Campus courses enjoy a certain degree of acclaim in the American golf landscape – think Yale Golf Course, Ohio State Golf Course and Duke University Golf Club – and while Coastal Carolina University’s Hackler Course doesn’t attract a surplus of attention, it is an asset to the Myrtle Beach golf scene.
Originally called Quail Creek, Coastal took over the course in 2011 and renamed it after General James Hackler, a pioneer in the Myrtle Beach golf community and a benefactor of the university, after an extensive renovation project. The changes over the last 11 years have improved the experience considerably, making the course attractive to locals and traveling golfers alike.
If you are considering a round at Hacker, here is what you need to know to properly set expectations.
● Located at Coastal Carolina on Highway 501, Hackler is an ideal layout for a day of arrival or departure round. The Gene Hamm design will never be ranked among the area’s best courses but with a value price and good conditions, you won’t be disappointed to tee it up here.
● This is an old-school layout that has four sets of tees, ranging from 5,287 to 6,897 yards. During the Craig Schreiner-led 2011 renovation, 60 bunkers were removed but a host of doglegs remain, placing a premium on accuracy as much as raw power.
● The course’s signature hole, the par 4 18th (top photo), plays just 340 yards from the white tees but is long on challenge. The smart move is to lay up to the right-center of the fairway, leaving an approach over water to an undulating green that is also guarded by sand. Tee shots that stray left often leave a second shot impeded by a tree. The final approach shot is the day’s most daunting and will almost certainly define your result on Hackler’s final hole.
● Coastal Carolina is home to one of America’s premier Professional Golf Management programs and many of its students get their start working at the Hackler (under the supervision of PGA professionals), breathing fresh air and creativity into the course’s operations. Put another way, there is a lot of positive energy at the Hackler and it contributes to the experience.
● Speaking of the clubhouse, Hackler’s old 9,000-square-foot facility will soon be replaced by a sparkling new building that is twice that size and will be home to a pro shop, food service area and more.
The Hackler, which is maintained by students in Horry Georgetown Tech’s turf management program, is in good shape and with tee times that start at $40 is worth a stop