The hunt for Myrtle Beachs Signature Hole
Myrtle Beach golf courses are chock full of them. And, interestingly enough, the concept of a 'signature hole' is considered by many golf architecture historians to have been born in Myrtle Beach at the Dunes Golf and Beach Club. Robert Trent Jones' famous 'Waterloo' hole, a par 5 that wraps around Lake Singleton just off the Atlantic Ocean, is the first known hole purpose built to stick out like a sore (well, a very scenic 'sore') thumb.
Today's definition of a 'signature hole' lies, depending on your tastes, somewhere between the best-designed, most drama-laden, most difficult or most scenic hole on any golf course.
There are roughly 100 golf courses in Myrtle Beach, and most of them have tried to employ their own offering as Myrtle Beach's best golf hole.
Here is just a sample of the headliners:
King's North at Myrtle Beach NationalNo. 6, King's North at Myrtle Beach National: Any worthy signature hole has a nickname. In this instance, No. 6 at King's North was christened by musician Kenny Rogers as 'The Gambler,' thanks to its island fairway that allows the hole to be played close to 100 yards shorter than the conventional dogleg left around the water. The shallow, peninsula green leaves little room for error both front, long and left. For some golfers, it makes their trip. Others call it 'gimmicky,' but no one deems it guilty of false advertising.
This isn't the only contender at King's North. The par-3 12th hole features an island green with 'S' and 'C' bunkers to the left, symbolizing 'South Carolina,' making it a popular favorite spot for aerial photographers.
No. 18, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club: Caledonia's 18th hole is the best closing hole on the Grand Strand thanks largely to its 19th hole.
The club has become infamous for its often rowdy back porch just steps off the 18th green. As players finish up their morning rounds, the porch fills up, and groups tend to stay here longer than most other clubhouses due to the entertainment provided by the 18th hole's approach shot: a long carry over water that sees one wet, embarrassing failure after another. Jeers and cheers echo off the porch long into late afternoon.
Of all the shots in the Grand Strand, this is the one that will most likely be watched by the most eyes and will certainly test your mettle.
No. 13, Pawleys Plantation: Pawleys' back nine hugs the marsh so close you'll always have the smell of saltwater in your nostrils. Both the par 3s on the back must carry marsh, but it's the short 13th's island green, with a miniscule putting surface jutting out into the marsh, that will have your group talking - or cursing.
And when the tide is out, you can see enough balls sitting in the muck to stock a golf shop for years.
No. 14, Grande Dunes' Resort Course: A handful of courses boast at least one striking hole along the bustling Intracoastal waterway, where anything from jet skis to fishing and luxury leisure boats pass by parallel golf holes at clubs like Arrowhead Country Club, Waterway Hills Golf Links and Myrtlewood Golf Club's Palmetto Course.
But the most distinctive is Grande Dunes' par-3 14th hole. It's a daring shot both over the waterway to a green perched to the left of it - up to 240 yards long if you're a gamer. A weak fade's only hope of finding dry surface is if it somehow lands on a shrimp boat.
No. 16, Glen Dornoch Waterway Golf Links: If your personal thesaurus has 'signature' and 'difficult' in the same entry, look no further than Glen Dornoch's 16th hole, which kicks off the North Strand's most sinister trio of finishing holes. It heads straight downhill towards the waterway. Depending on your length, a delicate layup is required to stay short of a perpendicular hazard.
The approach shot plays further downhill, to a green guarded left, right and back by the waterway. Often requiring a medium-to-long iron, few golfers move on to 17 with 4.
No. 6, Barefoot Resort, Love Course: Barefoot went out of its way here to leave a little something extra, recreating slave quarters behind the sixth green. In fact, the structure is so close to this drivable par 4, it isn't unheard of to actually fly the green with your drive, strike the structure and have it kick backwards onto the green.
While this structure is replicated, other courses have authentic plantation remnants. Willbrook Plantation is full of excavated slave ruins and even a cemetery. The Heritage Golf Club's 440-yard fourth is completely encircled with centuries-old oaks and a slave burial ground to the left of the green, which leaves little evidence of anytime later than the 18th century.
No. 18, Farmstead Golf Club: If 'signature' means 'longest,' this hole is the hands-down winner. Those who haven't been to the Grand Strand aren't often aware that there are some golf courses that spill over across the border in North Carolina. But there is only one golf course that plays in both South and North Carolina and only one hole that plays in both. It's Farmstead's endless 767-yard par 6.
That's just a sample of some of the area's most vivid holes. But in the end, it comes down to what the golfer remembers when he's with his buddies a year later in the poker room and the topic of his 'trip to Myrtle' comes up.
So what's yours?
by Brandon Tucker, WorldGolf.com
Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.
Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.
“I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”
Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.
To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.
“More punishment,” he said.
DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.
Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.
Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.
Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.
It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.
With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.
Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.
TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:
• Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.
• This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.
• Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery.
• In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”
• At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.
• Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.
• My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.
Woods fires shot into crowd: 'I kept moving them back'
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It added up to another even-par round, but Tiger Woods had an eventful Friday at The Open.
His adventure started on the second hole, when he wiped a drive into the right rough. Standing awkwardly on the side of a mound, he prepared for a quick hook but instead fired one into the crowd that was hovering near the rope line.
“I kept moving them back,” he said. “I moved them back about 40 yards. I was trying to play for the grass to wrap the shaft around there and hit it left, and I was just trying to hold the face open as much as I possibly could. It grabbed the shaft and smothered it.
“I was very, very fortunate that I got far enough down there where I had a full wedge into the green.”
Woods bogeyed the hole, one of four on the day, and carded four birdies in his round of 71 at Carnoustie. When he walked off the course, he was in a tie for 30th, six shots off the clubhouse lead.
It’s the first time in five years – since the 2013 Open – that Woods has opened a major with consecutive rounds of par or better. He went on to tie for sixth that year at Muirfield.