Charlie’s Classic Dye Clash at Prestwick: “Breaking Par with Charlie Rymer” Episode 60

This “Breaking Par” visit brings Charlie Rymer to Prestwick Country Club, the Pete and P.B. Dye-designed masterpiece that prominently features a signature element common to Dye Family designs in Myrtle Beach: 9th and 18th holes that each wrap dramatically around the same body of water. “The Big Timer” takes on the par-5 9th here: will it result in success on the scorecard?




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 …

(I don’t even have a writer!)

… 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!

(I’m gonna show you all the best par you’ve ever seen after that one!)

Join me on my journey to break par!

Visual intimidation is a common theme of a Pete Dye or a P.B. Dye golf course, and this hole is certainly no different. Number nine here at Prestwick has water running up the entire left side. If you challenge that trouble and succeed, it opens up some real scoring opportunities. Miss right, and it immediately becomes a three-shot hole.

So this is Prestwick Country Club. We’re centrally located right in the middle of Myrtle Beach. This is classic Pete Dye golf. It was designed by Pete Dye and his son P.B. Dye, and it’s got all of the things you would expect at a Pete Dye golf course. It’s got railroad ties, it’s got pot bunkers, it’s got cool little humps and bumps all over the place, and it’s visually intimidating off the tee.

And that’s what I’ve discovered after all my years of playing a ton of Pete Dye golf. When you stand up on a tee, and this is the ninth hole, it’s a great example, it looks very much like this fairway is only 15 yards wide. Once you’ve played any Pete Dye course, this one included, a few times, you realize the fairways are maybe 50 yards wide. They just play little tricks with your eyes and your brain to make you think there’s no place to hit your golf ball. But there is plenty of room.

This is a par five. I’m going to just try to cruise it up there somewhere right of the water. Probably not a two-shotter for me.

That’ll be over in the right side of the fairway. Caught that one a little bit in the neck, right there in the heel, which is fine when there’s water on the right. Because you catch one right there, it ain’t going left.

I’ll tell you what, I love Pete Dye golf. A few years ago when he passed, and then his wife Alice actually passed right before him, there was a lot of speculation going around. What’s the best Pete Dye golf course? Man, you’ve got a lot to choose from. Probably the one that’s most talked about is the stadium course at TPC Sawgrass, their first golf course. And I say they because it was very much a family effort. Alice Dye was very involved. The golf club at New Albany, really neat golf course. The Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tennessee has received a lot of accolades, and rightfully so, over the years.

We’re fortunate here in Myrtle Beach to have a couple, Prestwick Country Club and then over at Legends, and they’re great examples of Dye. And the thing I really like about them is there’s always some strategy involved. If there’s trouble on one side of the fairway and then a bailout area on the right, if you challenge that trouble, you’re rewarded somehow, some way, and that’s really the definition of a strategic golf course. Dye always has strategy in his golf courses.

All right, so I didn’t hit this tee ball very good. This becomes a three-shotter for me. I’ll take my 5 wood and try and cruise it up there, maybe right center. That’s going to give me a shot with a wedge from there.

So I got 120. It’s a back hole location and got a lot of movement in this green. It’s up on that back shelf. And so I don’t want to hit anything hard in there because that back spin, the harder you hit it, the more backspin you get, it’ll really be fighting me. I’m going to try to push it back to that hole location. So I’m going to take a little extra club here, and I want to make an easy swing. That’s going to take the spin off of it. And then when it gets on the green, I don’t have to worry about the backspin bringing it back. So if I do this right, it’ll get me back to hole high.

Hang on. Right there, baby! I got it to hole high, just pulled it a little bit, but that was the trajectory I was looking for. I wanted it sort of low, no spin. That’s a good shot to play in the wind. But nice tip to remember. Swing easy with plenty of club to back hole locations. When they’re in the front, that’s when you want to swing a little bit harder, get higher, more spin to stop it. Back, you want it to release.

Now y’all come on with me. I’m going to give you a little tour of Pete Dye. Look how cool this bunker is. When Pete Dye first started building golf courses here in the US, nothing like this existed. You had to go to Scotland or Ireland to see something like that. I mean, they really … The Dyes really changed golf course architecture in this country. And check out this little grass bunker. Bunkers don’t always have to have sand in the bottom of them. Believe me, I’d rather be in a sand bunker than that one. You don’t want to go in there. But they’re just interesting.

A lot of movement on this green. Got little tiers, little hole locations. I was trying to put it up on this shelf, I pulled it. So that leaves me a pretty darn tough putt here. Up about a three and a half, three foot rise, a lot of break in it.

Did I hit it? Did I hit it? Oh, man. I had that one in the jaws. Just love Pete Dye golf. Glad P.B. is still around. Hope he does plenty more in this style, because they just make golf so interesting. And Prestwick Country Club, we’re fortunate to have it here in Myrtle Beach. A lot of fun.

A nice golf hole with PB Dye’s name on it? I’ll take par there anytime I can get it. Time to head over to another popular course in the heart of the Beach with a familiar name behind the design!


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