Have You Played Myrtle Beach’s 5 Most Controversial Holes?

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by Chris King

Pawleys Plantation 13th Hole

There are more than 1,500 holes along the Myrtle Beach golf scene, some more memorable than others. Even among the select group of holes that nearly all golfers remember, there is another category: challenges players discuss and debate the merits of, both before and after a round, without reaching a consensus. Myrtle Beach is the game’s most popular travel destination and among the 90 courses that call the area home, here are the five most discussed/debated/controversial holes.

— The 13th at Pawleys Plantation, a Jack Nicklaus design, is one of Myrtle Beach’s iconic holes. It’s also one of its most controversial. The only thing about the hole everyone agrees on is its beauty. The peninsula green is surrounded by a saltwater marsh and the view is stunning. Some love the hole, which typically plays less than 100 yards (white tees), to Pawleys Plantation’s smallest green. Others are far less kind in their assessment of a hole they regard to be unfair, due to the lack of margin for error. Regardless of what you think, No. 13 is a hole you have to play.

— If the 13th at Pawleys isn’t Myrtle Beach’s most controversial hole, then the work of another golf legend – Arnold Palmer – certainly is. The ninth hole at Rivers Edge is the subject of endless debate. The Shallotte River is in play from tee to green, but it’s the putting surface, surrounded on three sides by water, that attracts most of the conversation. The 9th green at Rivers Edge is 48 yards deep but provides only a fraction in width, making it virtually inaccessible in two (good luck trying to hold the green from 200+ yards out). It’s not much easier for us “regular” golfers to hit with a low iron or wedge – it’s that narrow. That being said, the hole is as pretty as it is difficult.

Dunes Club 13th Hole

— Myrtle Beach’s most famous hole is No. 13 at Dunes Golf & Beach Club, otherwise known as “Waterloo,” a 90-degree dogleg right that plays around Lake Singleton. The 13th has been ranked among the 100 best holes in golf and with alligators often lining the banks of the lake, it’s unforgettable for a variety of reasons. What makes the 13th discussion worthy is the decision players have to make off the tee. The 13th plays 520 yards from the white tees but driver often isn’t the proper play. Players want to be as close to the water as possible off the tee, setting them up to cut as much of the lake as possible on their second shot. What club to hit and how close you try to get to Lake Singleton are decisions that could swing a round, and golfers will endlessly debate the decision.

King's North par five 6th hole

— Beyond “Waterloo” this most discussed par 5 in Myrtle Beach is “The Gambler” at King’s North, another Palmer design. Sure, there is a conventional way to play the dogleg left, avoiding the water en route to hopefully making par, but it’s the alternate, island fairway that gave the hole its nickname. Do you attempt to hit the alternate fairway, potentially setting up a much shorter second shot and an eagle putt? Or do you play it safe? Choice is yours, but do you really take a golf vacation to layup?

Farmstead Golf Links

— There is nothing remotely controversial about Farmstead’s 767-yard par 6, 18th hole, but everyone talks about it. Players tee off in South Carolina and putt out in North Carolina. The hole plays a whopping 679 yards from the white tees. This is the only hole along the Grand Strand that players feel pretty good about a seven.

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