Playing for the Peanut Gallery at Sandpiper Bay: “Breaking Par with Charlie Rymer” Episode 51

Charlie’s got company for this one – the par-4 8th hole of the Bay nine at Sandpiper Bay Golf & Country Club in Sunset Beach, N.C. Let’s see if “The Big Timer” can post a red number to tame the peanut gallery joining him in the pursuit! 




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!

Playability is at the heart of the appeal of Sandpiper Bay, but this hole has some teeth to it. The challenge here is avoiding the hazards. You’ve got wetlands or water to contend with from the tee to the green and some tight landing areas along the way. No shame here in laying up with your approach if you got to. Let’s see what we got today!

I’m at Sandpiper Bay Golf and Country Club. We’re in Sunset Beach, North Carolina looking into the sun that’s just popped up this morning. The actual beach is a couple miles that way. It’s a magnificent spot. It’s on a little bit of a barrier island. I love it. It’s got the putt-putt place. You got the go-kart place. It’s got the place where you get the good pizza and where you play the skee-ball. Kind of place that I grew up going to vacation on when I was a kid.

Now, this facility is magnificent. It’s 27 holes of golf cut through the Carolina pines. It’s known always to be in great shape and, more than anything, the staff here is absolutely incredible. It’s a friendly place so you’re going to hang out for a good bit when you get finished with a round of golf.

Now, this is the Bay Course. Again, one of three nines. It actually has water on every hole so you better make sure you get plenty of golf balls when you come out here. This eighth hole is sort of a cape hole, it’s on a diagonal around that water feature. I’m playing the white tees. Yep, I’m 55 now, so I get to play the white tees. So I’m going to hit a fairway metal a little out to the right, try and carry it over that middle pine out there. Let’s see what we get. That’s a little too far right. Find some fairway. All right, it’s not my best, but we can finish from there.

So, one of the cool things they do here at Sandpiper, and I really like it, is they’ll do a nice overseed. So they’ll scalp all this Bermuda grass down in early October, put out some nice ryegrass. They got to water a little heavier than normal for 10 days or so. They also overseed the greens here with a really light grass called Poa trivialis, and it has a fine, delicate finish to it, and I think it’s just really magnificent. When you come here from, let’s say, middle of October all the way up into mid-June, you’re going to have a bright green golf course.

They do the tees, I mentioned they do the greens with that Poa trivialis, but they do the tees and the fairways with that ryegrass, which is the same color that you see at Augusta National every year in April. And not only does it add some color, but it also, you get a little bit of rain in the wintertime around here, what it does is absorb some of that water so it just makes for a little better playing surface. So, really cool when they overseed these golf courses in this part of the world.

All right, so I left myself with 210 and I got a little five wood here. I don’t have to hit all of it. Uh-oh. Giddy up. I’m going to show y’all the best par you’ve ever seen after that one. So I should have hit driver and I should have hit it farther left, but I didn’t. They’re giggling at me. I’m out here trying to play serious golf and they’re giggling at me. I probably deserve it. Man, this golf course is in good shape. Peaceful out here too. Come here and you really are right in the middle of everything. I hope that would’ve stayed dry. I didn’t know there was water over there.

So I missed my tee shot a little. I missed my second shot a little. I bet if I make this, this’ll quiet them down. That’ll quiet them down. I got that taken care of. See, that’s a mid-length bunker shot there. I used my middle wedge, 54. You get a longer bunker shot you don’t want to use that lob wedge. I feel like you got to swing at it too hard.

Oh, look here, we got a gator. Look, we got a little baby gator. See him right there? See him bobbing up and down? He’s laughing at me. He’s like, “Come on in here, big boy.” I’ll turn you into a belt. You see him? He’s like 15, 18 feet. Maybe three and a half. I might’ve been exaggerating a little bit. That’s one of the cool things about playing golf in the Lowcountry. I love seeing gators. Down here we got these things called Big Green Eggs. You get a three and a half foot gator, marinate it for a few days. That’s some fine dining.

All right. All these guys out here laughing at me, they don’t know this is my shot hole. All right, not much movement here. There we go. That is one ugly par. It’s how you shut up the peanut gallery. What do y’all think about that? Get them over there. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s a big crowd. That’s the way I roll. I got dancing girls and the big audience that goes with me everywhere I go. They don’t call me The Big Timer for nothing! Y’all bring those dancing girls out, whoever you want. Watch out for that gator.

Non-stop entertainment, folks. That’s what I do. Time to shoot back down to Little River to play one of the Grand Strand’s most notable finishing holes.


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