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Art's MB Tour 4/25-5/10,2019
MYRTLE BEACH -- TRIP REPORT 4/25-5/10, 2019
INTRO: This trip was my spring group trip and days as a single. Writing some
notes each night, helps a lot to remember more of the details.
TRAVEL: My drive from Delaware is around 9.5 hours, with lunch and rest
stops. I used the 95-40-140-17-57-9-31 route.
HOTEL: We stayed at Ocean Reef. I prefer this quieter area of MB (71 Ave N),
being near restaurants and between everything else. The breakfast buffet is
good, a time saver and a convenient meeting place.
SPRING GROUP: I have been going to MB since 1978. We started this group with all
East coast guys PA/NJ/DE in 1998. One guy invited his brother from CA, who later
invited some CA friends. We grew to as many as 16. Lately we have had 9-12 on the trip.
This trip we had 12; 7 from CA and 5 from DE/NJ.
GOLF: (Ratings added at the end)
Thursday 4/25 -- CROWN PARK:
It was 9 years since I played CP and my first round here since a new Chinese owner
bought it a few years ago. I played with S***H and UGP. CP is much improved over a
few years ago. Greens were good. It's a nice warmup course for budget to midlevel trips.
It's a short, tricky, course where you don't always need a driver. Has Tifeagle greens,
some with lots of slope. Its not scenic, has mostly tree lined holes and no housing.
There are some fun holes, but overall it's not a difficult course. The clubhouse is nice.
Friday 4/26 -- PANTHERS RUN:
I played with S***H and a friend on a 3 round trip. The new in 2018 Tifeagle greens
were good. The rest of PR was in good condition. PR plays easier than the other Big Cats.
It is fairly forgiving, so a good warmup, pleasant to play, but not very memorable.
Play PR first if on a Big Cat package. I like the back 9 better, which was built a year after
the front 9 and the back 9 is Tim Cate's first solo work.
This course often single tees, but doesn't have to.
Saturday 4/27 -- TRADITION CLUB:
I played with the 3 round friend and we were paired with a twosome from Vermont.
We wanted to see the New Sunday hybrid bermuda greens. The greens were great,
but still mostly overseed. Rest of course was in good condition. They have a well
organized bag drop. Course is pine tree lined, fairly wide fairways and tight fairways,
some waste areas, little water, two island greens. The par 5 #14 is a pretty good
replica of Augusta #15, but not advertised as that. There are a number of holes with
housing, but they are not close.
Saturday 4/27 -- INDIGO CREEK:
VISIT Only! It has been 6 years since my last round here. I am only Visiting to see
the New in 2018 Sunday Hybrid bermuda greens and hopefully save myself from
playing here, to check them out. Checking the putting green and the 18th green, I saw
that they were not overseeded and the hybrid growth was behind all
other courses on my trip. They also had a lot of quarter sized crabgrass spots in the greens.
It's still a dumpy looking place. Not recommended.
Sunday 4/28 -- DIAMOND BACK:
I played with the 3 round friend and UGP. The new in 2018 Sunday hybrid greens
were good. The rest of the course had nice conditions. The current GM/Pro has put
a lot of effort into DB. Located 16 miles out Rt 9 from Rt 31, which is 10 miles past
Long Bay. All holes are tree lined, many holes are tight and small ponds dot some
of the holes. It's 5691 from the Middle/SR tees, 6405 from the Back/White tees and
6900 from the Champ tees. There are some interesting holes, challenging par 5's and
very little housing. While a number of MB courses have added tarps for the greens in
freezing weather, I actually saw them here stored behind greens, in the woods.
Other courses must have them put away for the season.
Monday 4/29 -- MYRTLEWOOD (PINE HILLS):
I played with 2 guys from Phila. It's been 11 years since my last round here.
I am back to see the New in 2018 Sunday hybrid bermuda greens. The greens were
still overseeded, but putted great. Good conditions were everywhere, improved under FGI.
Pine Hills is a traditional style that is open off many tees, but position is important.
Its not very long or difficult, making it a good warmup course. Most of the water is to
the side and sometimes not visible from the tee. This is a Arthur Hills design.
The back 9 is more challenging, with more difficult green complexes, so start
on #1 if you can.
COMMENT: Warmup is over.
Tuesday 4/30 -- THE DUNES:
I played with 2 brothers visiting from different southern states. They booked The Dunes
2 days in a row. Range balls were provided. The course was in great condition everywhere.
The Champions greens were perfect, also firm and fast. With the firm fast greens,
there can be some pins you can't get near. On many holes you are better off being on
the upslope short of the green, than bouncing over the green, with a chip you maybe
can't stop. The bunkers are the best maintained in MB.
The bunkers got the Billy Bunker system in 2018, to help them drain, but that doesn't
appear to change the way they play for golfers. I did notice that the rebuilt fairway
bunkers are farther out, affecting the par 5 #4 the most. If you can carry those 2 bunkers
on #4 (harder now), you can reach the green in 2, but like myself and most I have played
with, odds are you will be in the water more often than on the green in two.
The white tees are 6175 yards, but a bunch of holes have landing areas into a upslope,
so it plays longer. The greens are elevated, so there are no bounce ups. The wooded
areas are cleaned out, so finding balls in the woods is easy, helping the pace of play
and reducing penalties. On Waterloo par 5 #13, I feel it's better to hit your tee shot
further down the fairway (staying left of red stakes), for a better angle across the
water to advance further up the fairway, rather than taking an iron and trying to
play near the water from the tee. Hole #13 is usually a good gator viewing hole, with
some big ones, but for some reason they were not out on a nice sunny day.
The course has new restrooms and the pro shop is renovated.
Wednesday 5/1 -- KINGS NORTH:
I thought that I had booked with a twosome, but apparently they added me to a big group.
Later UGP got himself added to my foursome. The starter had us play as a twosome.
Good conditions, good overseed on everything still growing at this time.
There is good room off the tee, you can see most hazards. You need good club selection
on most iron shots, to carry front water or bunkers and to get makable or 2puttable putts
on the undulating greens. There is no housing, a lot of fun unique signature holes and
you can score if you play well or get beat up if you don't.
Each 9 starts off with 2 basic holes, but the rest of each 9 is so good. KN is one of my
favorites to play and I play it on most trips. On The Gambler par 5, shorter hitters can
use the island, then play back to the fairway, to make it a shorter hole.
The long way around isn't a whole lot more forgiving. If it's CPO, skip the island, unless
you are going to walk the island carrying your clubs. When approaching the green from
the island, you need middle of the green yardage just to carry the water on the right half
of the green. Also watch for water behind the green, especially if approaching from the
Thursday 5/2 -- BAREFOOT DYE:
Range balls and GPS on carts were provided. I played with UGP and 1Putt1.
Conditions and greens were excellent. As long as BF Dye hosts the MAM, it should
be one of the top conditioned courses in the spring.
We played White tees at 6005 yards, which is all most need here.
The par 3 15th hole is one of the most difficult par 3's in MB, both long and protected.
Many bunkers/waste areas add intimidation with tricks to fool your eyes.
The fairways are reasonably wide, left and/or right are waste areas, pot bunkers, water.
On many holes, the waste areas are at angles to the tee, so you have to decide how much
you can carry. Some pot bunkers and mounds are just for show and start right next to
the first tee. The Dye course is primarily for low handicap or avid golfers. The 18th hole
is modeled after the TPC Sawgrass #18, at least as good as a World Tour replica. If a hole
is shorter or easier on BF Dye, the green is smaller. I feel the more I play here
the better I like it. The par 5's are the easiest holes.
Friday 5/3 -- Thunder storm brewing, took day off. Not much rain after-all.
Saturday 5/4 -- TIDEWATER:
I played with 2 other singles. Range balls were provided. Premium touch screen
GPS is on the cart. Can touch a spot to get yardage to it. The tees, fairways and
bunkers were all in good condition. The mini-verde greens were fair with some bad
and sodded spots on the edge of some. They still putted fine, but they should be
better at this price level. Green speed was medium and it appeared that the growth
coming out of dormancy was behind other courses.
The scorecard has a good choice of a White/Green course at 6031 yards, with the 9
hardest rated holes being green tees. White is 6323, Green is 5734. The par 3 Hole #9
is a lot like Augusta #16, but with a marsh instead of a pond.
The par 4 dogleg left hole #18 is very difficult, where even a good drive will leave
about a 175-200 yard 2nd shot, possibly with a pine tree in the way. Try to drive it as
close to the far marsh as possible, rather than just past the deceiving corner.
Sunday 5/5 -- RIVERS EDGE:
Three of my Spring group arrive a day early and I join them at Rivers Edge.
One is a RE property owner, who bought a RE lot right after I brought him there in 2000.
He gets us his property owner guest rate of $39 and he gets a few free rounds per year
for himself. During the summer of 2015, RE replaced the paspalum greens with a hybrid
named Sunday, which is older than the newer hybrids in use around MB and has a good
history. Sunday hybrid greens are now popular around MB, during recent upgrades.
The new in Sept 2015 Sunday hybrid bermuda greens look and play like other hybrids
around MB. The Greens had very good turf, plush, dark green, but were very
slow, too slow to be fun, probably about a 6 stimp. Looks like they never roll them.
They still look smooth, so it's hard to make yourself hit putts harder.
Tree removal areas are roots and dirt, so lots of bare ground on the fairway side of
chewed up cart paths. The new AstroTurf red + white tees on the par 3 #15 are better
than dirt, but just seem wrong on a course. They have no choice when they were not
allowed to take a few more yards of the precious marsh. For restrooms, hit the
clubhouse at #5 tee and they still only have a Johnny on #13 tee.
GROUP PHASE: The rest of my Spring group of 12 arrives for the next 5 days.
This is our group's 20th anniversary, so we are playing premium golf, although the
group has evolved into mostly premium golf.
Monday 5/6 -- RIVERS EDGE:
Property owner guest rate again. All comments the same as above. The holes were in
the same spots as yesterday, but the grass was not worn around the holes, showing
how durable this Sunday Hybrid grass is. The greens were mowed again, but still very slow.
Tuesday 5/7 -- THE DUNES:
Same comments as earlier. Gators still not out on #13. Lunch in the guest grill is good.
Wednesday 5/8 -- TPC:
Range balls were included. Conditions were excellent everywhere. New bunkers very good.
The mini-verde greens were smooth and fast. The white tees are recommended for most.
The white tees are now where they were designed to be.
The previous management had the white tees at the SR position and Blue at the
white position. If you have not been to TPC in a few years and used to play Blue, you will
be in for a surprise, if you play Blue again. There are 3 forced carries from the tee, that
will help confirm if you are playing the proper tees. IMO the carry on #15 is a bad design,
since playing safe to the right puts you behind trees.
TPC is challenging, but still fair, unless maybe you are a beginner. Much of the challenge
is the green complexes, where most of the greens require accurate approach shots.
It is a difficult course to scramble around the greens. Hole #9 is a brutal long uphill par 4,
designed like a par 5. Houses are now left of the lake on #18.
Thursday 5/9 -- CALEDONIA:
Conditions were excellent everywhere. The champions bermuda greens were perfect,
except for some spots on the edge of some greens. Everything was groomed and landscaped
very nicely, as it should be at this price level.
At a par 70, it plays like a course 400 yards longer, if 2 holes were extended to make
it a par 72, so be careful what tees you play. There are some real long holes mixed with
some short holes, so the length is very deceiving. This is a very attractive course, without
the aid of non-golf scenery. The drive in will impress first timers.
With the huge undulating greens, there will always be some challenging pin positions.
When Booking, ask to find a day and time that allows you to start on #1.
Friday 5/10 -- PRESTWICK:
The greens were great, with good speed. The fairway + tee overseed was gone, but bermuda
was only about halfway grown in. They either have not watered fairways/tees or didn't have
much overseed on them to start with, so fairways were fairly brown, but greens were great.
This Pete and PB Dye design has a Country club atmosphere, with a mix of wide and
narrow fairways. The primary challenge is around the small to medium sized
greens, surrounded by pot bunkers, waste areas, mounds, water, etc.
It has a links look, but with trees. The Dyes included some forgiving holes, so it's
not all out Dye on every hole. Holes 9 and 18 play around a big lake, heading into
COURSE RATING SUMMARY: (Rating scale of 1-10 within MB, with 10 = best in MB)
10 (Outstanding) > The Dunes - TPC - Kings North - BF Dye - Tidewater - Caledonia
9 (Excellent) > Rivers Edge
8 (Very Good) > Prestwick
7 (Good) > Tradition
6 (Above Average) > Panthers Run - Pine Hills
5 (Average) > Crown Park - Diamond Back
4 (Below Average) > Indigo Creek
GREENS RATING SUMMARY: (Quality/smoothness/decent speed, not the actual stimp)
10 (Outstanding) > The Dunes - TPC - BF Dye - Prestwick
9 (Excellent) > Tradition - Caledonia
8 (Very Good) > Pine Hills - Kings North
7 (Good) > Crown Park - Panthers Run - Diamond Back - Tidewater
6 (Above Average)> Rivers Edge (About what they stimped)
5 (Average) >
4 (Below Average)> Indigo Creek
RESTAURANTS: (In no particular order)
Flamingo Grill, Boundary House, Capricco, Rapone, Boardwalk Billys, Bonefish, Norman's.
All were good.
CALIF DREAMING: Same company and menu as Carolina Roadhouse, less crowded.
The salad that comes with dinner is very good.
HOOK and BARREL: Seafood and Bar. Has some meat also.
Everything is said to be fresh and was. Fish off the boat in Murrell's. Entrees in the
$28-30 range, with 2 sides, but pay for a optional salad.
Corner of 82nd Parkway and 17 business.
CLARKES: At little River marina. More upscale than Boundary House, which they also own.
ABUELOS + BURRO LOCO: I had guys find them closed on Cinco, so they appear closed down.
FIRE and SMOKE: Was the favorite of the group dinners. Premium food and price.
Not very big and now popular, so reservation recommended.
LUIGI'S: Italian, located on 61st St, near Food Lion.
SANDWICHES/SUBS: I only list these if I find a good new place.
THOUGHTS - OBSERVATIONS - INFORMATION:
- Glenns Bay road overpass on 17 has been completed.
- Traffic going south of MB, seems to increase every year, more than going north.
Allow extra time going south and anywhere PM.
- Rt 140 is done between Rt 17 and Rt 40, for those who like that route.
- I visited TopGolf, just to look around. It's very nice. It wasn't busy.
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Art thanks for sharing another great report. We will be down the first week of June and will be playing several of the courses you have reported on. I will be playing some with UCP we have 12 players this year. Will be bring 6 new players this year last year had 5 new players all from Texas 10 from our local course. We are playing 8 courses this year again. Trip will follow when we get back.