This trip “across the pond” doesn’t require a transatlantic flight. “The Big Timer” is actually headed next door to Man O’ War’s sister course, The Wizard, for his second straight Dan Maples challenge. Charlie’s taking on a finishing hole again; let’s see if he can conquer The Wizard’s par-4 18th!
Cancer knocked me down, but not out. Now, I’m cancer free. The recovery? It’s been tough. I’ll need patience, a lot of humor …
(Beware of them aglitators.)
… And support from friends and family. Over the last two years, I haven’t played much golf, but there’s no better place to get back in the game than on 66 courses in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We’re keeping score, but just teeing it up means I’ve already won!
(Look at that, the big man’s on the board!)
Join me on my journey to break par!
Let’s head across the pond, shall we? In this case, we’re going from sister course Man O’ War to his next door neighbor at The Wizard. And what a finishing hole we have here, a par four with plenty of length and a forced carry over water to a peninsula green. It’s the perfect conclusion to a golf experience that gives you a one-of-a-kind Scottish feel from start to finish.
So I’m standing on the 18th tee at The Wizard Golf Club, and this is a magical place (See what I did there? The crew, they love it. They love it. They’re dying right now! All right, let me get back on track.)
We are centrally located right in the middle of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This golf course was designed by Dan Maples. He’s a legend among architects and what he tried to pull off here is giving this golf course a Scottish Highlands feel, and he certainly did that. There are some really cool places here with some big sand mounds that are covered with vegetation. It looks a lot like Gorse and oh yeah, the clubhouse, it’s a really cool castle. And the most important part, bentgrass greens here. That’s a rarity in Myrtle Beach and also pretty much anywhere in the Southeast and they’re always in very good shape. This is 18th, it’s a par four, I’m going to go to the left edge of the castle.
That’s a plus right there. I know I’m casting a spell on you out here today. I look a lot like Harry Potter, don’t I? So this 18-hole is really cool, they got a castle, I like that castle. I played some golf in Scotland, and Ireland, where you play out of a castle like that. It’s always a lot of fun. If you’re on a golf course and they got a castle, you’re in a special place.
It’s really neat how Man O’ War is just across the lake and it has obviously, I don’t know what you’d call that theme, marina type theme? And then the castle right here, they look at each other. Golf courses by the same designer, Dan Maples, who’s really done some creative work in different places all over the years. Great design family, the Maples family. So not my best drive here. Got a little underneath it, caught it up in the heel, peeled off into the wind, something like that. It’s leaving me about 190 yards, I got a good line in the right rough. I’m going to ignore that flag. I’m going to go right in the middle of this green. Get up a little baby. I hope it went in that bunker, if it went that bunker, I’m going to show you how good I am. See, I got all of these wedges in here. Four of them.
I got a long bunker shot. The mistake that people make is they always grab their lob wedge, 60 degrees to hit a bunker shot. No, no, no, no, no. I’d have to swing so hard at that, if I hit it thin, it’d be out of here. This bunker shot I got that’s long like this, I’m going to go with my 50 and that’s going to allow me to get the distance I need without having to swing really hard at it. Almost hit it fat on purpose and let it come out low and run some.
Don’t be using your lob wedge all the time out of these bunkers. Might hurt somebody if you do that. All right? When you go in a bunker, take the rake with you and always walk in the low point. Don’t ever try to climb across a bunker face. You do a lot of damage to the golf course if you do that. So this is a long bunker shot. It’s sitting down a little bit. I’ve got my 50. I’m a almost try and hit it fat on purpose, come out low and it’ll make it run. See, that’s going to get all the way up to the hole.
If I’d have played that same shot with my lob wedge, I’d be swinging so hard at it. This wouldn’t be very comfortable. I got another tip for you. And park your cart way up there and you come in to hit a shot. Don’t do like I did, I forgot my putter. Now I got to walk back and get it. That’s not good.
So they, whoever they is, always say, “Let’s break towards water.” I’m on a peninsula green, there’s water everywhere. So that theory sort of goes out here. What I like to do is imagine this green had two or three feet of water on it, you pull the plug, which way would it drain? It looks to me like that water would drain right through here. So I’m guessing this putt’s got just a touch of left in it. A little more left in it than I thought, but I got the general break right, and that’s all right. Every now and then, it’s okay to make a bogey. This is a good hole right here, especially if it plays into the wind like it was today. So I can live with that.
Okay, back down to earth, that’s all right. We’ll get ’em next time. Come on along as we head up near the state line for our next stop!