I SEARCHED HIGH AND LOW, but it appears my annual 20-yearplus Myrtle Beach trip has not resulted in a review of the only Gary Player signature course on the Grand Strand — Blackmoor. The famous South African golfer is best known for his walk-through swing in which he begins walking forward before completing a normal swing. If you have never seen his swing, I recommend a quick internet search, as it is quite incredible. Player has become one of the best course designers, and at Blackmoor he built this Grand Strand beauty on Longwood Plantation and the Waccamaw River, once the home of a rice plantation. Those playing the course come across ancient graves that litter the sides of some holes.
In his design, Player heeded the undulating topography — possibly thinking of his home courses in South Africa — and used what nature offered to create a playable and challenging course. Player is known as one of the most traveled golfers, and he designed courses all over the world; some remain the most respected among golfers at all levels.
For me, Blackmoor was an afternoon round completing a day of 36 holes. I teed up with Mike Donahue (chairman, GT Advisory Board), Jimmy Spratt (internationally renowned security expert specializing in canine surveillance) and John Ecklund (IBM executive).
We duly noted the brand-new cart paths on mostly the front nine and encourage this improvement to continue. The course was in fine shape and has some tricky holes, which I wish we had the opportunity to replay after a little “Player” knowledge.
HOLE 3 | 514 yards, par 5
I think we might have approached Hole 3 with not enough trepidation. Many are fooled by the playable yardage of this par 5, and it can take the best of you.
Jim played by the book with a spectacular albeit sneaky par on this hole. He did this by shutting out John’s thrashing and Mike’s and my dribbles to the green. Your drive must favor the left side of the fairway so your second shot can clear the all-absorbing marsh on the second shot. Some hitters lay off the driver for a 3- or 5-wood so they do not reach the marsh on the drive. Once you clear the marsh, it is smooth sailing to the green.
HOLE 9 | 372 yards, par 4
Nine is a nice front nine finishing hole and offered me the opportunity to card a par and a trio of bogeys for the rest of the foursome.
A well-placed drive is key, as water and bunkers run along the left side and the entire right side is out of bounds. I hit a near-hosel shot that luckily had enough power to launch me to the fairway dead center. The green features many contours, and landing it on your approach is important. Mike caught the large pot bunker near the green, with a tremendous out to the green to our cheers.
HOLE 10 | 411 yards, par 4
John and I decided we were not going to allow the only dogleg left at Blackmoor and the No. 1 handicapped hole to get the best of us. Course regulars know the two mounds at the turn of the dogleg make a good target from off the tee, and we nailed a couple of clean drives to position A.
The well-bunkered, oblong-shaped green is best approached from the right side. Somehow, both John and I got on in regulation, scoring par — quite an achievement on the 10th!
HOLE 14 | 390 yards, par 4
I am still in a tizzy over 14. At the tee box, the starter, Sammy, came over to chat and discuss the best strategies. He recommended this and that, and we fired away. He said my drive was less than 90 yards from the green; it was not. What Sammy was trying to tell me was this dogleg right offers some driving options. Hitters who can drive a ball more than 240 yards can try to cut the corner by going over the trees (which he thought I achieved). Go beyond this distance and you will likely blast through the fairway and reach the water. This is one hole I would have liked to replay afterward.
In Player style you are likely to see some alligators sunning on the banks here — yes, alligators, not South African crocodiles!
Although John and Jimmy made the hole appear easy, scoring a pair of pars, the same could not be said for me and Mike.
HOLE 16 | 413 yards, par 4
From the tee box there is no sight to the green; it is a completely blind shot. Drives pulled left are capable of catching the water that lies to the left side. Too far right and you can be out of play — or, like me, close to the hole but on a steep hill with no visual of the green. Mike and I placed our drives within a few yards of each other on the deep slope. Jimmy and John played the smart move, landing straight ahead and offering a direct approach to this dogleg right. The course management, noticing directional issues the hole causes (and to eliminate slow play), hung an arrow in a large tree behind the hole, pointing to the green. Brilliant, I thought, and although I swung wildly and at an angle, I could guesstimate the distance and direction and land on the green in regulation. I turned a lousy drive into a good play while the rest of the team carded a bogey and a pair of double bogeys. Par was a great win, considering!
Blackmoor Golf Club
6100 Longwood Drive
Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
tel 843 650 5555
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Southwest Airlines is adding new flights to, from and within Hawai’i, beginning mid-January 2020. The airline will add a new daily service between Sacramento International Airport and Honolulu (HON), plus new non-stop flights between Oakland (OAK) and San Jose (SJC) and both Kauai (LIH) and the Island of Hawai’i (KOA).
The Luxury Collection welcomes its eighth property in China with the opening of Na Lotus Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Nanning. The property is situated in the capital of the Guangxi Province, in a high-rise landmark building in the business district.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
WalletHub compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across 24 key metrics to determine the best destinations for an upcoming Oktoberfest celebration. The brand’s study found the estimated cost for an American to attend Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, is $5,000. Munich boasts a $1.43 billion annual economic impact on Munich. During Oktoberfest, nearly 2 million gallons of beer are consumed and more than 510,000 whole roast chickens eaten.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Qantas will start using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on its Sydney–Santiago route starting in late June 2020.