Coastal Carolina University’s Hackler Course has long had a reputation for being a budget-friendly layout, but what does that mean for your group? We played an August round at the Hack and came away with a few observations that should carry through the fall.
1. The course is in outstanding condition. The fairways, greens and bunkers were all superb. I want to make one thing clear: conditions were good for a value course – a round at Hackler starts at $40 – the turf quality and maintenance stood out regardless of price point.
2. The greens at the Hack, particularly on the front nine, are small and offer very few flat putts so make sure your short game is tight before heading to the first tee. While the greens aren’t big, they are smooth and quick.
3. If you aren’t familiar with the layout, buy a yardage book or use a GPS app. There are several hard doglegs, most of them going to the right, so knowing how far and where you want to hit the ball is vital. Matter of fact, holes two and three are nearly 90-degree dogleg rights, giving you an early taste of what’s to come. If you are a long hitter who can play a cut on demand, you can shorten the course; try and fail to hit the shot and much trouble awaits.
4. The most recognizable hole at Hackler is No. 14, a par 4 (pictured right) visible from the road. It’s a representative look at the challenge the course offers. The tee shot on the nearly 90-degree dogleg right must travel through a chute of trees that can make you feel claustrophobic, but the challenge is as much visual as it is physical, same goes for the carry over the water. Hit a good tee shot and a short approach to smallish green awaits.
5. The Hack is consistently one of the area’s most inexpensive tee times and it punches above its weight, especially when conditions are dry.
Nobody is trying to sell you on the idea the Hackler Course is the equal of the Dunes Club, but it’s a good layout and absolutely worth your time to play.