Maples’ Dandy Dozen Myrtle Beach Golf Holes

Five years ago, unveiled a series highlighting the Monsters of Myrtle Beach golf, four designers who were involved in designing approximately one-third of all the courses along South Carolina’s Grand Strand and its neighbors just across the North Carolina border.

We’re revisiting that package in a new way, breaking down the 12 best holes here from Willard Byrd, Gene Hamm, Tom Jackson and Dan Maples.

This installment will break down Maples, whose seven current designs very much helped usher in a golf-for-all mentality. Here are 12 of our favorite Maples holes.

Willbrook, No. 1
Among the most awarded single holes among all of our openers here on the Grand Strand, the first at Willbrook sets the tone for the entire round. The slight dogleg right is banked by some choice tree placement. The fairway is relatively skinny and it’s among the most difficult holes you’ll find here.

Pearl North, No. 2
Ready for a challenging Par 3? Take on this 182-yard option and know you’re either with the masses or just hit a really good tee shot. While separated somewhat from both the large pond on the right and its run off on the left, the green is offset from the tee boxes and runs away from most pin locations.

Sandpiper Bay, Sand No. 2
Taking a full swing with a short iron is a commodity these days, and the 165-yard Par 3 early on in this nine lets you do just that. The water up the left and trees at the precipice of the final yards of the hole frames the green perfectly. There are plenty of great scores here.

Pearl West, No. 3
With just 401 yards to play with from the tips – 324 from the whites – Maples needed to make the land count. He accomplished that by adding in two relatively mundane bunkers to serve as a target off the tee, three different ponds to mess with depth perception and a couple more bunkers in front of the green, another directional aide.

Willbrook, No. 6
As far as island greens go, you’ll be hard pressed to find another that feels as small as this one. While the putting surface is padded some by some additional non-green space, it isn’t much. What’s more, the hole plays at only 107 yards, making sure the swing feels even more awkward to that pin-pointed location. (Willbrook 6th hole top photo)

Sandpiper Bay, Bay, No. 7Sandpiper Bay 7th Hole
A 330-yard Par 4 with all the potential in the world, this hole is easily one of our favorites in the local Maples repertoire. Players have to carry one segment of a pond to get to the targeted fairway without going to far or short. Then, when going after the green, there’s another forced carry to the pin. (Sandpiper Bay 7th pictured right)

Sea Trail, No. 7
On the first of back-to-back forced carries, the 334-yard, Par 4 on No. 7 features a smooth tee shot into a fairway designed (inadvertently or not) in the shape of a foot, complete with “toes” in the form of sand traps at the apex. From there, the forced carry comes into play as players must target the green with little room for error.

Heritage, No. 8
The wooden fence post between the tees and the water you’re about to have to carry to the green definitely gives off some Little House on the Prairie vibes. What it also does is add to an already visually dynamic hole. This is a terrific Par 3 that needs only 135 yards to impress.

Oyster Bay, No. 13
Another absolutely unique look at a hole comes courtesy of this Par 4, 313 yarder. First, it’s an automatic forced carry over the water directly in front of the tee box. Then, there’s one of the biggest fairways you’ll find on a hole of this length. Then, it’s on to about the most frightening looking bunker complex surrounding the front of the green.

Heritage, No. 14
When thinking of local holes that would be fitting on the PGA Tour, there aren’t many with these types of chops. The slender fairway here is sandwiched on one side by a massive body of water and on the other via a thick tree line and a couple of treacherous bunkers. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. There’s too much to appreciate on these 381 yards.

The Wizard, No. 17
The 155 yards at the next to last hole at The Wizard are a beautiful table setter for the similarly aquatic feel of the finisher. On 17, the island green is set amid a backdrop of what is the biggest pond in Carolina Forest. The only thing connecting it to land is a pair of bridges – one taking you to the green and another ushering you to No. 18. (Wizard 17th pictured right)

Man O’War, No. 18
After reaching the landing zone off the tee, first timers are quickly taught that the finisher has only just begun. The peninsula fairway bends back to the right some as the grass gives way to the 100-acre lake. Avoid that left side, then find a way stay away from the forced carry to the final yardage and a green bending even further to the right.

Course: Oyster Bay Golf Links
City: Sunset Beach, N.C.
Year opened: 1983
Notable: Credited as the first course in the area just north of the state line in Sunset Beach, Oyster Bay is a nature lover’s dream, with gators usually prevalent near the end of the course, and plenty more water to boot. The track proved that pocket of North Carolina could thrive with golf.

Course: Heritage ClubHeritage 8th
City: Pawleys Island
Year opened: 1986
Notable: With more than 600 acres of former rice fields to work with, Maples tied the True Blue and Midway Plantations together to form a true Lowcountry course. Live oaks dating back three centuries spot the landscape adjacent to the Waccamaw River. (Heritage 8th pictured right)

Course: Pearl Golf Links
City: Sunset Beach, N.C.
Year opened: 1987
Notable: A course-wide renovation in 1999 took this 27-hole Maples design to the next level. The three 9s are broken up between a links style (North), parkland (East) and a close look at the Calabash River (West). The diversity on one property is seldom seen.

Course: Sandpiper Bay Golf Club
City: Sunset Beach
Year opened: 1988
Notable: Split between the aptly named Sand, Piper and Bay 9s, the course stretches to as far as 6,400 yards from the white tees and upwards of 6,800 from the tips. Each section mixes in a good bit of water, leaving plenty of trouble spots from start to finish.

Course: Willbrook Plantation Golf Club
City: Pawleys Island
Year opened: 1989
Notable: Willbrook blends golf with its deep past, as this former working plantation recognizes its time during and after slavery days. Historical markers are spread throughout the grounds, identifying what made this land what it is today.

Course: Sea Trail Golf Club, Maples Course
City: Sunset Beach
Year opened: 1990
Notable: Utilizing the tall tree lines and plenty of twists and turns, the Maples Course at Sea Trail measures just under 6,000 yards from the whites and just 6,384 from the tips. Distance will be relegated to a small number of holes while shotmaking takes priority.

Course: Man O’ War Golf ClubMan O War 18th
City: Myrtle Beach
Year opened: 1996
Notable: Designed around an 80-acre lake, Man O’ War has visible water from every single hole. The course, along with The Wizard, is buried in the middle of the Carolina Forest section of Myrtle Beach, just west of the city limits.  (Man O’ War 18th pictured right)

Course: The Wizard Golf Club
City: Myrtle Beach
Year opened: 1996
Notable: Maples cut The Wizard out of the once-tree-heavy land at the sound end of Carolina Forest, but this was no forest. Extensive mounding and other elevation changes create plenty of blind tee shots and a true open feel.

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