The Hackler Course at Coastal Carolina University is America’s youngest 50-year-old layout. Crazy, you say? Hang with me.
Originally known as Quail Creek, the layout opened in 1968 as the first course along the Highway 501 corridor.
As the area around the course boomed, leading to the opening of Myrtle Beach National and Legends Resort, so too did Coastal Carolina, which bordered the classic Gene Hamm design. The growth of the university ultimately proved to be the driving force behind the “youth” movement that helps define The Hackler.
As you plan your next golf trip, here is everything you need to know about “The Hack” and why you need to tee it up there.
— In 2011, Coastal Carolina took over the course, which played around and through university property, and architect Craig Schreiner provided a comprehensive facelift, reimagining some holes and removing 60 bunkers. Home to one of the nation’s premier Professional Golf Management programs, Coastal started over with its new course, renaming it after James Hackler, a retired two-star general in the Air Force and a member of the Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Fame.
— Speaking of Coastal’s PGM program, if the staff at The Hackler Course seems young, it is. Both the inside staff and grounds crew are largely made up of students from Coastal or Horry Georgetown Technical College (course maintenance), though both are under the supervision of a staff of professionals. Based on course conditions and customer service, the future of the game is in good hands.
— The Hackler Course installed new MiniVerde Bermudagrass greens over the summer of 2018, and the results have been optimal. The new putting surfaces are fast, smooth and getting better every day. By the spring of 2019, Hackler’s greens should be among the area’s upper echelon.
— Every course has a hole you will talk to your buddies about after the round, and at The Hackler Course, it’s the 362-yard, par-4 18th hole. The final challenge isn’t long, but with a tree looming on the left side of the fairway and a lake that encroaches on the right, this is a pulse-quickening hole. Your drive must favor the right side of the fairway, lest the tree will impede your path to the putting surface. The green, which is among the layout’s most undulating, borders water that awaits any approach pushed to the right. It’s a memorable finish to an underrated round of golf.
— After the final putt drops, being part of a college campus offers another benefit: you are within a pitching wedge of countless locally owned bars and restaurants. No, I’m not suggesting you chase a college-aged crowd, but a stop at Tongy’s Shmack House for a burger and brew is good for people of all ages.