Not so at Willbrook Plantation, one of more than half a dozen Dan Maples-designed courses in the Myrtle Beach area. At 428 yards from the back tee, its opening hole is the longest par 4 on the course and the number-two handicap hole. A dogleg-right that darts between majestic live oaks, it is a great barometer and potential confidence booster if one can manage to escape with a par. But even if not, players can take solace in the fact that a
bear of a hole is out of the way.
The 16 holes in between the aforementioned are pretty good, too. The fifth hole, a 383-yard par 4, is particularly attractive. The fairway runs out into water at around 100 yards from the center of the green, giving players the option to be bold in order to leave a shorter approach to an elevated, quasi-tabletop green. Cross breezes tend to complicate matters on both shots, giving the hole more teeth than it appears to have.
The tension between risk and reward returns again at the 11th, the shortest par 4 on the course. At 336 yards from the tips, a following breeze can give free swingers a chance to drive the ball close to the green. But is it wise? The answer: it depends on the given player’s strength. Two players of similar handicap but different outlook can make birdie on the hole in their own way—one by bashing away and the other by laying up short and right of the left-hand fairway bunkers. In this way, Willbrook’s refusal to pigeonhole a given player allows it to be enjoyable by all.