Course Review: The Avocet course at Wild Wing Plantation



Dark Teal: 7,127 yards/74.5/132

MAGENTA: 6,614 yards/72.2/125

WHITE: 6,028 yards/69.1/116

TEAL: 5,298 yards/70.4/118 (W)

The Avocet opened in 1993 and was designed by the duo of three-time major champion Larry Nelson and former American Society of Golf Course Architects president Jeff Brauer. The

Avocet is simultaneously peaceful, challenging and a great deal of fun for golfers of all handicaps. It presents 18 distinct challenges to golfers, with a few excellent holes that are unique to the Grand Strand area.

Holes to Note

Hole 9 (“Valley of Sin”), par 4, 362/323/299/218—
The closing hole to the front nine affords players to head to the back nine riding a birdie. The landscape is almost lunar, with many chocolate-drop and circular bunkers between the built-up tee area and the green. Confronted by two fairways, the golfer has a choice to make: hit to the higher, narrower left fairway or aim for the right-hand landing area, leaving a semi-blind approach obscured by bunkers and mounds? Take note of the pin placement on the hole, for it may be that the right fairway will provide the better angle. This is because the green is situated amongst an array of smaller mounds that are somewhat reminiscent of the closing hole at the Old Course at St. Andrews. A smart drive and a short iron should set players up for a birdie opportunity, but careless play will lead to bogey or worse.

Hole 12 (“Redan”), par 3, 227/207/166/130—
The longest par 3 on the golf course is named “Redan” after the original hole at North Berwick in Scotland. The 12th is not quite a true Redan hole, but does feature a slope short and left of the green that a player may try to use in order to sling the ball onto the green, avoiding the very deep fronting bunker. The lack of rear bunker and pronounced front-to-back slope in the green preclude the hole from being called a true Redan, but certainly do not keep it from being one of the most attractive and challenging holes on the golf course.

Hole 14 (“Double Dare”), par 4, 308/283/265/221—

So few Grand Strand golf courses have a true drivable par 4. That fact makes this hole all the more special. There are at least five or six different ways to play this hole and make a birdie. The square-shaped green is divided directly down the middle by three small mounds. When the pin is on the left half of the green, it is best to play to the left off the tee. But when the pin is cut on the right half of the green, it may be worth it to attempt to carry a string of fairway bunkers about 70 yards short of the green to a small right-hand fairway, leaving a simple pitch to that side of the green. Trying to access a left pin from the right side and vice versa make the hole much tougher, so it is important to have a definite strategy in mind on the tee. It is a brilliant hole for all players.

Hole 15 (“Cusp”), par 5, 519/476/449/429—
If a player was able to capitalize on the short length of number 14 with a birdie, he or she can make it two in a row on the 15th, a reachable par 5.  But such a quest begins with a confident drive that avoids two fairway bunkers that pinch the fairway at about 250 yards from the green. If one can land a drive at this point, a slope should kick it another 10 yards forward and downhill, leaving a fairway wood to the green. Once again, it is important to know where the pin is before rushing into a shot. A deep swale on the middle-left side of the green will gobble up many shots and funnel them down to a small flat area, leaving an extremely difficult two-putt to any other portion of the green. Whether or not you go for the green in two, this should be avoided if you have your sights set on a birdie.

It was difficult to pick only three holes to highlight in this review, because at least four others could have been included as standout holes at Avocet. In short, it is an impressive golf course.  

The Hummingbird course at Wild Wing is a great foil to the Avocet.  It measures only about 3,000 yards, par-34 from the back tees, making it a great spot to warm up for a week’s golf with your group or a casual nine-hole scramble or alternate-shot competition upon completion of the Avocet course.  It was designed by Willard Byrd.

As a worthy complement to the golf, Wild Wing’s 33,000 square foot clubhouse features all necessary venues for pre- and post-round enjoyment in the form of Wishbones Restaurant, the Players Pub, and a large pro shop.  These facilities complement the Avocet course very nicely. In terms of greens fees, it is a great value. In terms of design quality, it is the equal of many courses that charge significantly more throughout the year. It is also typically in excellent condition, with new MiniVerde Bermuda greens that roll exquisitely. Wild Wing makes a great, reasonably-priced centerpiece venue for any Myrtle Beach golf trip.

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