Saving the best at Myrtle Beach National for last, “The Big Timer” is taking on the biggest risk/reward opportunity at King’s North: the par-5 6th hole, better known as “The Gambler.” Finding the island fairway is one thing, but will it be the right shortcut for Charlie to get the birdie that eluded him at his last stop? Tune in to find out!
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 …
(Somebody clapped. I heard him!)
… 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!
(That’s why they call me “The BIIIIIIIIIIG TIMER!”)
Join me on my journey to break par!
Do you really think we’re going to come here and NOT play “The Gambler?”
We’ve got these two options, play it safe and go around the long way, or take the shortcut through the island fairway and see if we can get home in two and have a shot at eagle.
What do you think we’re going to do here today? Let’s find out!
So here we are at one of the most famous holes in Myrtle Beach. This is the sixth hole at Myrtle Beach National, King’s North, designed by Arnold Palmer. Two other Arnold Palmer courses here on property.
This hole right here, dedicated back in 1996. Kenny Rogers was actually here. It’s called “The Gambler,” and that’s right, you got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em. I’m not going to sing for you but you got to know when to walk away and know when to run.
The thing that makes this hole so cool is there’s an island fairway. It’s a par five. If you go for the island fairway, you can get on it in two, but again, it’s an island so it’s hard to get on that island. You can always lay up and go right.
We’re not going to do that today. We’re going for it. Let’s see what we can get here. I’m going to aim for the fattest part of the island. Oh yeah! That’s going to be dry. We’re going to have a chance to get home in two on “The Gambler!”
I’m running. Got to know when to run. I’m running. Well, I’m walking fast. I’m running! Look at me!
So a lot of people don’t realize, Mr. Palmer, he was a gambler. He would go for it. Saw him do it on the golf course. But a story that a lot of people may not know, there was a gentleman out of Birmingham by the name of Joe Gibbs who was in the TV business, and Mr. Palmer got a chance to meet Mr. Gibbs.
The PGA Championship at Shoal Creek, they were just randomly assigned to stay in Joe Gibbs’ house during the PGA Championship there at Shoal Creek, and they got to be great friends, and Joe Gibbs had this idea, “Hey, we’re going to do a golf network.”
Everybody thought it was crazy. Well, he talked Mr. Palmer into it and Mr. Palmer actually put a lot of his own money into it, which was unusual for him. I mean, why would you put money into something when you’re Arnold Palmer? You just lend your name and get paid for it. But he really believed in it, and quite a few times his business people tried to talk him into backing out of his investment in Golf Channel, and Joe Gibbs told me this story firsthand.
He got called to Orlando, met with Mr. Palmer, all his business advisors, and everyone was saying, “Mr. Palmer, you got to get out. You got to get out. You’re going to lose all this money.” And it got real quiet.
Mr. Palmer looked at the group and said, “Gentlemen, if I hadn’t gone for it as much as I did from out of the trees, none of us would be sitting at this table. I’m in and I don’t want to have a discussion again.” And that’s how Golf Channel got started, on a really big gamble, and I think all of us golf fans are better off for it. So, once again we’re in debt to Arnold Palmer. He was the gambler and all of us golf fans are the winners.
All right, so, I’ve hit the island. That’s victory number one, and I got about 215. That’s a good distance for my 5-wood. This shot’s not quite as scary as a tee shot. Get up! Get up!
Okay. She’s dry. Not in a bunker. Dry. Got an easy pitch. It’s birdie time! All right guys, you follow me on down here where I’m right beside this par five and two. My math is correct, that means I got a chance at eagle.
Now then, I’m a pretty good ways off the green but I’m going to go ahead and putt it anyway. A little bit of downhill, be a little bit of a tough chip. And you see this green, it works in pretty hard from right to left. I’m going to play it out there about 10 feet to the right, and you always want to make sure that when you got a shot at eagle, that you get it to the hole because I’m 55. This might be my last shot I ever get at eagle. I’m getting shorter and shorter.
All right, let’s give her a shot. Get there, get there, get there, get there, get there! Ah! Thought I made that. I got to focus on this birdie.
Man that was cool! What a great morning. Shot at eagle, shot at birdie. I got to end this one with a birdie. There we go. Back on the scoreboard!
Didn’t get the eagle but the birdie still feels pretty good. Never count your money while you’re sitting at the table. That’s all the singing you’re going to get from me. Charlie don’t sing.
Flying high after that one, folks! More adventures ahead as we head next door to the signature design of another PGA TOUR great.