Keeping It On the Straight & Narrow at Sea Trail-Byrd: “Breaking Par with Charlie Rymer” Episode 38

We’re at another of the Grand Strand’s renowned multicourse facilities, and Charlie’s kicking things off at Sea Trail Golf Resort with a visit to their Willard Byrd design. “The Big Timer” is taking on its par-5 13th hole, with a chance to get his overall score further in the red numbers. Will he capitalize?



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 …

(Did I mention I made birdie there?)

… 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!

(You go Google “perfect,” and see if that shot doesn’t come up right there!)

Join me on my journey to break par!

Willard Byrd has left his mark at multiple courses up and down the Grand Strand and his work at Sea Trail certainly leaves an impression. Trees up and down each side don’t give you too much wiggle room and that puts finding the fairway off the tee at a premium. Avoid the bunkers near the landing area and you’re looking at a layup and pitch to the green.

I’m at Sea Trail and we’re way up on the top of the Grand Strand in Sunset Beach, North Carolina. It’s an absolutely magnificent facility. It’s got 54 holes designed by legends in the world of golf. Rees Jones did one of the golf courses here, Dan Maples did another one, and this is the 13th hole on the Byrd Course designed by Willard Byrd. Willard Byrd, prolific in his design career. There’s hardly a state in the Southeast that he didn’t do a golf course in.

Now then this golf course is pretty typical Carolina style, got a lot of beautiful bunkers, a lot of pines on this golf course and if you play on a Willard Byrd golf course, you bet hit it pretty straight. Let’s see what I got here. Straight’s not my specialty. Maybe we’ll get lucky. Yeah, we can play from there. Come on. Let’s see what else we got!

I tell you, the cool thing about Sea Trail is you’re right on the beach, so it’s one of those places you can come and play golf. You got some family and they don’t like to play golf (they should like to play golf), but if you’ve got some family and they don’t play golf, there’s a lot to do around here. You got plenty of fishing right in Calabash. You know what I like to do with Calabash. Man, that’s some of the best seafood in the world over there and you’re really close to the beach and you’re not very far at all from tucking into North Myrtle Beach where there’s a lot going on down there. So a really great location here. And they have three golf courses on the same facility, that’s pretty impressive there.

Okay, so I’ve hitting the right rough, which is fine because it’s a three-shot hole for me anyway. Being a par five, it’s a little out of my reach. I’m going to talk to you a little bit about a real common mistake that I see golfers make, a layup shot. They blindly just bunt it down the fairway and so many times you end up getting in trouble, so you almost have to do just a little bit of homework. Make sure you pick out a target, turn a layup in your mind to a par three. Now, the flag stick in the distance here that’s on the green, that’s the middle of the fairway. I got some water 180 yards down there, so I just got my 150 yard club. I’m going to aim right at that flag and because I did my homework, that’s going to end up being right in the middle of the fairway.

If you just take a layup shot for granted, you know what? You’re going to end up in trouble and there’s nothing in this world of golf worse than hitting a layup shot in a lake or out of bounds!

So I’ve left myself with about 105 yards to that flag stick. There’s a little bit of wind against, greens are soft in particular. We’re here early in the morning, greens are a little bit soft. They hadn’t really firmed up yet, so I’m going to add about 10 yards. In my mind, I’m just going to play a 115-yard shot. Keep it pretty simple.

Be right. All right, dead on line. Let’s see if we can make a putt!

Alright, so I didn’t get that all the way back to this whole location. Got a little slope to deal with. That’s going to slow things down. We’re going to swing a little to the left here. Ah, thought I made that one. I should have done a little better job of that wedge. Know what? Par is always good. That’s what my grandfather Leo used to tell me, par is always good. Of course, he’d have gone busted on a PGA TOUR making pars.

So close on that one. Oh, well, we got two more shots at a red number here at Sea Trail. Let’s see what my old friend Rees Jones has up his sleeve for me!


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