Myrtle Beach National (MBN), home to three Arnold Palmer designs, is one of the Grand Strand’s most storied facilities. King’s North, the West Course and SouthCreek have been bringing golfers to Myrtle Beach for 50 years, but when Palmer returned to MBN in the ‘90s, the facility found another gear. At the heart of the property’s resurgence was the redesigned King’s North, which was Palmer’s baby. The layout showcases Arnie’s flair for the dramatic and golfers love it. With the course as popular as ever, we consulted with MBN head golf professional Ryan Ruddy for an insider’s look at Palmer’s most popular South Carolina design, King’s North.
Ruddy didn’t take the easy way out and chose “The Gambler,” the par 5 sixth hole that features an alternate island fairway, opting instead for No. 3, a par 4 that presents another significant risk-reward decision. The dogleg left is 342 yards from the yellow tees (equivalent to blues) and if played conventionally is fairly simple: hit an iron off the tee – over water – to setup a short approach. But for the truly ambitious, the dogleg is there for the taking. A 275-yard drive (in the right direction!) and the third green is reachable from the tee. A wayward shot could result in playing from the pines, bringing the possibility of a big number into play. The decision is yours, but you know what Arnie would do. “It’s an overlooked hole,” Ruddy said. “It has a great look to it and you have a chance to go after the green. It gives you that Arnie feel; that risk-reward choice with the driver, which he loved to use so much.” (pictured right)
Easiest Birdie Hole
Everyone talks about the challenges a course offers but we wanted to know where the best opportunity for birdie was at King’s North, and Ruddy didn’t hesitate when responding, citing the par 5 first hole. The opening hole at King’s North plays just 483 yards from the yellow tees (459 from the whites), so length isn’t an issue. Neither is the size of the fairway, which is open, and the green, so long as you avoid the bunker on the left, is accessible. Arnie offers a chance to score right away, so arrive at the first tee prepared for good things. (1st hole top photo)
The Day’s Scariest Shot is …
In contrast to the opening hole, the scariest shot at King’s North, according to Ruddy, is the approach on No. 18. Golfers tend to worry about the 40+ bunkers that line the 18th fairway, but there is ample room off the tee. What players really need to worry about is the one bunker that flanks the left side of the green and the water that lurks to the right of the putting surface. “It’s the last shot of the day, and you want to go in on a high note,” Ruddy said. “When the flag is in the front, there is water on the right and sand on the left, that’s a scary shot on a great finishing hole.” (pictured right)