MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | As much as has been made about the recently installed Sunday Bermudagrass greens at Myrtlewood Golf Club’s PineHills course, any first timer to the Grand Strand Course better keep something else in mind.
Like, everything else.
Course regulars – or even those who have teed it up here more than once – will tell you about PineHills’s M.O., and it has next to nothing to do with how well those beautiful greens come into play, how much better even below-average putters will do on the dance floor or how the so-so flack-stickers among us all of a sudden look impressive.
Yes, that fresh Bermudagrass will cure a few ills, but that’s not even the most important part.
For all the mild tricks, for the mean-looking bunkers and the small number of cut-worthy doglegs, those who play it straight up and not try to bet the house will find scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity. The rationale is two-fold.
First, without significant length on the majority of holes (none of the Par 4s play longer than 400 yards from the whites), an easy approach with the driver will have you attacking the green in regulation more often than not. Second, the ample fairways are designed and manicured in a way to reward you even more than most courses, something not lost on the fact that the staff here started allowing for more rough growth to take you back to the initial point.
Following and executing that simple formula leads people who normally struggle to break 90 doing so with ease as long as their drivers and short irons are in play. Are you starting to see why PineHills is so popular?
Calling this 1990s Arthur Hills redesign of the early original 1970s layout heavily trafficked is an understatement. On any given morning, the bag drop at Myrtlewood is raring to go. However, between the fact that it’s split between the sites PineHills and Palmetto tracks and also adept at handling mass numbers via double tees, the round times here rarely get out of hand.
Consider that a benefit of experience.
After all, players aren’t the only ones who can gain some.
THREADING THE NEEDLE
From the final tee box, the black and yellow flag looks so much more daunting than reality – slightly beyond the 150 marker and well in play with the driver.
This is only the first subtle lie of No. 18 at PineHills.
After you navigate the otherwise harmless system of bunkers up the right side of the fairway and realize you aren’t going to find that troublesome water way up the left, you’ve all but forgotten what’s really gonna trick you up.
The postage stamp of a green that will ultimately feel like the smallest one all day.
Snookered between that small pond and three greenside bunkers is a tiny stretch of putting surface that ignores any semblance of forgiveness from the Sunday. Miss, and you’re gonna feel it. Somehow catch it in two, however, and you’re going to celebrate either way.