Tag Archives: Myrtle Beach National

Hidden Gem Found in Myrtle Beach!

Just returned from a week on the Grand Strand with my wife.  This was a fabulous beach vacation and not a golf getaway, but the clubs are an essential accoutrement for any journey to South Carolina, and mine were in the SUV.  We arrived to some beautiful weather on Saturday, September 12 and after four straight days planted in my beach chair, I was ready for some action.  On Wednesday, I headed over to Barefoot for a couple hours of practice and was feeling pretty good about my game.

Squall in Hurricane Sally

Hurricane Sally had come ashore in Alabama and was supposed to visit the area on Thursday so I set out to find a tee time for Friday.  My only criteria; the course couldn’t be too far from our condo in North Myrtle Beach, and I didn’t want to spend over $100.  So, I booked a 1:00 pm time at Myrtle Beach National – Kings North.   This is an Arnold Palmer design and is one of my favorite tracks.  The greens fee was $50 which is about the best value you’re going to find for a course of this caliber.

As scheduled, Sally ripped through the area on Thursday afternoon/evening and produced an awesome lightning show and tons of rain.  On Friday, I drove to the course and found one of the nines on Kings North was under water and closed.  They offered to let me play the open nine twice or rebook on South Creek.  MBN has 54 holes and I had played Kings North about five times.  I had replayed once on the  West course and thought it rather ho-hum so I agreed to try South Creek.  What a delight!

South Creek, photo from GolfAdvisor

With all the rain, we were playing cart path only.  This was a day where wedge shots were exploding foot long divots and caking your legs with mud.  But I loved the track.  South Creek plays about 6,400 from the blues but I moved up a set on the front nine because it was so wet.  You need to drive it straight out here, and I did, but couldn’t get anything going with my irons or putter and shot a four-over 40.  I was by myself and following a twosome and raced around the front in 1.5 hours.  When I got to the 10th tee, I found the last of three threesomes the pro shop had sent out to start on the back.  A little perturbed, I asked the starter what he recommend I do and he told me to skip 10 and 11 and start my back nine on 12.  I rolled up to the tee and joined the twosome that had also received the same instructions.

These two were a father and son combination, with the boy playing a practice round for a 16-18 year-old junior tournament scheduled for South Creek over the next two days.  Dad was playing the whites, but the son was playing the blues, and clearly had a lot of game, so I backed up and played the blues with him.  This kid was busting it past me but for some reason, joining him elevated my concentration level and I carded an even par 36 on the back.  What a weird phenomenon: some kind of focus switch engaged in my mind as I played with the better player.  It reminded me a similar situation a couple years back when I was out for a round on my local muni and a couple young pros from the course joined me on the first hole.  They were pounding it 50 yards past me off the tee, but that same switch went off and I elevated my concentration and played great.  I wonder what causes this?  Has this ever happened to you?

So, I finished my round playing 10 and 11 and after ending with a birdie, realized how much fun I just had.  This was primarily because I was driving the ball so well, but I loved the golf course.  I also realized how straight you have to be to score, and how penal it could get.  The greens fee was $43 and I was tickled pink with the great value.  I will definitely be back to play South Creek at the next opportunity.  You should consider adding this course to your play list next time down.

Play well!

Sunrise at North Myrtle Beach

Kings North – Course Review

Summary

#12 green at Kings North
#12 green at Kings North

On May 27, 2013, I got my first look at Kings North at Myrtle Beach National Golf Club and I loved what I saw.  Kings North is one of three Arnold Palmer designs at MBN and is the high end play.  SouthCreek and The West Course are the other two and we opted for a replay on Kings after our scheduled 18 because we enjoyed it so much.  Kings was built in 1973 and fully refurbished in 1996.

We found Kings in excellent condition from tee to green with the Crenshaw bentgrass surfaces rolling medium-slow but very smooth.  When you play Kings, several holes stick out in your mind which is an indicator of an excellent playing experience.  #6 is their signature hole known as The Gambler and is a par-5 with an island fairway left off the tee.  When this hole is playing into the wind, don’t gamble on the island route because you need to hit it deep enough into the island to get a shorter iron to go for it in two.  The green, which sits on a peninsula, is a water carry from either the island rout or the conventional fairway on the right and the gamble on the tee shot is just not worth it.

On the tee at The Gambler
On the tee at The Gambler

The par three 12th hole (pictured earlier) is a drop dead beautiful island green that plays to 129 yards from the gold tees and is somewhat reminiscent of #17 at TPC at Sawgrass with regard to the length and size of landing area.  If the pin is cut middle right and you are left, the downhill putt breaks much harder to the left than it looks and is fast.

#5 pictured below is a lovely short par-4 with a massive bunker fronting the green that you do not want to be in.  It’s 220 yards to clear the left fairway bunker which is the best play off the tee and will leave you with a wedge shot in.  Long is safer on this hole.

Front bunker protecting #5
Front bunker protecting #5

What’s great about this course is that #1 and #10 are benign par-5 holes that allow the golfer to get off to a good start and that’s appreciated on this tough but beautiful track.

Value (4.0 out of 5.0)

Our greens fees were included in the golf package but normally run $72 in the morning and $50 after 12:00 noon.  We opted for that $50 afternoon rate and were told that was the replay rate.  You can book an afternoon time for $50 so there really is no replay rate.  In any case, we elected to replay Kings North in-lieu of the $30 replay at either of the sister courses, as Kings was just too good to pass up another play on.  Range balls were $4.00 for a small basket and the balls were of good quality.

Facilities (3.75 out of 5.0)

The clubhouse and pro shop were large and well appointed.  There were two medium-large practice putting greens adjacent to the clubhouse but chipping was discouraged there.  The driving range had about 20-25 all grass hitting stations that were in good condition.  The bag drop-off and cart staging area was right out front and were easy to access from the parking lot, clubhouse, and driving range.

Customer Experience (3.25 out of 5.0)

We were one of the first groups to arrive at the course but were running a little short on time for a warm-up.  The guys at the bag drop were a bit slow to load our bags on carts for the short trip to the driving range, but the delay was only for a few minutes.  Still, you expected a little snappier service from a club of this caliber.  The proshop staff were businesslike but not overly friendly.  We were visited regularly on the course by the food and beverage cart which was appreciated.

On this day, I shot an 84 and an 86 from the gold tees which measured 6,481 yards (71.4/130).  Overall, this was a very delightful experience and I would highly recommend Kings North.

Overall Rating (3.75 out of 5.0)