Playability and Opportunity Make SouthCreek at Myrtle Beach National a Grand Strand Favorite

April 29, 2013

SouthCreek at Myrtle Beach National will leave golfers smilingSouthCreek, an Arnold Palmer design at Myrtle Beach National, relies on a simple recipe for success: the course gives golfers what they want.

The layout is playable, the staff is friendly, and players have the chance to score well. Nearly a million people make the annual pilgrimage for a Myrtle Beach golf trip, and SouthCreek is an ideal course to have as part of a package.

The 4-star design has been one of the area’s most popular layouts since its 1975 opening, providing the combination of quality and value that makes the Grand Strand the world’s most popular golf destination.

One of three layouts at Myrtle Beach National, SouthCreek plays 6,416 yards from the tips, but don’t mistake lack of length for lack of challenge. Sixty-four hundred yards is plenty for the vast majority of players, and it contributes to the layout’s playability.

The fairways are tighter than those at King’s North and the West Course without being overly penal, but finding the short grass off the tee is a necessity.

“The most important club in the bag is the driver,” head pro Michael Burnside said. “You don’t have to be long but you do have to keep it straight to give yourself opportunities.”

Forced carries are few and the bunkers typically aren’t cavernous, making them a relatively easy out. The greens are open in the front, allowing players the option of running the ball up to the hole.

“If you miss the green, it’s not like you have to a get a 60-degree wedge and do a flop shot straight up and down,” Burnside said.   

Most players should be hitting mid to low irons into greens, enhancing their ability to get the ball close.

SouthCreek’s greens, which feature MiniVerde ultradwarf Bermuda grass, are firm and fast, complementing the rest of layout. The greens themselves are small – by modern standards – and feature subtle undulation as opposed to the elephants buried on some courses.

While the greens aren’t outwardly intimidating, golfers need to watch the speed on their putts, lest an easy tap-in will turn into a knee-knocking 4-footer.

Speaking of knee-knocking, the course opens with its longest par 4, the 421-yard first hole, followed by the 521-yard, par 5 second hole. They are the two toughest holes on the front nine, but both are imminently playable.

While the front nine offers a strong start, the strength of SouthCreek resides in the back nine. The par 5 10th hole, which features a nearly 90-degree dogleg right, is the course’s signature hole. A large lake runs along the right hand side of the fairway (it’s reminiscent of the 13th hole at the Dunes Club), preventing players from cutting to much of the dogleg.

The 393-yard 15th hole is the course’s most interesting par 4 with a waste bunker that pinches the fairway for long hitters, turning it into a thinking man’s challenge. Bomb it and flirt with the bunker, leaving a sand shot into an elevated green, or layback and play the longer approach.

The 18th hole, framed by the MBN clubhouse, is a memorable close. Fairway mounds make the second shot challenging, as does a green protected by a false front and a relatively deep bulkhead bunker.

It’s an outstanding finish.

The Verdict: SouthCreek is an asset to any Myrtle Beach golf itinerary. Players like to have the opportunity to score well and the layout offers the opportunity without being a pushover. The course is also enhanced by the consistency of its conditioning. SouthCreek is always in good shape and the MiniVerde greens are in their prime.

Have you played it? Share YOUR review on the SouthCreek page!