First Up: Myrtle Beach’s Best Opening Holes

Conversation about golf’s most famed 18th holes is common, but people rarely discuss the game’s best opening holes.

That doesn’t mean No. 1 is any less worthy of your attention or enjoyment. The first hole is as important as the last, though we often have different expectations of the two. Most of us prefer easing into a round, and that reality is reflected in this list of Myrtle Beach’s five most enjoyable opening holes.

— Mention King’s North and people instinctively think of “The Gambler,” but I love the par 5 opening hole, too (top photo). Playing just 459 yards (all distances from white/most commonly played tees), there is water on the left if you snap hook the ball, but otherwise the tee shot is stress-free. The hole isn’t a pushover, especially if the pin is tucked away on the left side, making the greenside bunker an even bigger factor, but this is an opportunity to get off to a good start.

— Conversely, the opening hole at True Blue Golf Club presents a much stiffer challenge, but the 499-yard par 5 (pictured below) perfectly sets the tone for a dramatic round of golf. True Blue Golf ClubThe fairway is huge and the safest play is to the right-center. The most important shot is the approach because a small stream can collect balls that come up short and there is sand that protects the right side of a large kidney shaped green. You better show up at the first tee ready to compete at True Blue.

— Don’t overlook the Norman Course at Barefoot, particularly it’s 352-yard opener. The appeal isn’t complicated. You have a chance to make par, or even better. The fairway is wide and the green accessible, so take advantage of your opportunity here.

— We’ve all dreamed of playing St. Andrews, and the opening hole at World Tour Golf Links takes you across the pond to the birthplace of golf. The 360-yard par 4 replicates No. 1 at Old Course, just don’t hit the ball into the “Swilcan Burn” that runs in front of the green! On a course inspired by some of the game’s greatest holes, starting your round on golf’s first tee is an ideal beginning.

River Hills Golf & Country Club presents a stern test, but architect Tom Jackson gives players every chance to get off to a hot start. The 305-yard opening hole (pictured below) is the course’s shortest par 4. You have to be a really long hitter to reach the green, but a short approach and par are attainable for most of us. One word of caution: missing left could lead to an approach from a waste bunker that must clear a greenside trap, and that’s not easy.

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