The course has delivered a quality round of golf since its 2001 opening, but merely being good wasn’t good enough at Shaftesbury Glen. Located just West of Myrtle Beach, ownership used the winter months to renovate the layout, dramatically enhancing the visuals on the Clyde Johnston design.
The two-month project improved the course on multiple levels, some apparent to the naked eye, some not.
Shaftesbury, which reopened on March 1, added more than 250,000-square feet of waste bunkers, impacting the first, second, seventh, 12th, 13th, 14th and 16th holes. The waste bunkers frame one or both sides of the seven holes that were altered, providing a stunning new look.
The most striking change is on the 12th and 13th holes, which play parallel and were brought closer, visually, by a shared waste bunker.
While the waste bunkers tighten the layout, they are shallow, making them easy to play from, and don’t make the course significantly more difficult. Any challenge created by the additional sand was mitigated by the softening of the previously cavernous finger bunkers that surround many greens.
A select few greenside bunkers were removed and all that remain were renovated and lowered, making them much easier to get out of. The cumulative result of the work is a golf course that is easier on the eyes and the scorecard.
“The waste bunkers they built have really added definition, which was something the golf course was lacking,” said Brian Noblin, a golf package specialist. “My favorite hole is easily No. 6. A 348-yard par 4, it was (previously) a nondescript hole with a big bunker on the right. They added a massive waste area on the left side, which is where everyone seems to hit the ball, and took out a massive greenside bunker on the right, which was almost impossible to get out of.”
In addition to the aesthetics enhancements, Shaftesbury also improved drainage throughout the course.
“We added drainage under all the waste areas, we rebuilt and put drainage inside of every one of our bunkers, and we also put extensive new drainage under fairways and the rough,” said Ryan McCarty, general manager at Shaftesbury Glen.
The improved drainage means carts are rarely confined to the path at Shaftesbury, and even after a hard rain that might necessitate restrictions, it doesn’t extend beyond half a day, greatly improving the experience for visiting golfers.
Shaftesbury, which was named Myrtle Beach Golf Course of the Year in 2009, has long been area favorite. The Tillinghast “inspired” design is most known for its still omnipresent fingers bunkers and its greens complexes.
The greens at Shaftesbury are large and the bentgrass, the preferred putting surface for many players, is outstanding.
“Golfers that played us (pre-renovation) said it was great before, but renovations have made it even better,” McCarty said. “We put money into the course and it came out well.”