My golf season started with a bang this year. I only hope the rest of the year lives up to it.
After not touching a club for three months, I played five rounds in three days in and around Calabash, North Carolina, a great destination just north of Myrtle Beach. My play wasn't pretty, but the company was excellent, the food was too, and the accommodations couldn't have been better. My thanks to Ralph Wimbish for serving as host and to his wife Grace for allowing him to. Grace is also to be commended for her smart interior decorating--the place is smashing yet comfortable.
I got rained out the first day, although I played enough golf to win the right to sleep in a room of my own thanks to one of the best shots I hit all weekend, a sweeping draw with a five iron dead into the wind on the 143-yard eighth hole at Crow Creek. As soon as I won the bet for the bed, I headed for the clubhouse to dry out and get ready for the next day's doubleheader.
We tackled two of the four (soon to be five) courses at Ocean Ridge Plantation, Panther's Run and Tiger's Eye, on Friday. Saturday was another thirty-six holes, these played at Meadowlands Golf Club in the morning and its sister club, Farmstead Golf Links, in the afternoon.
Farmstead features one of the more interesting holes in the region--a 767-yard (from the tips) par six. This unique finishing hole offers a wide landing area off the tee, but that's the last easy shot you'll have. The fairway steadily narrows with water on the left and woods on the right as you approach the green, which lies to the left of the fairway. The conservative player will play his third shot to the corner of the dog leg, leaving a mid iron to the green for a par. Bolder players can reach the green in three with a long carry over a massive bunker complex. The green is the final challenge. It's contoured in unexpected ways that make two-putts anything but assured. One final note: the hole actually starts in South Carolina before crossing the state line to finish in North Carolina.
On Sunday, we finished up where we started, on Crow Creek in Calabash. I won't comment on my scores, but suffice it to say I had the distinction of playing both the worst round and the best round of the group. Looks like it may be another seesaw year for my handicap.
For anyone planning a visit to the area, the place to start is the Myrtle Beach Golf Association. There are nearly a hundred courses on the Grand Strand, so a little expert advice should be welcome to anyone looking to maximize his enjoyment. Fortunately, I had Wimbish as a guide.
Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a romantic thriller about blood diamonds in the Congo.