Let’s be honest, for a lot of people Long Bay Golf Club is the other Jack Nicklaus course in Myrtle Beach.
Pawleys Plantation, which features five holes that play along a saltwater marsh, attracts all the attention, and hey, I get it. The course is unforgettable.
While Pawleys garners the spotlight, golfers need to know one thing: Long Bay is absolutely the equal of its sister course. As you begin preparing for your next Myrtle Beach golf trip, here are five facts about Long Bay that might nudge you into playing one of the area’s most underrated layouts.
— Let’s start with location. There is the perception Long Bay, located along the North Strand, is a “long drive.” Disabuse yourself of that notion. Highway 31 has made getting to Long Bay, dare I say, easy (think four-lane road, little traffic and smooth sailing). As a matter of fact, leaving from the heart of Myrtle Beach, you can get to Long Bay faster than you can Litchfield/Pawleys Island. Don’t let distance dissuade from playing the course.
— Long Bay is a second shot layout. The fairways are plenty wide, making good iron play and hitting the proper spots on the green the keys to scoring. Speaking of Long Bay’s greens, expect smooth, fast putting surfaces no matter what time of year you play.
— Nicklaus’ generous use of mounding is the course’s defining characteristic, creating uneven lies and rolling topography that is unusual along the Myrtle Beach golf scene. It’s also part of Long Bay’s appeal, creating visuals, in combination with the Golden Bear’s use of sand, that are unique to the course. Long Bay has a look all its own, and it’s one you want to check out.
— Long Bay is a Nicklaus design, so it’s going to challenge your game without being prohibitively difficult. If you want to make birdie, your best chance may come on No. 1, a 368-yard par 4 (white tees) that is open off the tee, with the exception of a pair of bunkers on the right. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the 18th hole is arguably Long Bay’s most difficult. The tee shot on the dogleg right is the day’s most daunting, forcing golfers to decide how close they want to come to the water that resides in the elbow of the dogleg. The more players are willing to bite off, the more manageable the approach is on the 368-yard hole (yes, No. 1 and 18 play the same length from the white tees). While the first and last holes are memorable for different reasons, it’s everything in between that makes Long Bay such an enjoyable round.
— Long Bay is one of 17 Myrtle Beach golf courses that have overseeded wall-to-wall, meaning players can count on enjoying green grass throughout the winter of 2020. The conditions are as good as the design and that’s saying something given that Long Bay was voted one of Myrtle Beach’s top 20 courses by area PGA professionals.