Long Bay Golf Club provides the best of players a stern test, and the Jack Nicklaus designed exam concludes with the daunting par 4 18th hole.
A dogleg right that plays around a large pond, No. 18 challenges every part of a player’s game. The hole tips out at 445 yards, but only a small percentage of golfers will play the course from 7,025 yards.
The 18th plays 412 yards from the blue tees but we are going to evaluate the hole when played from the 368-yard whites tees, where the vast majority of golfers put the peg in the ground. To help walk you through the hole and its myriad of challenges, we talked with Long Bay’s general manager, Corey Bowers, who is also one of the area’s best players.
This is how you want to approach one of the most memorable finishing holes along the Myrtle Beach golf scene.
The goal is to get the ball to the 150-yard marker, which requires a 218-yard tee shot. If you can get it inside that target, so much better but this isn’t the place to get greedy. The first, and potentially most important, decision you have to make involves the line you want to take off the tee.
Players willing to challenge the water can shorten their approach considerably, with the obvious trade-off being if your ball strays right, it’s going to get wet. Left is the safer play but it’s a decision that’s not without consequences.
The further left your tee shot is, the longer the approach and you run the risk of putting the ball on the other side of the fairway. That’s better than being in water but still not great.
If you can drive the ball 225 yards, you will be tempted to take a more aggressive line, but consider yourself warned: the smart play here is to be a little conservative and find the middle of the fairway.
Here is what you need to know about the approach – right is bad. Real bad in some cases.
Water runs to the right edge of the green and a large, deep bunker on the starboard side can be a jail sentence, especially for mid to high handicappers.
You are playing to a three-tiered green, so play close attention to where the pin is. If the flag is lower right … don’t even think about it! Play to the middle, two-putt and head to the clubhouse with a par.
Just like the tee shot, don’t get overly aggressive. Middle of the green is ideal but missing short, left isn’t the worst the result.
We’ve already mentioned this is a three-tiered green and while challenging, it’s not that complicated. There is a flat portion in the front left and that’s where you want the hole to be. The second tier is the largest section and it plays from the middle to the back edge of the green. The second tier is fairly flat and other than requiring you to hit the ball a little further on the approach, will offer what should be a manageable two-putt.
We’ve already talked about the lower right position and to reiterate: Don’t.Even.Think.About.It.
This is a hole that punishes mindless aggression. Playing 368 yards from the white tees, it won’t overwhelm you with length but danger is never far away. This isn’t a place for hero golf.
Players that remain patient will be rewarded for their discipline.