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Five Clubhouses That Will Make Your Next Golf Trip Better

January 23, 2015 by Chris King

Thistle Clubhouse is the best in Myrtle BeachNobody chooses to play a golf course because of the clubhouse, but we all grumble about a sloppy shop. So, yes, a clubhouse can make a difference in your golf experience

Here are five Myrtle Beach clubhouses that will impact your group in an undeniably positive way:

1. The 15,000+ square foot clubhouse at Thistle, a 27-hole Tim Cate design, is a thing of beauty. The course was inspired by a Scottish links course bearing the same name, and the clubhouse is a fitting extension of the experience. Thistle purchased its Scottish namesake’s original documentation, the official rulebook, and a host of other rare golf memorabilia, including scorecards from the 1820s, at a private auction. It’s very cool and you are making a mistake if you don’t take a few minutes to enjoy this clubhouse.

2. Pine Lakes was Myrtle Beach’s first golf course, and the clubhouse has a stately presence that sets the tone for your day. The two-story, white clubhouse traces the club’s rich history from architect Robert White to the founding of Sports Illustrated and beyond. Take in the history and make sure you stroll through the Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Fame off the back porch.

3. The antebellum style clubhouse at Caledonia is a vital part of the experience at this consensus top 100 course. The clubhouse overlooks the course’s storied 18th hole, and having a drink, no matter your flavor, on the deck while watching players finish their round is a must-do, so much the better if it’s members of your group. The clubhouse is beautiful and the setting is even better.

4. Legends, a Scottish inspired resort, is one of the Myrtle Beach area’s bedrock facilities, and your day starts with a clubhouse that looks like an old world castle. The day only gets better when you play Heathland, Moorland and Parkland, but the blood really starts pumping when the clubhouse comes into view.

5. The back deck at Glen Dornoch, which overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway and a double green shared by the 9th and 18th holes, is one of the best and most relaxing in Myrtle Beach. It’s hard to decide whether you want to play another round or get out and enjoy the water when you are taking it all in on a beautiful spring day.

5 Things You Must Bring On Your Next Myrtle Beach Golf Trip

January 21, 2015 by Chris King

Creating a trophy for your golf group will add to the funIt’s never too early to begin planning a spring golf trip in Myrtle Beach, and we are here to help with a list of five things you better bring on your next visit to the area.

Don’t read this list expecting to see to extra balls and tees. If you neglect to bring golf supplies, we have plenty of great stores to correct the problem.

1. Let’s start with an easy one – sunscreen. You expect the sun to be shining on your golf vacation, so protect yourself. In short term, you don’t want to spend your trip battling sunburn and there is no need to damage your skin for the long term.

2. Don’t forget to bring trip awards. Whether it’s a trophy for the winner, a moose hat for the player with the highest score, or some other badge of honor, there is no better way to add a little fun to your trip than good-natured competition. The guys in your group will love the beginning of an annual “awards” ceremony.

3. If you are a group leader, you also double as the unofficial “Secretary of Golf,” so come prepared. Bring a list of phone numbers for everyone and physical addresses and phone numbers for your golf courses and accommodations property. Ideally, you would email this information to everyone in advance for safekeeping. It’s a simple organizational step that can reduce the chances of chaos or, even worse yet, a temporarily lost group member!

4. Now we are going to turn the list upside down and make a stunning recommendation. Don’t bring your golf clubs with you! Sound crazy? Sure, but hang with me. If you are flying or traveling in a vehicle that will be only slightly less crowded than a pair of Kim Kardashian’s jeans, ship your clubs. The cost difference isn’t as great as you might think if you are flying, and the convenience is off the charts (you can pick clubs up at your first course or where you are staying). It might sound crazy but consider a place like Ship Sticks.

5. Our fifth recommendation is an intangible one. Bring your good-times alter ego with you to Myrtle Beach. Stress at home and work and the grind of daily life can be immense, but you are taking a vacation to get away from it all. A Myrtle Beach golf trip is about having a good time. Part of fulfilling that expectation resides with the courses you are playing, but part of it lies with you.

When you arrive in Myrtle Beach remember the (sport adjusted) words of the great Yogi Berra, “Ninety percent of golf is mental, the other half if physical.”

Bring these five “items” with you and you will be taking a big step in maximizing the fun on your next Myrtle Beach golf trip.

North 4 Package Better be in your Final 4

January 19, 2015 by Chris King

Crow Creek is part of the North 4 package, one of the area's bestThe Deal: 4 rounds of golf, 4 nights accommodations

Where You Play: Carolina National, Rivers Edge, Crow Creek and Sandpiper Bay

Where You Stay: Three-bedroom condos at Crow Creek (quad occupancy)

Package Perks: $100 gift card for each member of your group redeemable for food, beverage, merchandise and/or replays. Free pre-booked replays at Carolina National

Cost: The package ranges from $356 to $436

View From 18th Fairway: This might be the most value-laden package on the Myrtle Beach golf scene. Rivers Edge, an Arnold Palmer design, has been ranked among America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses, Carolina National is a 27-hole Fred Couples layout that features stunning views of the Lockwood Folly River, Crow Creek might be the area’s most underrated course, and Sandpiper is a former Myrtle Beach Golf Course of the Year. The package features four strong golf courses, the price never exceeds $436, and the $100 gift card offers dollar for dollar savings because that is money you are surely going to spend anyway.

Where Can I Book?: Virtually any Myrtle Beach golf packager can book this deal, but, in this instance, we pulled it from the Traditional Golf Packages website.

From 4 LPGA Events to a Golf Package Favorite, Wachesaw is Better than Ever

January 15, 2015 by Chris King

Wachesaw Plantation East has hosted four LPGA eventsAs the host of four LPGA events from 1997 to 2000, Wachesaw Plantation East was thrust into the national spotlight almost immediately upon its 1996 opening. If you believe good golf courses identify the best players, Wachesaw aced its opening test.

LPGA legend Karrie Webb dominated at the course, winning in 1997 and 1998 before falling to Rachel Hetherington by a single stroke in 1999.

Throw-in Meg Mallon’s 62 in 1998, which at the time equaled the LPGA record at 11 under par, and Grace Kelly’s popular win in 2000, and it’s not a stretch to say Wachesaw was a shooting star on the Myrtle Beach golf scene.

The glare from the LPGA events and the accompanying television coverage receded over time, but the quality of the course has only improved with maturity.

Wachesaw is a traditional design, featuring tree-lined fairways and a closing stretch that buckled the knees of the LPGA’s best. Holes 15 through 18 are a stern test, highlighted by the risk-reward par 5 17th and one of the area’s best and toughest par 4s, the 430-yard 18th.

The 17th is reachable in two for the long hitting and ambitious, but a creek snaking in front of the green awaits anything less than a purely struck shot.

“It’s challenging,” Wachesaw’s head pro Rob Mosser said of going for the green in two. “But if you can hit that second shot, it’s a pretty (darn) nice reward.”

The reward at 18 is finishing with your dignity intact as it’s a championship worthy test. The hole is long, narrow and a pond looms left of the green. Regardless of pin position, the smart play has your approach in search of the right center of the putting surface.

A par on 18 will cash a lot of checks.

Don’t be daunted by the prospect of playing this Clyde Johnston gem. The fairways are wider than they appear from the tee, the greens are nearly always pristine, and as the course has matured, Wachesaw’s management has made playability a continuing priority.

In 2014, there was a tree removal project that focused on the front nine. The work was most noticeable on the third hole, a long par 5 with a fairway that cants from left to right. The removal of trees and underbrush opened up both sides of the fairway, enhancing its playability without removing the challenge Johnston intended.

The wetlands that are native to coastal South Carolina are prevalent, but arduous forced carries are minimal and fairway mounding often helps funnel balls back into the fairway.

Players that find the short grass off the tee should enjoy a good scoring day on Wachesaw’s smooth greens, which don’t have extreme undulation and provide a true roll.

The commitment to providing a player-friendly experience extends off the course as well. Wachesaw recently renovated its clubhouse, a project highlighted by the addition of a full service restaurant. The food is outstanding and the course already had an outdoor bar area that is one of the best on the Grand Strand, providing ample post-golf options.

The Verdict: If Wachesaw is on your Myrtle Beach golf itinerary, good times await. The course hosted four LPGA events, offers tremendous value, and the conditions are reliably good. Don’t rush out the door when your round is over. The new restaurant and the outdoor bar add to the good times.

Hootie & The Blowfish Monday After The Masters Celebrity Pro-Am Raises Record $461,000 For Charity

January 13, 2015 by Chris King

Mike & Mike were at the Monday After the Masters in 2014 as the event raised a record $461,000 for charity.The 20th annual Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters Celebrity Pro-Am raised an event record $461,000 for charity, event organizers announced. The money was donated to the Hootie Foundation and helped fulfill the band’s goal of funding an endowment that will provide educational and charitable opportunities for children in South Carolina for years to come.

“Raising $461,000 in our 20th year and fully funding our endowment are incredible accomplishments, and they wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of our friends at Intel, our title sponsor, and Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday,” said Darius Rucker, Hootie’s lead singer and one of country music’s biggest stars. “Intel has been with us since 2008 and its unwavering commitment to K through 12 education, especially math and science, makes it an ideal partner for our foundation. Our goal from the time we teed off at the first Monday After the Masters in 1995 was to create an event that would positively impact children in South Carolina, and we are succeeding.”

The 2014 MAM, played April 14 at Barefoot Resort’s Dye Course, attracted another star-studded field. In addition to band members Darius Rucker, Mark Bryan, Jim “Soni” Sonefeld and Dean Felber, PGA Tour standouts Dustin Johnson and Jim Furyk, Pro Football Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson, Bruce Smith, Richard Dent and Marcus Allen, and Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson, among many others, participated in the event.

All proceeds from the event benefit the Hootie Foundation, a non-profit organization that was created so the band could support charities they have a passion for. The vast majority of the Hootie Foundation’s efforts benefit education in South Carolina and the South Carolina Junior Golf Association.

“The funding of the endowment is a milestone for the event, the band and each of us personally,” said Sonefeld, Hootie’s drummer. “The endowment will leave a legacy that helps benefit kids throughout the state for decades to come, and that is extraordinarily gratifying for each of us.”

The Monday After the Masters, the largest one-day fundraiser in South Carolina, has been played in Myrtle Beach the last 12 years.

The 2015 MAM will be held April 13 on Barefoot’s Dye Course, a layout that has been ranked among America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses.

For more information, go to www.HootieGolf.com.

About the Hootie Foundation
The Hootie and the Blowfish Foundation, established in 2000, is a private non-profit organization that was created so the band could support charities that were near and dear to their hearts. Among a multitude of philanthropy efforts, the guys focus on public education issues in South Carolina, the state that nurtured their aspirations from the beginning of their career. They aim to support the ongoing fight to even the playing field in educational funding and lend an encouraging hand to all those in need.

The foundation supports hundreds of charities worldwide, donating over $1.8 million to date to multitudes of causes. Their support ranges from building community learning centers to outfitting school marching bands to simply providing educators with the tools they need to nurture children's talents and help them succeed. For more information, go to www.Hootie.com.

Golf Instruction Zone: A Winter Drill Guaranteed to Improve Your Game in the Spring

January 12, 2015 by Chris King

The arctic air that has gripped much of the nation shouldn’t stop – even temporarily – your quest for a better golf game. Hugh Royer III, director of instruction at South Carolina Golf School at Shaftesbury Glen, shows you an indoor drill that will pay big dividends when you return to the course this spring.

 

 


Click for Myrtle Beach golf schoolsThese Myrtle Beach golf schools can turn your
golf vacation into a game-changer!

SEE MORE VIDEO GOLF TIPS!

Lower your handicap, fine-tune your advanced skills, or build a solid foundation for a golf game that will serve you for a lifetime. Wouldn't that just be the perfect Myrtle Beach souvenir? Check it out! And, don't forget, you can get these tips by email too!

 


Will you try this Winter Drill at home? Was it helpful?

Let us know if the comments below!

New Year’s Resolution: Travel Around the Golf World in 18 Holes

January 08, 2015 by Chris King

World Tour offers a look at the best golf has to offerWorld Tour Golf Links is a great answer to Christmas wishes as well as a realistic way to fill New Year’s bucket list aspirations.

There’s no greater gift for a golfer than a round at one of the world’s top golf courses. Maybe World Tour was Santa Claus inspired.

Let’s face it, most of us don’t have the pull to garner an invitation at Augusta National or Pine Valley, or the means to travel across the country then shell out a week’s (or two) salary for golf and accommodations at Pebble Beach or Whistling Straits.

That’s where World Tour comes in. If you want to play Amen Corner, Myrtle Beach’s outstanding replica course is a great option with the advantage of allowing you to play all signature hole at one site in one single round.

Tee off on the Open nine into the spacious fairway reminiscent of the first hole at St. Andrews Old Course and complete the Open nine by walking over a stone bridge over the Swilcan Burn to the ninth green. Make the turn and play replicas of Nos. 11, 12 and 13 at Augusta on the Championship nine.

Spend the rest of your round playing famous lookalikes such as the “postage stamp” hole at Royal Troon or the island green par-3 at TPC at Sawgrass.
It’s an awesome New Year’s fulfillment.

Set just west of the Intracoastal Waterway near U.S. 501, International World Tour comes as close to replicating famous golf holes as possible – you can’t fully replicate Augusta National’s undulations or St. Andrews’ unforgiving, cool breezes.

Ironically, World Tour is a golf experience like none other.

There’s no celebration of the course architect – there really wasn’t one. A contractor yes, but not a true original designer.

The grand, 25,000 square foot clubhouse with flags of the three nations and nine states that are home to the holes that inspired World Tour re-creations looks like the centerpiece of one of golf’s great venues.

With the exception of the Amen Corner sequence on the Championship nine, there’s no consistent flow to the course, which, of course, makes sense. Each hole is a completely new experience. While there’s still a blank for total strokes on the scorecard, a round at World Tour is truly 18 mini experiences.

A few of my favorites at World Tour:

The par-5 fifth hole (No. 15 English Turn) on the Open nine: A great gambler’s hole that doesn’t receive enough notoriety since the PGA Tour left English Turn, water wraps around the green. Your drive must avoid water, too.

The par-3 third hole (No. 8 at Royal Troon) on the Championship nine. Only 126 yards from the back markers, the “Postage Stamp” is an historic hole must of us only get to see once a decade during the British Open. Surrounding bunkers and a tiny, back-to-front sloping putting surface put teeth into the hole.

The par-4 ninth (No. 11 at Bay Hill) on the Championship nine. A classic dogleg left around a water hazard with the green set against the World Tour clubhouse (ask for an Arnold Palmer afterward in the Player’s Grille), the replica is enhanced by terrain similar to Bay Hill’s Orlando locale.

Something else to love about World Tour? Hit your ball into the water on the Sawgrass replica island green or found the creek on the Amen Corner? Second chances are a lot easier to come by at World Tour.

Dunes Club, Caledonia Ranked Among America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses

January 07, 2015 by Chris King

Dunes Club is ranked among America's 100 Greatest Public CoursesThe new year is off to a banner start for two of Myrtle Beach’s premier layouts.

The Dunes Golf & Beach Club and Caledonia Golf & Fish Club are ranked among “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” in the February 2015 issue of Golf Digest.

A Robert Trent Jones, Sr, design, the Dunes Club is No. 50 in the biennial rankings while Caledonia, the late Mike Strantz’s first solo design, is No. 73.  

Dunes Club, which opened in 1948, is the Myrtle Beach’s area’s most famed layout. From the outset, the course attracted national attention and it raised the profile of the entire destination along it.

Starting with a clubhouse that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, the Dunes Club delivers a special experience. The classically designed course plays over naturally rolling land and offers stunning visuals throughout. The layout’s most popular stretch is Alligator Alley - holes 11 through 13 - capped by the par 5 13th, a 90-degree dogleg right that plays around Lake Singleton.

The course has hosted some of professional golf’s most prominent events, including the U.S. Women’s Open, six Senior PGA Tour Championships, and, most recently, the PGA Professional National Championship.

Caledonia, which plays amidst centuries old live oak trees draped in Spanish moss, is a modern design carved from a piece of land that oozes history and Southern charm. From the moment players enter the property through a half-mile stretch of road lined on both sides by oak trees, the beauty of Caledonia is evident.

The course has enjoyed immense popular and critical acclaim. Strantz’s work is equal parts art and architecture as a he seamlessly crafted the layout on little more than 100 acres of property.

On a course full of memorable holes, the 18th stands above as one of the best finishing holes in all of golf. The multi-tiered green rests in the shadow of an antebellum style clubhouse and requires a forced carry over water.

Architecturally the hole is splendid, but what makes it special is the atmosphere. There are almost always golfers gathered on the clubhouse deck, enjoying a drink and providing a gallery for the final approach.

It’s an idyllic conclusion to a round at one of America’s greatest layouts.

Golf Digest’s team of raters evaluated golf courses on seven categories. Below are the criteria the magazine set for each category:

1. Shot Values: How well does the course pose risks and rewards and equally test length, accuracy and finesse?
2. Resistance to Scoring: How difficult, while still being fair, is the golf course for a scratch player from the back tees?
3. Design Variety: How varied are the golf course's holes in differing lengths, configurations, hazard placements, green shapes and green contours?
4. Memorability: How well do the design features (tees, fairways, greens, hazards, vegetation and terrain) provide individuality to each hole, yet a collective continuity to the entire 18?
5. Aesthetics: How well do the scenic values of the golf course (including landscaping, vegetation, water features and backdrops) add to the pleasure of a round?
6. Conditioning: How firm, fast and rolling were the fairways, and how firm yet receptive were the greens on the day you played the course?
7. Ambience: How well does the overall feel and atmosphere of the course reflect or uphold the traditional values of the game?

Best of the Best: Top 5 Golf Holes in Myrtle Beach

January 06, 2015 by Chris King

The fourth hole at Tidewater is the best in Myrtle BeachThe Myrtle Beach golf scene is home to nearly 1,800 holes and standing out amongst the game’s greatest collection of quality courses isn’t easy, but here is a ranking of the five greatest, most epic holes the Grand Strand has to offer.

5. Caveat: I’m a sucker for short par 4s; the risk-reward nature of the tee shot, the thrill of carding a birdie, the frustration of feeling like I gave away strokes (how could I double bogey a 315-yard par 4?! Grrrr!), every course should have at least one.

All of which leads to the surprise member of the list – the ninth hole on the Parkland Course at Legends Resort, which barely edges the more renowned 16th on the Moorland Course.

A dogleg right, the ninth plays 317 yards from the blue tees and 308 from the whites. Play the hole straight and try to further shorten it, and water lurks on the right.

There are six bunkers, including four in the fairway, but the sandy canyon that fronts the green MUST be avoided. There are many ways to challenge the hole, but none are as simple (or easy) as the yardage suggests.

As the famously cynical Gary Van Sickle of Sports Illustrated and Golf.com once wrote, “I'd love to stand on that ninth tee with a bucket of balls and figure out how to play that monster. It's a fun hole.”

Couldn’t agree more.

4. The 14th hole at the Grande Dunes Resort Course plays along the Intracoastal Waterway and has all the elements of a great hole – outstanding design, natural beauty and options.

It’s a long par 3 – 189 yards from the blues, 158 from the whites – that requires a carry over water to a green nestled against the banks of the Intracoastal. It’s a sweat inducing shot on a good day, but when the wind is blowing off the nearby Atlantic Ocean, the challenge increases exponentially.

While the hole is unquestionably difficult, architect Roger Rulewich, mercifully, left room to bailout short and left of the green.

No less an authority than Golf Magazine’s Travelin Joe Passov said of the hole:

“Rulewich did an excellent job and totally surprised me with the pulse-quickening 220-yard, par-3 14th. Downhill tee shot, massive green, gargantuan bunker, superb interaction with the Intracoastal Waterway – impressive.”

3. The third-ranked hole on our list is probably No. 1 in the hearts of most golfers. The 18th hole at Caledonia, a par 4, is the area’s most popular and arguably it’s best. The dogleg right requires a carry over water to a green that sits in the shadow of an antebellum style clubhouse.

The length of the carry depends on how one plays the drive. The closer your drive is to the water on the right, the greater the risk but the shorter the approach to a multi-tiered green.

But the 18th hole at Caledonia is special for reasons beyond architecture. There are almost always people assembled on the clubhouse porch oohing and ahhing based on the quality of the approach. It’s an idyllic scene and the perfect finish at one of the best courses in America.

2. The most iconic hole in Myrtle Beach is the par 5 13th at the Dunes Club, known as Waterloo. For many, it’s unquestionably the best hole in the area. Legendary golf writer Dan Jenkins once ranked it among America’s top 18 holes.

So what makes the 13th so special?

It’s a 90-degree dogleg right that plays around Lake Singleton, which is teeming with alligators. The green is unreachable in two, so it requires three outstanding shots to get on in regulation. The drive is about placement, the second shot tests power and intestinal fortitude (how much of the lake do you want to cut off), and the approach is about precision. Did I mention the green is one of the most challenging on the course?

The 13th hole at the Dunes Club is a hole you must play.

1. If I could play only one Myrtle Beach golf hole, it would be the fourth at Tidewater. The view of Cherry Grove from tee to green is stunning on the slight dogleg left that plays 416 from the tips.

Golf doesn’t get much better than standing in the fairway (it’s wide!) contemplating a long approach to a green protected by six bunkers, including a monster in the front.

The challenge is exceeded only by beauty, and the combination makes the fourth hole at Tidewater my favorite hole in Myrtle Beach.

Viral Video of the Year?! Man Removes Son’s Loose Tooth with Dental Floss, Golf Club

January 05, 2015 by Chris King

man uses golf to extract a tooth!

We've all joked about various ways to pull teeth, but I never believed anyone actually removed a loose tooth by tying a string to it and applying pressure of one sort or another. I was wrong. Try not to cringe while watching this father remove one of his son's teeth by tying one end of dental floss to the loose tooth and the other to a golf ball, which he proceeds to tee up and hit!!

 

2014 Year in Review: Big Break Comes to Myrtle Beach

December 30, 2014 by Chris King

Jimmy Brandt won Big Break Myrtle BeachThe most significant story to hit Myrtle Beach this year involved the game’s most popular reality show.

Big Break, Golf Channel’s longest running and most popular original series, made its long-awaited appearance in Myrtle Beach in 2014. The show, which featured 12 aspiring young professionals – six men and six women – competing for their Big Break, drew outstanding ratings and produced its share of drama.

The 11-episode series played out on the Dye, Fazio and Love courses at Barefoot Resort and Pawleys Plantation. Jimmy Brandt, who survived five elimination challenges to claim the mantle of Big Break Myrtle Beach champion, won $75,000 and a host of prizes, including an exemption into the PGA Tour’s 2015 Valspar Championship.

While the series winner is always the story, much of the narrative surrounding the show was driven by the, shall we say, brash Anthony Quezada, who wasn’t shy about telling the cameras how much better he than his fellow players, and Charlie Harrison, who won super immunity in the opening episode. Harrison, who for much of the season appeared to be the best male player on the show, never used the immunity, opting to try and earn his way into the semifinals and cash it in for $10,000.

The decision was a mistake, but it was also the type of thing that has made the show compelling viewing.

The series brought national exposure to Grand Strand and will continue to as Big Break Myrtle Beach reruns flood the Golf Channel airwaves throughout the holiday season.

2014 Year in Review: Myrtle Beach Voted Best Golf Destination by USA Today Readers

December 29, 2014 by Chris King

Myrtle Beach was voted Best Golf Destination by a comfortable marginWe have long touted Myrtle Beach as golf’s best destination, but a 2014 survey of USA Today and 10Best Readers was nonetheless gratifying.

America’s most widely read newspaper and 10Best.com surveyed readers for a month, asking them to vote on what they believed to be the best golf destination. Readers choose between the likes Myrtle Beach, Kiawah, Pinehurst, Pebble Beach, and the Grand Strand won in a romp.

It was an emphatic statement from the game’s most important ratings panel – golfers. When golfers ranked their favorite destinations based on quality of golf, value and experience, Myrtle Beach easily outdistanced the competition.

It was a tremendous honor for the area and one no one takes for granted. Myrtle Beach golf courses, package providers and accommodations properties have always have always strived to provide the best possible experience to the millions of people who have visit the area.

That commitment is unwavering, regardless of where we finished in the USA Today poll, but it was heartening to stand comfortably atop the vote.

Thank you for your support, and what we promise in return is a continued commitment to the quality of experience we offer you, the traveling golfer.

Myrtle Beach Golf Year in Review: Dunes Club, Grande Dunes Star as Hosts of PGA PNC

December 26, 2014 by Chris King

Michael Block won the PGA PNC at the Dunes ClubOver the years the Dunes Club has hosted some of professional golf’s biggest events, including six Senior PGA Tour Championships, the U.S. Women’s Open, and the finals of the PGA Tour’s Q-School.

In 2014, another significant tournament was added to the course’s resume – the PGA Professionals National Championship. The event brought more than 300 club pros (and Golf Channel’s television cameras) to Myrtle Beach last June for a 72-hole event that sent the top 20 finishers to the PGA Championship in August.

Dunes Club and Grande Dunes co-hosted the tournament with the Dunes Club serving as the home of the two post-cut rounds. A classic Robert Trent Jones, Sr., design and a consensus top 100 public course, the Dunes provided ample challenge for nation’s top club pros and stunning visuals for fans watching at home.

Michael Block, from Mission Viejo, Ca., rallied from a three-stroke deficit on the back nine and won the 47th annual event on the second playoff hole. But as much as Block won, so did the Dunes Club and Grande Dunes, venues that proved to be great hosts.

Block, who was 2-under after 72 holes, never broke par on a demanding Dunes Club layout that proved once again that it is more than capable of hosting a high level professional event.

The tournament’s success led to talk of the Dunes Club hosting more prominent PGA events in the future.

Either way, the PGA PNC and the challenge presented by Grande Dunes and the Dunes Club was one of the biggest Myrtle Beach golf stories of the year.

Myrtle Beach Golf Year in Review: Installation of New Greens Reinvigorates Tidewater

December 23, 2014 by Chris King

New greens have propelled Tidewater near top of Myrtle Beach golf must play listsThe biggest golf course related story to come out of Myrtle Beach in 2014 was the renovation of Tidewater Golf Club, one of the area’s best and most acclaimed layouts.

Tidewater installed new miniverde greens and expanded every fairway on arguably the Grand Strand’s prettiest course. The four-month project went flawlessly and the course reopened with smooth, fast putting surfaces on October 1.

As part of the project, Tidewater also hired a company to study drainage and perform a soil analysis on each putting complex. The result was vastly improved drainage and a new, custom soil profile that ensures the course’s greens will have optimal conditions in the short and long term.

In addition to expanding the fairways, the greens were restored to their original size, which netted Tidewater an additional 10,000-square feet of putting surface. Throw in an extra 3 ½ acres of sod laid on the course outside of playable areas, the removal of more than 400 trees, and new sand in the all the bunkers and the course received a comprehensive facelift.

Tidewater, the first layout ever named best new course in America by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine, closes 2014 near the top of the Myrtle Beach golf mountain, and should be in pristine condition this spring.

The course plays along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and Cherry Grove Inlet and offers a distant view of the Atlantic Ocean. Tidewater has been ranked among America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses by Golf Digest and should be on the fast track to regaining its place among the nation’s elite public courses.

Myrtle Beach Golf Year in Review: Star-Studded Monday After the Masters Raises Big Money

December 22, 2014 by Chris King

Darius Rucker and the guys from Hootie had another great time in Myrtle BeachIn a year that featured several national events in Myrtle Beach, the Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters Celebrity Pro-Am still stood out.

Played on April 13, 2014, the 20th annual MAM, as its affectionately known, delivered another star-studded field and ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike Show was again on hand to broadcast the festivities to the world.

In addition to band members Darius Rucker, Mark Bryan, Jim “Soni” Sonefeld and Dean Felber, PGA Tour standouts Dustin Johnson and Jim Furyk, Pro Football Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson, Bruce Smith, Richard Dent and Marcus Allen, and Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson, among many others, participated in the event.

The largest one-day fundraiser in South Carolina, the MAM continues to raise enormous sums of money for charity, making the event as beneficial for the Palmetto State as it is fun. In 2014, the MAM raised more than $450,000 for charity and all of it went to the Hootie Foundation, fully funding an endowment the band created that will distribute charitable donations for decades to come.

Monday After the Masters has been played in Myrtle Beach the last 12 years and will again return to Barefoot Resort’s Dye Course on April 13, 2015.

The MAM has been an institution along the Myrtle Beach golf scene and the event remains as popular as ever. The tournament has sold out its allotment of 6,000 tickets nine years in a row and expects to do so again in 2015.

Late for a Tee Time With Raymond Floyd and Other Sweet Memories of Arrowhead Country Club

December 19, 2014 by brasierjd63@yahoo.com

The fifth hole on the Waterway 9 at Arrowhead is one Myrtle Beach's prettiestI missed my tee time with Raymond Floyd, chased the PGA Tour legend down on the first green and double-hit a chip shot in front of a few dozen people.

Those are some of my memories from my first round at Arrowhead Country Club, designed by noted South Carolina architect Tom Jackson with signature input from Floyd.

But almost 20 years later, I have beautiful memories of the challenging course, a water-filled, 27-hole layout along the Intracoastal Waterway only a few minutes from the heart of Myrtle Beach. I’ve had the good fortune to play it several times since my scrambling introduction in November 1994.

Here’s how my round began: I raced out of my car, ran up to the first tee, hurriedly knocked a drive into the left rough then leaped out of my golf cart to hit three more ugly shots before reaching the green to join my playing partner, Floyd, who didn’t seem at all amused.

Let me explain. As sports editor of The Sun News, Myrtle Beach’s daily newspaper, I had the good fortune to receive an invitation from Arrowhead ownership to join Floyd for golf on the Lakes nine at the grand opening. Arrowhead, which opened with 18 holes, opened a third nine soon after.

Nice perk, right? Of course. And the timing was perfect for Arrowhead and Floyd, who was in town for the Senior Tour Championship at The Dunes Golf and Beach Club, which would begin the next day.

It wasn’t so good for me, who was pretty much working around the clock, putting together the newspaper’s fat, special section on the tournament and planning additional 32-pagers after each of the four rounds. I got called into a meeting at the office just when I had planned to leave with a little time to spare for my round at Arrowhead.

Fortunately, I settled down from there and made seven pars to go along with an embarrassing T.C. Chen moment at a par-3 (either No. 5 or No. 8) when I double-hit a chip and made a second double-bogey. OK, I do remember hitting one well-struck draw off the tee on a dogleg left. I shot 40. Pretty good for a sports writer, to paraphrase Floyd, as I hustled back to my car to go back to work.

That’s about all I remember from a frantic, though enjoyable, day.

Playing with a harried sports writer the day before the tournament didn’t appear to have any negative impact on Floyd’s game – he won the season-ending tournament, outlasting Jim Albus in a five-hole playoff. Floyd was patient playing with me and patient in the playoff.

Anyway, below are three holes – one on each nine – you won’t forget after a round at Arrowhead. One last tip: try to get to the course with enough time to register in the pro shop and walk leisurely to the first tee.

No. 3 Lakes, 556 yards, par-5: This is a par-5 where 5 is a great score. A thin lagoon extends down the entire left side just off the fairway then crosses in front of the green. Big hitters can go for the green over the water, but there’s little margin for error. Taking the safer, three-shot route, which finishes with a tricky approach to the left over the water, isn’t easy, either.

No. 4 Cypress: 355 yards, par-4: A fun, short hole that requires two tests of nerves. The short tee shot must be hit accurately to the left of two pot bunkers and a small river that branches off the nearby Intracoastal Waterway to set up an approach – framed by a view of the Waterway – back over the water to a small, undulating green surrounded by four bunkers.

No. 5 Waterway, 387 yards, par-4: The Waterway stretches down the entire left side of the hole, one of only a handful of holes on the Grand Strand that feature the Waterway as a hazard. Bunkers on the left and right frame a generous fairway. The diagonally shaped green is protected by four bunkers, three In front and one behind.

Your Very Unofficial Big Break Myrtle Beach Postseason Awards

December 18, 2014 by Chris King

Big Break Myrtle Beach winner Jimmy Brandt talks about the experienceNow that the final putt has dropped on Big Break Myrtle Beach, we can look back on the 11-episode season that produced outstanding golf, questionable decisions, heartbreak and good TV.

Here are our very unofficial post-show awards!

The Player I Want on My Side in a Street Fight: This one is easy – give me Jimmy Brandt. I don’t know if he will be the best player to come out of the show, but he never, ever gave in. He competed in win-or-go home matches five times in 11 episodes and always advanced. The guy is a battler.

Shot That Changed the Narrative of the Show: Anthony spent much of the season antagonizing his cast mates. His antics made him a marked man, but the size of the target seemed to decrease when he chipped in from off the green to beat Dave Markle in an elimination challenge. After facing elimination twice in the first four episodes, he didn’t face the guillotine again until the penultimate episode, allowing his character to develop.

Most Likely to Make it on Tour: In the Male Division, my money is on Charlie Harrison. He is young, has a Wake Forest pedigree, and seemed to have the most game. If you are looking for the next Tommy Gainey or Matt Every to emerge from Big Break, Charlie is most likely to succeed.

To some degree the question has already been answered for the female cast members as Katy Harris had status on the LPGA Tour in 2014, making seven cuts in 11 starts with a career best finish of 32nd at the Marathon Classic. But if we are talking long term, I’ll go with Emily Tubert. A three-time All-American at Arkansas, she has the length to compete and with six collegiate wins and a U.S. Women’s Am Pub Links title to her credit, she clearly knows how to win.

I Wish I Had That Choice to Make Over Award: This one is easy. Charlie’s decision not to use Super Immunity when it would’ve given him a pass into the semifinals was a fatal mistake, and Jimmy made him pay. Confidence is great, but golf is a fickle game and Big Break is an unpredictable show. One wayward swing, or in Charlie’s case a poor chip and putt, can send you home. He should’ve swallowed his pride and used his exemption into the semifinals.

Hero Shot of the Season: There were a lot of candidates, but I’ll go with Jimmy’s putt to eliminate Anthony in the semifinals. He went into the hole trailing by a stroke, and had an approximately 12-foot birdie putt on the eighth hole at the Dye Course to win the match. He drained it. Clutch, clutch shot.

D’Oh, I can’t Believe I Just Did That Award: Unfortunately, Toph’s skulled shot out of the bunker on the 10th hole in the championship match wins the dubious honor. The match was all-square heading to the back nine, and Toph’s shot, which ended up in the water, handed Jimmy a one-up lead and started a run that saw Jimmy win three of fives holes to seize control. Runner-up: the drive Anthony pulled off the planet on the final hole of his elimination challenge in the semifinals, leading to his elimination. Next time you play the Dye Course, stand in the fifth fairway and look toward the eighth tee box to get a feel for just how far he hooked the ball.

We’ve All Been There Award: Speaking of hooks, it was painful to watch Christian Heavens completely lose his swing on episode seven. He hooked the ball out of play twice during an immunity challenge, and with an elimination challenge even going into the final hole, he hooked the ball in the water, effectively ending the match. We’ve all had it happen, but it’s uncomfortable to watch someone struggle with it on a public stage.

Best of luck to the entire cast as they resume their respective golf careers.

Tell us about your favorite moments from Big Break Myrtle Beach in the comments below! 

Big Break Myrtle Beacb

Episode 11 Recap: Gritty Jimmy Brandt Crowned Champion of Big Break Myrtle Beach

December 16, 2014 by Chris King

Jimmy Brandt won Big Break Myrtle BeachA season that began with the possibility of a life-changing opportunity for 12 aspiring professional golfers was reduced to a pair, Jimmy and Toph, who seemed to have developed as genuine a friendship as a reality show will allow.

That dynamic made the show’s traditional opening at the breakfast table all the more awkward as they prepared to compete for the opportunity to win Big Break Myrtle Beach, and the more than $100,000 in cash and prizes that awaited the winner.

The entire cast reunited at Barefoot Resort’s Fazio Course, which hosted the finale.

(As an aside, if you want to humor yourself, when the cameras cut to the cast, pay attention to Anthony’s body language. He looks like he would rather be undergoing a root canal than watching Toph and Jimmy play.)

Hosts Tom Abbot and Paige Mackenzie welcomed everyone to the Fazio Course, outlined the format – 18 holes of match play – and told them what the winner would receive. After the obligatory comments about the necessity of winning, we went to golf and there were immediate fireworks.

Jimmy’s tee shot plugged in the soft morning sand in a fairway bunker on first hole. He blasted back into the fairway and recovered to hit the stick with his third shot! The ball rolled back to approximately four feet. It was a stellar shot.

EXTRA: Watch the Entire Big Break Myrtle Beach Season Finale

Unfortunately, Jimmy missed the putt and went one down after Toph made par.

The miss set the tone for the opening nine holes. Jimmy was clearly the better player from tee to green, but he managed to win only the fifth hole, a demanding par 4. The Auburn, Al., native missed three makeable putts on the front nine, including efforts from inside eight feet on the sixth and ninth holes that he left short.

The match went to the back nine all-square. Would Jimmy’s struggles with the flat stick come back to haunt him, or would Toph’s battle with his swing continue to rage on?

It didn’t take long for answers to reveal themselves. After both drove the ball into a bunker on the 10th hole, Toph hit his worst shot of the show, skulling the ball into the water. Jimmy, who was safely around the green, won the hole and went 1-up.

Toph’s struggles continued on the 11th, this time with the putter. After both hit indifferent tee shots, Toph three-putted for bogey, gift-wrapping another hole for Jimmy, who went 2-up with seven to go.

After both made birdies on 12, Jimmy squandered another good opportunity for birdie on the 13th and conceded that he had no confidence at all in his putter. He was visibly frustrated but leading, and relief was on the horizon.

Jimmy won the 14th hole with a par to go 3-up, and halved the 15th, despite hitting a ball into the water. He hit a great approach on 15 and finally made a putt in the 10-foot range to seemingly dash any hopes Toph had of making a miracle comeback.

Three down with three to go, and Toph made par on the par 3 16th that left Jimmy with a seemingly easy two-putt to win. Despite having a stranglehold on the match, Jimmy couldn’t shake his demons with the putter. After running the first putt three feet by, he stunningly missed the comebacker, allowing Toph to win his first hole since the opener.

Had the door been opened for a miraculous finish?

No.

Jimmy hit an outstanding drive on the 17th hole and lasered his approach to 4 feet, a great shot under the circumstances. Meanwhile, Toph’s approach plugged in a bunker and he couldn’t get up and down for par. He conceded Jimmy’s putt, ending the match with a 3&1 loss.

Jimmy, who perpetually seemed to be on the brink of elimination, certainly earned the crown of Big Break Myrtle Beach champion. If not for a balky putter, he could’ve put together an outstanding round of golf, but, much like he did throughout the season, he persevered and made enough shots to win.

It was a gritty effort, emblematic of his play throughout the season.

For his part, Toph had a bad day. He was never able to dial in his swing and he paid the price, but it didn’t diminish what had been a great effort throughout the season.

Big Break Myrtle Beach is in the books. Now it’s time to follow all the participants’ professional careers. Is there a Tommy Gainey, a Matt Every or a Ryann O’Toole among this cast of Big Break players?

We'll be watching.  

 

Golf Instruction Zone Video: The Magic of the Right Arm

December 16, 2014 by Chris King

Classic Swing Golf School’s Ted Frick explains how the fundamentals of throwing a punch can help improve your swing in a tip that highlights the importance of the right arm in generating power in your golf swing.

 

 


Click for Myrtle Beach golf schoolsThese Myrtle Beach golf schools can turn your
golf vacation into a game-changer!

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Lower your handicap, fine-tune your advanced skills, or build a solid foundation for a golf game that will serve you for a lifetime. Wouldn't that just be the perfect Myrtle Beach souvenir? Check it out! And, don't forget, you can get these tips by email too!

Meet Alex H, Our Caddy Girl of the Month!

December 15, 2014 by Chris King

Alex H loves True BlueThe Caddy Girls, who have been familiar to members of the Myrtle Beach golf community for a number of years, received a shot in the arm from a recent appearance on ABC's Shark Tank. With so many people talking about the Caddy Girls, we wanted to introduce you to them via a monthly Meet the Caddy Girls profile, starting with the lovely and talented Alex H! Enjoy.

Name
Alex H
        
Hometown
Lancaster S.C.

Why did you want to be a caddy girl?
To meet interesting people all from over.

What is your favorite Myrtle Beach golf course?
True Blue would have to have to be my favorite golf course, so beautiful.

Most memorable experience as a caddy girl?
Loews Miami Beach Hotel Celebrity Golf tournament for charity. We help raise money for DonorChoose.org while bonding with our team of 30 other beautiful caddy girls.

What do you do when you aren't caddying?
Im a Hooters girl, also I bartend on our Gin Gipsies traveling bar team, and competing for swimsuit international.

What's the worst shot you've ever seen?
One time this lovely golfer decided to put his ball into someones home.

What is one thing you've learned while being a Caddy Girl – about golf or the people you are caddying for – that you have found surprising?
Everyone is different, never expect it to be the same thing from your golfers, always have fun but more than anything keep it sharp and classy.

Big Break Myrtle Beach Championship Match Preview

December 15, 2014 by Chris King

After nearly three months of great golf, stunning eliminations and, of course, heartbreak, we’ve reached the finale of Big Break Myrtle Beach. Jimmy and Toph have survived multiple elimination challenges, but only one will claim the mantle of Big Break Myrtle Beach champion and earn the bounty that awaits the winner. While you are awaiting the finale, which will air Tuesday night at 9 p.m. on Golf Channel, enjoy a quick primer! Extra: Jimmy vs. Toph By The Numbers

Big Break Myrtle Beach

Big Break Myrtle Beach Finale: Jimmy vs. Toph By The Numbers

December 12, 2014 by Chris King

The Big Break Myrtle Beach finale will pit Jimmy vs. TophJimmy vs. Toph.

It’s winner take all on the finale of Big Break Myrtle Beach.

Here is a look at the championship match by the numbers:

0 - What the loser receives as a reward for finishing second. Big Break is the ultimate winner-take-all competition, which only heightens the stakes.

1 – Number of exemptions the winner will receive into PGA Tour events, in this case the 2015 Valspar Championship.

3 – The number of times Jimmy and Toph won elimination challenges despite taking penalty strokes. Toph twice survived penalty strokes, including his semifinal triumph over Emily. His most harrowing brush with elimination came during a win or go home match against Katie Detlefsen in episode 3. He took a penalty stroke and could only watch as Katie missed an approximately seven-foot putt that would’ve beat him. Jimmy took an unplayable lie during the week 5 elimination challenge, but a three-putt and chunked chip from Carolin allowed him to advance.

4 – Number of times Jimmy has survived an elimination match entering the finale. He has typically summoned his best golf when necessary, but in an event as fickle as Big Break, where there is a little time to overcome a great shot by an opponent or a your own miscues, there is some good fortune involved in skirting elimination that many times.

6 – Number of  mini-tour events Jimmy won in 2012-13

20 – Over/Under on the number of times Toph called himself an idiot after hooking a hybrid into the water on the final hole of his elimination challenge against Emily when all he needed to do was play it safe.

$75,000 – the amount of cash the winner will receive, in addition to the exemption into the tour event and full exempt status on the 2015 Swingthought.com Tour, among many other gifts.

200,000+ - The number of people who cheered Jimmy when he eliminated Anthony in the penultimate episode.

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Standing the Test of Time, Wild Wing Avocet Remains One of Myrtle Beach’s Best

December 11, 2014 by brasierjd63@yahoo.com

Wild Wing Avocet continues to delight golfersHow good is Wild Wing’s Avocet golf course? Two decades after the grand opening, I still have the poster given out at the party featuring player/architect Larry Nelson and a photo of the course hanging on a wall at home.

OK, there are several better reasons – I also have a poster of Moe, Larry and Curly preparing to hit the links and another of four dogs playing poker – to recognize Avocet.

For starters, Avocet survived while its three Wild Wing siblings, each deserving of reputations as among the Strand’s best manicured layouts, were replaced by a housing development.

Has it really been more than 20 years since Nelson, only six years removed from winning his second PGA Championship (he also won the 1983 U.S. Open), was on-site for the grand opening? 
 
Yes, Avocet has stood the test of time.

Third to open behind Wood Stork and Hummingbird, Avocet immediately became the players’ favorite at the upscale Wild Wing complex, and remained so after completion of Falcon.

Designed by Jeff Brauer, the interesting Avocet layout tests golfers with a good mix of holes finishing on smooth miniverde putting surfaces. Hazards and challenges include creeks, lagoons, pot bunkers, grass bunkers, greenside swales, alternate landing areas and tiered putting surfaces.

Alone on the former 72-hole development, Avocet may fly under the radar for many visiting golfers, but it’s an enjoyable challenge for players of all levels.

A few holes (distances from the back tees) to remember from a round at Avocet:

  • The 462-yard sixth may be as difficult as any par-4 hole on the Grand Strand. A lagoon stretches along the entire left side of the hole, which finishes with a three-tiered green. Trees along the right off the tee and a huge bunker short and right of the green make bailout shots risky, too. The vast double green is shared by No. 17.
  • The 362-yard ninth is one of the most fun at the beach. Players can aim either right or left (for those of us directionally challenged, hit it straight and take advantage of poor execution) of a grassy strip with a handful of pot bunkers to two fairway landing areas. There are no bunkers to challenge the remaining short approach, but a “Valley of Sin” dip on the front left of the green makes par difficult from that area.
  • The 227-yard 12th is one of the most unique par-3s you’ll ever play. Guarded by a vast front bunker, the best option is to go long – maybe too long – with a wood. Taking that tactic, players can use a grassy bank as a backboard to ricochet shots backward onto the green.


John Brasier is a veteran of the Myrtle Beach golf sceneJohn Brasier covered Grand Strand golf as golf writer and sports editor of The Sun News in Myrtle Beach. He also has written about Grand Strand golf for several national publications, including Golf Magazine, Golfweek and GolfWorld. A mid-handicapper with a history of luck on short holes, he’s made four holes-in-one, though much to his regret, none on the Grand Strand.

Five Last Minute Christmas Gifts For That Special Golfer in Your Life (or You)

December 10, 2014 by Chris King

RukkNet is a great golf Christmas giftSanta’s sleigh is nearly loaded and the reindeer are preparing to launch, but it’s never to late to add a last minute golf gift to your Christmas list.

Here are five great golf gift ideas that we recommend:

1. For many, weather doesn’t allow a trip to the course or even the range during the winter months. That’s why you need to add the RukkNet Pop-Up Golf Practice Net to your Christmas list. The RukkNet is portable, easy to assemble, and it has a two-net barrier system, making it safe to use inside or out. The net is $199, but it will allow you to swing the club all year.

Golf Trip Genius is a great Christmas gift2. Looking for a way to improve your annual buddies trip to Myrtle Beach? Sign up for GolfTripGenius. The online program, the brainchild of Golf Genius Software, features planning, accounting, automated group pairings and the game’s best live scoring program. You can create as many matches within your group as you’d like and monitor them all in real time. Best of all, GolfTripGenius is only $3 per round, per man, a small price to pay for the convenience and increased enjoyment it will bring to your trip. Use promo code MBGH14 to receive a discount and the deal will be even better.

NexBelt is a stylish Christmas gift3. In addition to being stylish, NexBelt allows you to avoid one of the ugly truths of the holiday season – the likely expansion of your waist! The NexBelt, which is all leather, doesn’t have holes, sparing you indignity of sucking it in to tighten your belt. They come in a variety of colors and look better than the tired old belt you’ve been strapping on for years. A NexBelt isn’t cheap at upwards of $59.99, but it’s worth treating yourself.

Brian Crowell's book Slice Free Golf is a good Christmas gift4. The winter months are no excuse to stop your quest for improvement. Check out “Slice-Free Golf,” the new book from Brian Crowell, host of Golf Channel’s Lesson Tee Live and a PGA pro. In three simple steps, Crowell will help you eliminate the banana ball and add more distance and consistency to your game. The book, which costs just $12.95, comes with free personalization and shipping.

Even Santa loves playing Caledonia5. Last but certainly not least, the one thing you should absolutely ask for this Christmas is a Myrtle Beach golf trip! Tell your wife, husband, significant other, whoever, that you need to spend a few days playing in America’s favorite destination. Who knows, you may end up like these guys and spend more than a year of your life on Myrtle Beach golf trips.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Drama, Heartbreak Aplenty on 10th Episode of Big Break Myrtle Beach

December 09, 2014 by Chris King

It was semifinal Tuesday on Big Break Myrtle Beach, and the episode delivered the expected drama as Anthony, Emily, Jimmy and Toph battled for a coveted spot in the show finale.

After the obligatory breakfast table talk, Emily opened a letter that informed players that their first swing of the day might be their most important.

The quartet arrived at Barefoot Resort’s Dye Course and each had to hit a shot from 100 yards. Closest to the pin was going to win something, but they didn’t know what.

Emily opened the challenge by hitting the ball to 9 feet, but Jimmy quickly stuffed his ball to 6’7,” a total that easily withstood the efforts of Anthony and Toph. Tom Abbott and Paige Mackenzie, our fearless hosts, informed Jimmy that he got to choose his opponent for the first three-hole match that would determine who advanced to the finale.

At that point, Anthony said, “Pick me.” Jimmy obliged and the semifinals were set.

Jimmy vs. Anthony

Toph vs. Emily

Winners advance, losers go home.

Referring to himself in the third person, Anthony says that when Anthony says he is going to do something, he does it. And he says he is going to win the match. Ugh.

The match opened on the par 4 fifth hole at the Dye Course, and Anthony recovered from a poor tee shot to make a three-foot par putt, good enough to give him a one-stroke lead going to the par 3 15th hole.

Both players hit nice tee shots on the 15th but failed to convert decent birdie opportunities, and Anthony went to the par 5 eighth hole with his slim lead intact.

Anthony, with honors, hit another horrendous drive, hooking the ball into the middle of the fifth fairway. Jimmy pushed his shot off the fairway and ended up with a poor lie in the rough.

Two hundred eighty-seven yards from the hole, Anthony couldn’t go for the green, but with a one-stroke lead and a fairway lie he wasn’t in trouble.

Then he hit the shot that changed the match.

He inexplicably hit the ball into the middle of a pond separating the fifth and eighth holes. The shot wasn’t close to dry land. Anthony said he took a bad line. Whatever the case, it was a momentum swinging shot.

Jimmy, facing a bad lie, advanced his second shot toward the hole and hit his third to approximately 12 feet for birdie.

The ever-brash Anthony was in trouble, but he wasn’t finished. He took a drop and hit his fourth shot 20 feet above the hole. He narrowly missed the par putt and tapped in for bogey.

Jimmy had a birdie putt to dispatch Anthony and he drained it, much to the delight of his good buddy Toph.

The second semifinal followed the same hole rotation. Toph immediately seized control, birdieing the fifth hole while Emily made bogey after thinning a shot out of a fairway bunker.

Toph maintained the two-stroke lead after both made par on the 15th, and the match seemed to be over when Emily nearly pulled her tee shot into the water on the eighth hole. She had no chance to advance the ball to the green because the lie would force her to stand on the side of the hill with her feet nearly in the water.

Needing only to play it safe and make par, Toph, who hit a near perfect drive, pulled a hybrid and went for the green. It was a mystifying decision made worse when he yanked the ball into the water.

Meanwhile, Emily advanced the ball toward the hole on her second shot and hit her third shot to four feet, setting up a very makeable birdie putt. It was a stunning turn of events.

After taking his drop, Toph hit the ball approximately 12-15 feet from the pin, but missed his par putt. Emily, somehow, went to the final hole with a two-stroke deficit, hit a poor drive, and still found herself with a short birdie putt to square the match.

And she pulled the putt.

Toph advanced with a one-stroke victory. It was a tough finish for Emily, who played well throughout the season.

A pair of dramatic matches set up a Big Break Myrtle Beach championship showdown between friends Jimmy and Toph.

We can’t wait to see who wins.

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