Navigating the Challenges: Long Bay Golf Club’s Four Most Difficult Holes

The year was 1988, and Jack Nicklaus was just two years removed from the last of his 18 majors – the 1986 Master’s – and still two years away from beginning his Senior Tour career.

He won his first start there, too.

Nicklaus might have been hitting the back stretch of his playing career, but his mentality toward challenging golf and rewarding only those who earned it was very much alive and well. So when he dropped Long Bay Golf Club into the Grand Strand’s lap that year, it helps to know what was running through his head.

Nobody on this side of Q School is ever going to say this doozy is easy. And these four holes are going to test your mettle as much as any of the other 14 holes here.

NO. 2, PAR 5, 524 YARDSLong Bay 2nd Hole
Nicklaus has a tendency to sneak harder holes up into the front end of his courses. And this one is sneak difficult. The long and slender Par 5 includes a fairly thick rough off either side, meaning most players are going to scale back off the drive some. What that does is now make any chance of needing fewer than three shots (minimum) to the green slim to none. Now, back up that third shot with the waste bunker cutting across the width of the green and then some, and scoring well here is just about saving bogey.

NO. 7, PAR 5, 468 YARDSLong Bay 7th Hole
This won’t be the first instance of Nicklaus making a hole player longer than it is, and it won’t be the last, even during a round at Long Bay. There simply isn’t an easy path off the tee to get where you want to be. From the trees up the right pushing you left to the deep pond up the left pushing you right, it really can shape up to be a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t type of hole even before you start flirting with an approach shot. All those bunkers closer to the green end up feeling a bit like a failsafe from water or deep rough, so don’t curse yourself if you find any of them.

NO. 12, PAR 4, 375 YARDS
The only saving grace about No. 12 is that the offset tee box is part of a slew of them bringing you back to the clubhouse. So at least you can get used to it a bit. However that won’t help out much on this mid-range Par 4. After flying the bunker complex up the left with relative easy, a smaller one in the middle of the fairway is going to try to drive you off center into the green. The putting surface itself is touching three more off either edge, so the forgiveness you’re going to get here start to finish is minimal. (12th hole top photo)

NO. 18, PAR 4, 368 YARDSLong Bay 18th
By the time you get to this point, you might have already asked yourself if it was time to just drop next to your playing partner. The staggering effects of a course of this nature can do that. For those trying to finish out strong, though, the bend around some rare water off the tee on No. 18 is a Golden Bear trick. If you find that pond up the right – be it via a mishit, a little wind in your face or any other reason – the risk to do so again is high. There isn’t much room to aim left off a drop, and with the fairway sloping back, anything right and short is in danger again.

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Long Bay Golf Club

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