Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Course Review: The Witch of Myrtle Beach

Just returned from a week-long golf vacation in Myrtle Beach. After recovering from the long drive, it is time to start the blog reviews from the trip.

The first course I played in Myrtle Beach was The Witch. The course is built right into the woods and swampland and could not have had a better view. For winter, the course was in amazing shape. Hole number one is a scenic par 4 that doglegs right and gets the course off to a great start. There were really no bad holes throughout the entire course.

The first par 3 on the front nine, number 3, is a memorable hole, with swampland in front of the green and right of the hole. You must make a quality shot to get the ball close and have a chance for birdie or even a par.

The par 5s on the front nine also make the course tough but enjoyable. They are very tough to reach in 2 from the back tees, but a solid layup gives you the opportunity for a birdie after a wedge shot from the fairway.

My favorite hole on the front nine had to be the par 3 7th hole. Playing at 186 from the back tees, this hole took a solid shot to reach the green. Once on the green, the slope was extreme from back to front and made the hole even tougher.

The finishing hole on the front nine, a medium length par 4, took all the skill in the world to make 2 good shots. The fairway was completely surrounded by wetlands and the green also had wetlands in front. Though not a long hole, it was definitely not the birdie opportunity I thought it would be.

Making the turn to the back nine, you start off with a straightforward par 4 that gives you a little break. The following hole is a longer par 5 that is reachable, and is the only hole on the golf course where you have any contact with the outside world. The main highway runs along the right side of the hole.

The 12th is the longest par 3 on the course, measuring just under 200 yards to the green. It is a pretty safe hole and takes a good long iron to make the green.

The final par 5 on the course is also the shortest par 5. A good drive makes the hole reachable in two shots, which I was able to do with a 4 iron the final time I played the hole. It is completely surrounded by woods, so a good drive is vital to not make a huge number.

The next three holes give an opportunity to make a couple birdies, with a short par 3 and two medium length par 4s. The final par three on the golf course is one of my favorite holes on the back nine. Straight downhill and playing just under 180, this hole plays more for a short iron due to the elevation change. Make sure you avoid the bunker short right and everything usually will funnel towards the hole location. I was able to stick a shot to 12 feet, but this undulating green makes for difficult putts throughout.

The finishing hole on the course is another masterful design. The tee shot must find the fairway on the downhill dogleg left hole. The second shot is to an elevated green that is masked by the clubhouse in the background. It is a great way to end a great course in Myrtle Beach.

All in all, this Dan Maples design makes for a tough test for most golfers. You need to have your A game for most shots, as trouble lurks everywhere on the course. The scenery with the wetlands, pointed tree stumps, and wildlife makes for an excellent setting for the golf course. The pro shop is stocked with logo merchandise, and the snackbar provides excellent food and beverages (beer and softdrinks) at a reasonable price.

If you are heading to Myrtle Beach, I would definitely consider The Witch as a stop.

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