Three Places to Find Trouble on Myrtle Beach’s Easiest Course

Myrtle Beach National’s West Course is the Grand Strand’s easiest layout, per the USGA’s slope and rating system and its player-friendly reputation.

This is the Arnold Palmer design you visit when you are in need of a confidence boost, but that doesn’t mean the West Course is without peril. Sure, you should score well, but it’s golf; trouble always lurks.

But we are here to warn you about the danger spots, ensuring you don’t have a lapse at just the wrong time.

Beware of these three holes and a good score should be in the offing:

● After opening with a 459-yard (all distances from white tees) par 5 and a 302-yard par 4 that is begging players to make birdie, the first significant challenge arrives at No. 3 (pictured right). The nearly 90-degree dogleg left plays longer than its 353 yards suggest and trouble lurks. The temptation to cut the dogleg, shortening the hole, introduces the possibility of ending up in the middle of a bunch of pine trees hoping to find a way out. Played conventionally, a 230-yard drive, which stops just short of a fairway bunker is ideal, but it’s easy to push the tee shot right, resulting in a longer than necessary approach. Par or even bogey here isn’t a bad score.

● Water isn’t a regular threat on the West Course, which is part of what makes the 387-yard 15th hole (top photo) so daunting. A pond covers nearly the entire left side of the hole, meaning anything pulled will be wet. Overcompensate and woods await on the right. Throw in a pair of large bunkers pinch the front of the green, making it very difficult to run the ball up, and No. 15 has all the ingredients for a big number.

● The final hole on the list – the 165-yard, par 3 18th – may come as a surprise, but hang with me. Finishing with a par 3 is unconventional and many will arrive on the tee thinking the worst that could occur is bogey, and that’s when the West Course bites. This is the day’s longest one-shotter and there is water on the left. In theory, 18 should be a “tough a par, easy bogey” for even high handicappers, but so many times players mentally let down here and disaster strikes. Do not take No. 18 (pictured right) at the West Course for granted.

Numbers 3, 15 and 18 aren’t the Grand Strand’s hardest trio of holes, but they do have the ability to disrupt what otherwise might be a career round.

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