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Myrtle Beach National – West Course: It’s Ok to be Runner-up to the King

One of three courses that make up the Arnold Palmer-designed Myrtle Beach National, the West Course provides a challenge to golfers of all levels, but doesn’t quite live up to the signature King’s North Myrtle Beach National Course. Rounding out the trio, SouthCreek is a 4-star course that’s challenging, but short, when compared to the open, natural beauty of the West course.

The Course
With natural sightlines and no housing in view, the West Course winds through the woods, yet provides an open layout for players. Playing at nearly 6,900 yards from the tips, the track presents a solid challenge to big hitters. The openness of the course allows bombers to swing away relatively freely. Another aspect that makes the course more playable for the average golfer and, perhaps, less challenging for the low handicapper is that the front of most greens are unprotected. When playing in dry conditions, it’s very possible to run the ball onto the green on many holes. Back-to-front sloping greens, however, bring strategy back into the mind’s of advanced players, especially when considering pin placements. The last thing you want at the well-manicured greens of Myrtle Beach National West is a downhill 50 foot-putt, as visions of a three-putt will surely dance in your head. Intriguingly, the course closes with a long 221-yard par 3 with water along the entire left side of the hole, which leads to the only major gripe on the course.

While it’s hard to complain too much about a 4.5 star-rated course by Golf Digest, Myrtle Beach National West could approach 5-star status if water hazards were more thoughtfully located. The hazards on most holes appear to be more for show than for penalizing poor play, and perhaps this is by design, as the course is more accessible to all types of players. Golfers looking for a real challenge are unlikely to hear the dreaded splash as water will only swallow especially wayward shots.

The Experience
Myrtle Beach National West is an above average course in the Grand Strand area. From friendly starters and staff to well-trimmed fairways and Mini Verde Bermuda greens, the course offers the amenities both vacationers and locals expect from a top-class course. With 36 additional holes of Arnold Palmer-designed layouts there for the taking at the South Creek and King’s North courses, golfers have a variety of holes to attack. The groundskeepers have done a solid job in keeping the course in good shape, especially when you consider the harsher than usual winter in the Myrtle Beach area.

The Verdict
For golfers that want the biggest challenge at Myrtle Beach National, they will likely gravitate toward King’s North. But for those who have an opportunity to play more than one of the courses, the natural beauty, open fairways and friendly staff make the West Course a worthy runner-up.

(posted 5/6/14)

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