Grass Rollercoasters: Myrtle Beach Golf’s Most Fearsome Greens

With nearly 100 golf courses scattered throughout the Grand Strand’s 60-plus miles of Carolina coastline, a huge variety of design styles is represented. Some courses are tree-lined and shorter, with small and relatively mildly contoured greens while others are more open, with huge, heaving putting surfaces.

Big, undulating greens are great fun to hit into and to putt. The ability to have flags on consecutive days separated by 25 yards or more means that the hole will be approached by players completely differently those two days. Here are a few courses where you will find engaging putting surfaces for your next Myrtle Beach golf trip.

Legends Resort – Heathland Course
Tom Doak has become known as one of the best living golf course architect in the world in recent years, in part because of courses like the Blue Course at Streamsong Resort in Florida and Ballyneal Club in Colorado, both of which are known for their fascinating greens. Before building both of those courses, though, Doak built the Heathland Course at Legends Resort. True to form, it enjoys huge, undulating greens that, combined with the ever-present wind that sweeps the property, make the course play very differently one day to the next. The eighth hole is a perfect example: the scorecard yardage is a mere 150 yards, but the green is some 40 yards deep and 30 yards wide, meaning that a player may need to hit a 135 yard shot one day and a 165 yard shot the next time. Short par threes don’t often have huge greens, but the one at the Heathland course works because of the undulations, which separate the green into smaller individual sections.

True Blue Golf Club
True Blue is one of Mike Strantz’s two solo designs on the Grand Strand. the other, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, is located across the street and could also fit well on this list. But True Blue has the bigger average set of greens and so gets the nod here. It has a number of completely unique putting surfaces, such as the one coming at the end of the 599-yard par five 10th hole. The green hooks from front-left to back-right around a large yawning sandy waste area, but it’s the five-foot rise on the middle-left side of the green that is the eye-catcher. If the pin is in the front, it is possible to hit a ball 20 yards past the hole and watch it roll all the way back down the hill to within 10 feet (or less!) of the hole.

Heritage Club
Heritage was originally designed by developer Larry Young and architect Dan Maples but its greens were later worked on by—you guessed it—Mike Strantz. Heritage has a number of greens that measure upwards of 50 yards from front to back, and the most impressive pair of such putting surfaces comes early in the back nine. The short par four 12th green has a high front section before dropping away dramatically to lower back and left-side zones. Water lurks just a step or two off the back edge of the green, making a wedge shot to a back pin a dicey proposition. Then, the 235-yard par three 13th has a long, kidney-shaped green with a three-foot hump in the middle. Oh, and it also has water just off the front and right sides.

These sorts of courses and their greens should be approached with moderate expectations and a sense of humor. They may make you look silly the first round or two you play them, but their designers meant for them to be the type of courses you play again and again. If you take the time to get to know these greens, you will have more fun than you ever would have expected.

(posted 4/4/14)

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