MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | Three courses of superbly manicured terrain have long been pulling their own weight among the inland tracks along South Carolina’s Grand Strand.
It just so happens that they’re packaged together at the Myrtle Beach National complex.
Between King’s North, SouthCreek and West, Arnold Palmer’s 54 holes here never disappoint. Whether you’re on the local’s favorite West course, the creative-yet-slightly shorter SouthCreek or the highly regarded King’s North, there are gems all around.
KING’S NORTH, NO. 6
There’s no other way to frame what is now known as The Gambler other than to say it is one of the most respected holes around. The large island fairway up the left is utilized – rough estimate here – by more than three-quarters of the players who tee it up at King’s North. There’s good reason for that. First of all, it shortens the 497-yard hold considerably. More importantly, there’s basically nothing similar anywhere. This is often a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. (pictured right)
SOUTHCREEK, NO. 7
In order to create an island effect with a green, designer typically use water or sand, almost instinctively. But with the 325-yard Par 4 No. 7 at SouthCreek, Palmer’s crew crafted the same effect via a dogleg right and then a swath of rough between the edge of the fairway and the pocketed approach zone. Plunk your ball in between, and you’re up the proverbial creek.
SOUTHCREEK, NO. 10
Those who start on No. 10 during double-tee scheduling get SouthCreek’s best right off the bat. it’s a 525-yard Par 5, which means you’ve better stretched. But it’s bend around the lengthy pond also gives players ready for the challenge a real shot at cutting a corner and reaching the green early. Go the traditional route, and you leave yourself open to a slow death by fairway-hugging bunkers. Regardless, it’s a well-designed hole. (top photo)
WEST, NO. 15
One of the longer Par 4s on the West Course is still a manageable 387 yards from the whites. But what gets us on this course is the feeling you get driving the cart from the tee box to your landing spot. It is then that you realize how much the left side of the hole opens up into a pair of ponds that line almost the entirety of the hole. Even with a right-side tree line, you’re all of a sudden going to have the added pressure of a whole bunch of wet stuff steering you toward the green. (pictured right)
KING’S NORTH, NO. 18
Nothing like the finisher at King’s North can be seen in any of the earlier 17 holes. That’s what makes the bunker-ridden 18th stand out so much more. In the span of roughly 395 yards (including space behind the green), there are more than 40 bunkers here. They come in all shapes and sizes, from a small number of waste bunkers