Jack Nicklaus has a pair of Myrtle Beach golf courses to his credit – Pawleys Plantation and Long Bay Club – and both underwent summer restoration projects. Pawleys has attracted much of the attention, but the work at Long Bay shouldn’t be overlooked.
As you prepare for your fall golf trip or even look ahead to the spring of 2024, here are some early observations about Long Bay and its new greens.
● From tee to green, Long Bay is in outstanding condition. After being closed for 12 weeks, the course’s fairways are pristine and the lush rough is best avoided. One often overlooked benefit of a greens restoration project is the time it gives the rest of the course to heal and that was certainly the case at Long Bay.
● Given that the greens are brand new and the course has been open for a matter of weeks, I’m sure you are wondering, how are they? The roll is very smooth. I played in early September and if your ball was offline, you had only yourself to blame. Green speeds were moderate and getting faster. By the middle of September, Long Bay’s greens should be humming.
● The new greens are SO much bigger. If you are at all familiar with the course, the increase in size will be immediately noticeable. Long Bay’s greens encompassed approximately 70,000 square feet prior to the project; upon reopening they were expanded to roughly 110,000 square feet, meaning they expanded by more than 50 percent. There are so many more pinnable areas and the size allows for much more creativity in terms of setup and the way you choose to play.
● Playing on the new greens was a reminder of just how much fun it is to play Long Bay. The challenges vary throughout the round, demanding power on holes like the 523-yard (all distances from white tees) No. 2 and precision on the 315-yard 10th. The layout is a treat, and that’s more apparent now than ever with the creativity restored to its putting surfaces.
● The new greens will understandably attract all the attention at Long Bay but remember if you want to score well: drive the ball straight. There is plenty of room between the tree lines, but the rough at Long Bay is penal. Make playing from the short grass a priority, even if you have to gear down off the tee, and the new greens will be even more enjoyable.
Pawleys is the more prominent of Nicklaus’ two Myrtle Beach golf courses, but Long Bay is again on the rise.