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Story by Ian Guerin
The spring thaw means just as much to our golf game as it does the weather.
Returning to the links after a months-long layoff is not an immediate process, at least not for those wishing to do so successfully. We attempt to knock the dust off the clubs and the rust out of our shoulders. For most, that’s easier said than done.
Muscle memory has evaporated, as have rhythm and the ability to accurately trust your instincts. A passive-aggressive style can replace confidence.
The ability to combat all of what ails your game with some environmental advantages can be the difference between a fluid transition or four hours of frustration.
GOLFING SIN: Lack of control with the driver; AKA Case of the Shanks/Sir Shanks-A-Lot/Shankopotamus (based on dialect)
WHERE TO CURE YOUR TRANSGRESSION: The patience necessary to re-perfect your performance on the driving range may not be your strongest virtue. Instead, a few solid live hacks off the tee could do the trick more efficiently or economically, especially when it doesn’t drain your ball supply. The West Course at Myrtle Beach National often gets paired as a precursor to on-site sister course King’s North for obvious reasons. What many don’t understand, however, is that West has its own set of repeat customers specifically for its forgiving fairways and roughs. The needles under all those pine trees allow for quick navigation to an errant tee shot. And getting back into the most playable turf or attacking the green from there is typically not an issue.
GOLFING SIN: No short game; AKA ‘You Found Another Bunker?’
WHERE TO CURE YOUR TRANSGRESSION: Maybe touch isn’t what you’re bragging about at the 19th hole. Well, 50 years of Litchfield Country Club players have discovered that its 6,300 yards (from the standard tees) tend to dare you into unnecessary mistakes. Quirky sight lines and the occasional elevation change, though, can be navigated by playing it safe, especially with the mid-irons. For those looking to cut down on goofs, the Willard Byrd design is wisely attacked by taking advantage of a bump-and-run style that allows for consecutive ball strikes with the 5-, 6- or 7-iron in order to reach a green. Questioning the process is reasonable; accepting that it can help your scorecard is, too.
GOLFING SIN: Flatstick Aversion; AKA Putting For ‘Oh’
WHERE TO CURE YOUR TRANSGRESSION: There are courses where every green feels smothered by noise or the next tee box. It’s inevitable given how much land some have to work with. Shaftesbury Glen Golf & Fish Club (pictured) fights that trend. It is separated from the hustle of mainstream Myrtle Beach via its location in northern Conway. Here, players can concentrate on the task at hand. That stands out, maybe most importantly, as this Glens Golf Group track doesn’t try to slaughter you on the back end. The greens are clean and fair, and a precise manicure job year-round keeps the gimmicks to a minimum.
GOLFING SIN: Too much tension; AKA Gluteus Stickeus Inserteus
WHERE TO CURE YOUR TRANSGRESSION: We don’t ever recommend getting sloppy off the booze on a course. It’s bad form, and let’s not forget that no control while launching a golf ball at deadly speeds is just stupid. But if you’re gonna need a couple cocktails to loosen up, River Oaks Golf Plantation is about as laid back as it gets. With three nine-hole courses keeping folks from running up on you and your group, a recently re-designed back deck and a friendly staff used to hosting afterwork shootouts, this blue-collar course can serve as a proverbial Xanax.