What were once relatively flat putting surfaces now feature a surplus of undulation that challenges golfers to hit the ball to the right spot.
“With the older greens, you just hit it at the pin and it stopped,” Johns said. “Now the greens are a little faster – running about 10.5 on the stimpmeter. You have to think about where on the green you want to hit it (on the approach).”
The Hackler Course has thrived over time because of it playability, and that remains the case. While the greens are more challenging, nearly 60 bunkers were removed so there is ample room off the tee, though the rough is a typically a little thicker.
With the exception of the removed bunkers and the second and 18th greens being moved closer to the water, the architectural integrity of the Gene Hamm’s original design remains intact.
The Hackler Course is a classic design, featuring tree-lined fairways and an assortment of doglegs. The course isn’t overwhelming from the tips at 6,812 yards, but for the average golfer it has plenty of length from the white tees (6,305 yards).
One of the Hackler’s shortest holes – the 362-yard, 18th – is its biggest challenge. A small, undulating green has been moved next to a lake, bringing water into play on three sides.
Precision off the tee – make sure you play to the right side of the fairway – and on an approach that is all carry are required to have a good shot at par.
With the very real possibility of dropping a shot on the final hole, players need to take advantage of the 16th hole, a 499-yard, par 5 that is the course’s easiest.
As the home of Coastal Carolina’s professional golf management program, the Hackler also has one of the area’s best new practice facilities, so there is no reason for golfer’s to arrive at the 571-yard first hole unprepared.
“People should come try it,” Johns said of the course. It’s a great value. Normally we are the first course or the last course people on a golf vacation play because we are the first or last course they see.”
The Verdict: The new greens are superb and will only get better. Prior to the renovation, consistency was occasionally an issue, but that problem has been eliminated. Players on a Myrtle Beach golf vacation will see greens that are as smooth and fast as any on the beach. Combine the renovation work with a good design and outstanding value, and the Hackler Course is a nice addition to a golf trip itinerary.