Some golfers can jump out of the car, into the cart, head to the first tee and jack it down the middle without much regard for the alternative.
Others need a bit more prep.
The five courses below carved up plenty of players and led to more than their share of snowmen on the scorecards early. Arriving early, taking advantage of the practice ranges and greens will do wonders.
LEGENDS GOLF, PARKLAND COURSE
Back in 2017, Legends staff renovated Parkland (top photo) because it was too hard for the type of players it was attempting to attract. Some 50 bunkers were smoothed over with grass, and others were touched up. Yet, this course is no slouch. Roughs appear out of nowhere, and what you believed to be a great shot often leaves you wondering why just happened.
LONG BAY GOLF CLUB
Jack Nicklaus was so kind, wasn’t he? At Long Bay (pictured right), he dropped two mid-range Par 4s, a long Par 5 and then a long Par 4 into the first four holes. Thank you very much, indeed. Pushing all that distance up front is nice for those looking to find a rhythm, but it’s also a curse for anyone who isn’t ready to go. Jack clearly wasn’t messing around with the weekend duffers.
MYRTLE BEACH NATIONAL, SOUTHCREEK
The SouthCreek mantra of going slow and steady means no more than it does on the course’s first three holes. It is there that a big dogleg (No. 1), a skinny Par 5 (No. 3) and a squeezed Par 4 (No. 3) mean to throw you off the rest of the round. The good news is that it only gets easier from then on, so if you’ve stretched it out, scoring potential is there.
SHAFTESBURY GLEN GOLF & FISH CLUB
The 4-5-4 entryway onto Shaftesbury (pictured right) is at least as straight as straight gets. So that’s a plus. But what isn’t is the amount of trouble that affects anyone who isn’t dead center off the tee. From a large waste bunker on one to a fish-hooked shaped one on two to a no-man’s land and an elevated green on three, this trio doesn’t lend much forgiveness early.
WILLBROOK PLANTATION GOLF CLUB
All told, 1,280 yards greet you before you’re done your first 45 minutes or so at Willbrook, if you’re playing on schedule. But that first trio of holes have a tendency to take a bit longer given the success rate, or lack thereof. The opener, in all its glory, is still the second-toughest hole on the course, and Nos. 2 and 3 are sixth and eighth in that regard, respectively.