When our group first traveled to Myrtle Beach in 1991, the Legends–Moorland Course had just finished its inaugural season. At that time we were in awe of its contoured greens, bulkhead-lined hazards, deep bunkers and seemingly endless array of marshlands and waste areas. Since that first visit, dozens of new courses have opened on the “Grand Strand,” each trying to be bigger and meaner than its predecessors.
This year we returned to Moorland for perhaps the 15th time. Despite the passage of time and the amount of new course development, Moorland still stands as one of the most challenging and entertaining tests of golf in the Myrtle Beach area.
Designed by renowned architect P.B. Dye, Moorland is a true target course, demanding commitment and discipline on every stroke. The golfer pays a big price for wayward shots.
The course often teases the player into attempting unnecessarily aggressive plays, usually leading to disaster. The most successful players here will proceed conservatively from tee to green and be solid with their short games. Being below the hole for the first putt is imperative, as heavily contoured greens make downhill putts treacherous.
Apart from its many stunning individual features, Moorland’s greatest asset may be the variety of challenges it presents. No two holes are alike. The ever-present Carolina wind only enhances this variety. Holes which take a 7-iron approach in the morning may require a fairway wood in the afternoon.
As one of Myrtle Beach’s most popular courses, Moorland has seen a lot of play during its run. I must say, though, that apart from a few deteriorating bulkheads, the course was in great shape for play. Plus, it has bucked the Myrtle Beach trend and kept housing developments away from the golf course.
Hole 2 (512 yards, par 5)
The fairway on this short par 5 is quite a sight from the tee. Angling away from left to right, it is defined by large mounds on the left and by bulkheads, sand and water all along the right. Once safely in the fairway, the conservative player will lay up by following the fairway to a point short of the greenside water. This leaves a short iron or wedge to the green. The green is well protected by sand and water, so a lot can go wrong here.
Hole 4 (451 yards, par 4)
This long par 4 is the toughest par on the course. The tee shot must carry 200 yards of waste area to an elevated fairway. Shots that don’t reach the fairway may find a three-story bunker affectionately known as “Big Bertha.” There is no advancing the ball from here; just do your best to escape to the fairway. The long approach shot will be a downhill fairway wood or long iron. This relatively flat green is guarded by large mounds 100 yards short of the green and a bunker on the left front.
Hole 7 (215 yards, par 3)
This is the longest par 3 on the course. Water runs the entire length on the left and is treacherously close to the green. The smart play favors the right of the green as there is a bit of a bail-out there. Watch the tree tops to determine wind direction. It can seem calm on the tee when there’s really a lot going on up there. The heavily contoured green presents a real challenge on long putts.
Hole 8 (367 yards, par 4)
This hole seems to play a little shorter than 367 yards but certainly doesn’t lack challenge. Place an easy drive to the right side of the two bunkers protecting the left. This leaves a short iron or wedge for the approach. The green sits atop a large mound. Twenty feet of elevation make it essential that the approach come in high and stop. Anything missing or running over the green finds trouble, either by rolling back down the hill or by finding the treacherous bunker which guards the front.
Hole 15 (551 yards, par 5)
This medium-length par 5 seems innocent, but be careful. It starts with a uniqu e feature: four large bunkers split the driving area down the middle. Confident players will stay to the left of the bunkers, flirting with the lateral marsh but giving a more direct path to the green. The marsh crosses the fairway about 200 yards from the green and follows the right side from there. Everything in the approach to the green rolls right, so long second shots must be solid. Stay short of the pin, as the green is tiered from back to front.
Hole 16 (261 yards, par 4)
This very short par 4 is the ultimate teaser. At 261 yards the temptation to drive the green is overwhelming. The right side of the hole is safe with ample fairway, including an inviting patch of grass running right up onto the green. The entire left side, however, falls off into a penal waste area dubbed “Hell’s Half-Acre.” Those attempting to drive the green seem to invariably find themselves here, fighting some of the most awkward sand lies you will see anywhere. Play smart. Lay up. Save your heroics for another hole.
Hole 17 (160 yards, par 3)
This little gem can be intimidating, especially to less-experienced players. The tee shot must carry a sand waste area which extends from the front of the tees all the way to the green. Short tee shots lead to troublesome bunker shots. Tee shots which are too long find safety just behind the green, but beyond that there is nothing but brush. Watch the pin placement, as this green generally slopes from left to right. Choose your club carefully and swing with confidence. Good scores can be made on this hole if you can find the green.
Hole 18 (411 yards, par 4)
This sweeping dogleg left is a terrific finishing hole. The tee shot must carry marshland to a fairway which angles away from right to left. The shortest carry leaves a long iron approach, while longer tee shots placed farther to the left can result in as little as a nine iron. The green, severely sloping from back to front, is elevated and guarded by huge mounds on the right. A very large, steep bunker seems to catch all short shots. Making a par here will give you something to celebrate.
THE LEGENDS – MOORLAND COURSE
1500 Legends Drive
Myrtle Beach, SC 29578
tel 800 299 6187
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