The Wizard Delivers a Taste of Scotland

March 31, 2016

The Wizard offers golfers a taste of ScotlandThe Wizard Golf Club doesn’t call itself a links course, but this gem will delight anyone wanting to experience a taste of golf in the northern part of Scotland.

“I love Scotland and this course was built to give you a real Scottish feel,” said Claude Pardue, who owns all three Mystical courses – Wizard, Man O’War and The Witch. “I don’t mean what people perceive it to be, I mean what you really see.”

The land at the Wizard is mostly clear of trees, with the exception of some of the low-lying variety. Mounds covered with upwards of 70 different types of vegetation provide visual distinction, and the occasional unpredictable bounce associated with true links golf.

There are sod-faced pot bunkers throughout, though none are in fairways, as is sometimes the case in the game’s birthplace. The fairways are as wide as the greens are big – there isn’t a putting surface smaller than 10,000-square-feet – and that’s both the fun and the challenge of the layout.  

Finding the short grass at the Wizard is relatively easy, but merely being in the fairway isn’t the goal. Positioning off the tee is vital to having the preferred path to the hole.

A prime example is the runway-wide third hole. It takes an errant drive to miss the fairway, but players that keep the ball on the left side are rewarded with an open green and a much better shot at par.

The most important factor in scoring at the Wizard is being in the right spot on the massive bentgrass greens, which are among the best in the southeast. Wizard’s greens don’t have a surplus of undulation but size alone makes them a significant challenge.

“People are going to hit greens on this course,” Pardue said. “But they might have an 80-foot putt.”

In keeping with the Wizard’s Scottish roots, balls that find the “natural” cut – grasses that grow wild well off the fairway – are going to present problems.

The Wizard is defined by it’s mounds, natural vegetation and pot bunkers, but it’s not entirely a paean to Scottish golf. The opening hole, a dogleg right par 5, and the three finishing holes play along a lake and offer a more contemporary American feel.

“The course is different (on holes 16-18),” Pardue said. “We wanted to keep it fresh.”

The 17th hole is a spectacular island green that plays from an elevated tee box and offers a panoramic view of the property. The 18th is a beefy par 4 – 421 yards from the tips, 394 from the regular tees – that requires a carry the across water to reach the final green.

It’s a great closing stretch and the approach on 18 is as daunting a shot as there is on the course.

The layout plays “just” 6,138 yards from the regular tees, prompting some players to move back to the championship markers (6,721 yards). That’s a move that should be made with great caution. Wizard is a par 71 – three par 3s on the front nine – which makes it appear shorter than it plays.

 “It’s one of the most fun golf course you will play anywhere in America,” Pardue said.

The Verdict: Pardue is right; the Wizard is great fun. Most importantly, the Wizard is among the area’s most playable designs. The course doesn’t lack for challenge, but golfers can score well. The Wizard is on the short list for savvy Myrtle Beach golfers looking for a memorable itinerary.