King’s North has been ranked among America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses and it’s the flagship layout at Myrtle Beach National. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the course is familiar with holes six, 12 and 18.
“The Gambler,” the par 5 with an island fairway, is one of Myrtle Beach’s iconic challenges. The 12th is an island green par 3 with a pair of bunkers shaped like the letters SC, and No. 18 has 40 unforgettable bunkers.
But King’s North has much to offer beyond those three renowned holes. The Arnold Palmer design is outstanding throughout and, after consulting with Myrtle Beach National’s head pro, Ryan Ruddy, we wanted to highlight three holes that are vastly underrated.
— The Gambler, understandably, attracts a lot of attention but may not be the course’s most interesting risk-reward decision. That distinction could belong to No. 3, a dogleg left par 4 that plays just 319 yards from the white tees. The water in front of the tee shouldn’t be a factor, but your tee shot is dictated by how aggressively you want to play. If you are feeling frisky and want to challenge the dogleg, you will need to drive the ball 230 yards to clear the sand, setting up a 70-yard approach that could lead to birdie. The penalty for missing is a trip to a sprawling waste bunker dotted with wire grass. The choice is yours.
— Coming on the heels of The Gambler, No. 7 is criminally underrated. The dogleg left plays 357 yards (whites) and the tee shot, while far from benign with sand running up the left side, is uncomplicated. Things get dicey on the approach. A lake fills the elbow of the dogleg and players must navigate the water. The key to success: aim for the middle of the long, angled green. Don’t get suckered into trying to finesse your second shot, particularly if the pin is up front, as that too often results in losing a ball to the water. Play conservatively on the approach and hope to make par.
— The 14th is King’s North’s second-longest par 4 from the white tees at 384 yards. The dogleg left challenges with sand on the tee shot and a combination of sand and water on the approach. The drive is demanding, requiring power and precision, but players tend to find more trouble trying to reach the green. Your second shot will play downhill, making it feel shorter than it is. If the sprinkler head says you are 150 yards out, don’t believe your lyin’ eyes. Hit the ball to the number, not what your eyes want you to believe the distance is, and good things will await.