lines that are otherwise not in play, that typical a.m. dew takes a tad longer to evaporate on a number of putting surfaces.
Use that knowledge to your advantage.
If the green is in a shaded spot that has obviously yet to see directly contact from the sun, give your putter an extra nudge. Then, scale it back in a decreasing manner as you go about your day. By the ninth hole on any of the three nines, those final shots with the flat stick are gonna feel like they’re really moving with little effort.
AFTER YOUR ROUND: There are bigger clubhouse set-ups spotting the golf landscape in and around Myrtle Beach.
Pound for pound, though, Aberdeen’s is more than holding its own. During those 165 days in 2018 and 2019, Founders Group International invested into the course’s home base. It refurbished the entire building – from flooring to drywall – and in doing so changed the feel. The bar & grill is as welcoming as they come, with food and drink options to give you every reason to stick around just a tad longer once the clubs are back in the trunk.