Back in 2017, when the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel and Myrtle Beach Golf Trips paired up to craft “The Perfect Round”, a compilation of the best 18 holes along the Grand Strand, there was only one opening hole that made the cut.
Willbrook Plantation’s No. 1 was it.
But what Dan Maples did with one of his best local designs was immediately back it up with two more holes that stretch our minds when it comes to what the first 30-40 minutes on a round are supposed to look like. This Lowcountry-style gem is going to keep those vibes going in a variety of ways throughout the 18, of course, but there’s something special about starting with a bang.
NO. 1, PAR 4, 400 YARDS
Maples wanted to test folks off the tee, and he did it in the form of a sub-45-degree dogleg right and a tree just after the bend right off the left side of the fairway. It’s a beautiful look to start the day, of course, but that slender ride of short grass means you’ve got little wiggle room. Just take an easy swing, avoid the breakfast ball and be happy with it. You’re got more opportunities for better roads ahead.(top photo)
NO. 2, PAR 4, 360 YARDS
What is this? A snaking fairway with a double-bunker backstop and water to the right? Yeah, thanks, Maples. One of the more definitive holes of the course comes front and center and forces perfection on the first shot to even tempt the par gods by the time you’re putting. The good news is that if you get through that teed up ball relatively unscathed, and the second and third shots are golden territory.(pictured right)
NO. 3, PAR 5, 520 YARDS
Even when the white tees are shortened slightly, it’s clear that aiming to the left third of the fairway is one of those tips that will pay huge dividends when rounding out the first trifecta at Willbrook. Get there successfully, and you’re a clean long iron and chip shot into the green in regulation. Even when it’s not that simple, you’ll appreciate the simplicity of a hole meant to rack your brain by the distance.(pictured right)