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Story & photos by Ian Guerin
Step for step, yard for yard, a measuring tape is going to back up Long Bay Golf Club’s scorecard distances from start to finish.
If only it was that simple.
Elevation differences around the greens and fairways, extensive use of waste and pot bunkers and some well-placed water, though, give Long Bay’s regulars an advantage over first-timers. This Myrtle Beach golf course will play longer on the majority of its holes, with or without the added wind of the relatively open landscape around it.
So while the card may read 7,025 yards from the blacks, 6,209 from the whites and even 4,944 from the reds, the members here know this course as one that routinely forces at least one club length more than usual.
It’s only one test Long Bay.
The par-72 course will push players of all abilities, using variety throughout the course to make its own staff question which hole can be considered the signature.
No. 1, a 377-yard par 4, kicks off the round with a fish hook-shaped fairway. Three holes later, it’s a skinny par 4, this one squeezed by parallel waste bunkers on either side of the fairway. A recently re-built par 3 on No. 8 will strongly penalize any shot that isn’t on target.
Other spots players should keep an eye out for: The seahorse-shaped bunker surrounding three sides of a small green on the par-5 No. 11, the island green on the par-3 No. 13, and No. 18’s small dogleg around a small pond.
Players who navigate those problems can find scoring opportunities on an impressive course. It makes the short drive from the heart of Myrtle Beach worth it, especially considering the low traffic rate accompanying its location in Longs.
No. 10 a Visual Masterpiece
Unless seen from an aerial view, most players don’t know exactly what they’re getting into when approaching the tee box on the par-4 No. 10 at Long Bay.
That’s part of the reason the club amended the front of the scorecard to reflect this hole and this hole alone.
Only a straight tee shot here will keep an opening shot out of trouble, primarily from the waste single waste bunker that rides nearly the entirety of both sides of the fairway before coming together just short of the green. On the approach, players are asked to avoid the bunker once more to reach an elevated green maintained left of center. It’s not the hardest hole on the course – not even close – but it possibly Long Bay’s most memorable. – Ian Guerin