MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | A few years back, Myrtlewood Golf Club’s PineHills Course starting tinkering with its roughs, adding some thicker grasses in the roughs that provided for more of a links feel on the relatively shorter layout. Now, one year after updating its greens, the full transformation is one that has the older of the two on-site courses getting plenty of great attention. Turns out, you can teach an old dog some pretty nifty new tricks.
Five-plus decades after its original opening PineHills is proving all the work that has been done to it was worth the effort. From start to finish, this is a course that has been designed, constructed, re-constructed and then maintained with high-traffic patterns in mind. In no uncertain terms, it’s been a pattern that keeps allowing the golfer to win.
“It’s not easy by any means, even if it is the easier of the two,” Myrtlewood General Manager Dustin Powers said, alluding to joint course Palmetto. “[PineHills] can jump off and get your if you’re having trouble off the team. But we can go both ways. The higher handicapper can hit fairway woods off the tee. It’s extremely playable and very pretty.”In many ways, PineHills’ ownership groups through the years – including the current one, Founders Group International – have experimented with the track. Arthur Hills was asked in 1992 to make it a bit more playable, something he did by moving some dirt around to make it reflect his last name some. A few of the tree-based sight-line issues were removed at that time, too.
There was a greens update in the early 2000s, then the subtle grass touch-up in the roughs not too long after that. And now the switch to Sunday Bermudagrass on the greens, a two-month project that was completed in the summer of 2018. It seems like a decent amount, but here’s the thing. Everything worked. Players are getting the best that PineHills has to offer while finding it to be a course that is as welcoming as its casual drive onto the property would suggest.
“There are trees that border the framework, but there is not a lot of out of bounds to have to deal with,” nearby resident Bob Doyle said after a recent round. “There were a couple holes here and there, but it was very playable.” As Powers pointed out, the design here is going to expand your club selection. That is because of a large variety of doglegs. Some turn left, others right; some are closer to the tee, others nudge off course near the greens. It adds the overall product that keeps finding new ways to get better and better.
SAND AND SEVEN
Arthur Hills added a few fairway bunkers during his early 1990s visits. The ones on No. 13 and 16 are distracting, of course. But the double-up on No. 7 makes this hole one to keep an eye out for, especially for first timers.
The 334-yard par 4 takes a slight bend right, with only a sliver of a land there to miss. That makes the pair of bigger sand hazards sitting smack dab in the middle of the fairway a must-navigate. Fly those too far to the left, and the lengthy pond up the right side can cut off your approach into the green. It’s a perfect microcosm of the course; play smart, score well. Play brazenly, don’t.