(This article originally appeared in the Spring 2011 print issue of Flagstick Golf Magazine)
by Joe McLean
As steady as the rolling waves of the Atlantic Ocean continue to announce their presence to the beaches of the Grand Strand, golfers continue to flock to the multitude of golf courses available in the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina area. Airline flights arrive daily on a regular basis with wide-eyed passengers eager to hit the links.
It’s been a few years since I’ve travelled to Myrtle Beach and at that time, golf courses were being closed and condos were in the planning stages. Many of those plans were subsequently put on hold when the recent economic crisis scuttled development.
On a recent trip to get reacquainted with the area, I was pleased to see that many of the tried and true golf courses like Man-O-War, The Witch and The Wizard are still going strong and offering their customers a high level of conditioning and service.
Planning a trip to Myrtle Beach?
It seems to be a late fall, winter and early spring getaway destination for many snowbirds. No matter the length of the visit you are planning to the Grand Strand, consider playing the magical trio of golf courses belonging to Mystical Golf.
You won’t be disappointed.
Man- O-War, The Witch and The Wizard were all designed by renowned golf architect Dan Maples. Each course has a large, fully-stocked pro shop, a kitchen facility offering tasty food and liquid refreshment, full length driving ranges and practice putting greens. All are manned by like-minded staff whose goal is to ensure that your stay at their golf club will be memorable.
But that is where the similarity between the mystical trio of outstanding golf courses ends. Mr. Maples went to great lengths to ensure that the individuality of each course would leave a lasting impression based on their playing characteristics.
The Man-O-War and Wizard are located adjacent to each other and the difference between the two courses is quite pronounced. If you were to view Man-O-War, which was built on a 100-acre lake, from above, you would wonder how you could play the course with so much water evident on every hole. Don’t despair. From each tee, you will see ample landing areas on the pristine fairways and large, contoured, bentgrass greens eagerly await your approach shots when you cautiously navigate the Man-O-War. Of course, you will have to hit some good shots especially on the back to back island greens on holes #14 and 15. If there were to be a signature hole on Man-O-War, it would have to be the par 4, 9th hole with the fairway and green totally surrounded by water. Depending on the wind, golfers have to be careful to select the line for their tee shots as well as the approach shot to a subtly-contoured green. A par on this hole is noteworthy. Man-O-War measures from 4,965 to 6,967 yards and fully deserves its 141 slope rating,
Across a lake from the Man-O-War sits The Wizard Golf Course. Reminiscent of a golf course that you might find in the Scottish Highlands, Mr. Maples has incorporated generous fairways, ornamental grasses and shrubs as well as well positioned mounds and bunkers into his design on the Wizard. Water is present on the Wizard with creeks crossing many fairways requiring local knowledge on whether to lay up or attempting to carry the creeks. The lake that separates the two mystical courses comes into play on only the opening and final three holes.
Golfers are faced with a risk/reward tee shot right at the start of their round on a reachable par 5 with the lake down the entire right side. On the final three holes heading in to the clubhouse an errant tee shot to the right on hole #16 could prove costly. An island green awaits golfers on the par 3 – 17th hole and many a fine round has magically disappeared with the blue waters collecting mishit tee shots. Survive those two holes and The Wizard again tempts you on the 18th hole with a tee shot off an island to an island fairway and then an approach shot to an inviting peninsula green with water almost surrounding the green and very little area left to bail out. There might be a little bit of devilish intent in the Wizard’s design, but again that is for you to decide.
The Witch is the third of the Mystical Trio and is located a short drive away from Man-O-War and The Wizard. Playing The Witch is similar to a pleasurable walk through nature with two distinct sides to the course. On the outward nine, golfers play on secluded fairways framed by cypress groves carved through 500 acres of natural wetland swamps. Connecting the holes are thousands of feet of bridges which meander through an eerie landscape featuring moss draped cypress trees and natural flora – all giving golfers time to pause and search for all manner of wildlife including alligators, spy cranes, bald eagles and black bears. You may forget your golf game at times while lost in the natural beauty of the Waccimaw Swamp. But don’t let the scenery totally captivate you. Concentration is required for your game of golf to be a success.
The inward nine features a rolling terrain with fairways connected by more bridges. Apart from a few holes, you are unlikely to spot other golfers while you revel in the solitude of your isolation on the vast expanses of The Witch. Be careful with your tee shots to the generous fairways. For example, a favourite hole is the par 4 – 9th measuring a scant 379 yards from the back tees. Your tee shot is over a substantial wetland with a dogleg left fairway awaiting your golf ball. Hit your ball left and you are in jail. Wasting a shot is not always pleasant when landing on a fairway, but that’s just the way that The Witch plays. Temptation to take shortcuts will not always result in lower scores on The Witch.
Another feature of the Mystical Trio is the uniqueness of the clubhouses that await your arrival. A castle awaits your arrival at The Wizard and looking over the lake to Man-O-War you will see a fishing lodge built on stilts on the lake. A clubhouse which resembles a witch’s cottage from a Brothers Grimm fairy tale sets the scene for your day at The Witch.
Marketing Guru Claude Pardue, who is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mystical Golf has gone to great lengths ensuring that his Mystical Golf brand is recognized up and down the Grand Strand. His stay and play partnerships such as the Oceana Resort’s Patricia Grand Resort Hotel offer golfers package deals with Mystical Golf.
There’s nothing mysterious about it. In Man-O-War, The Witch and The Wizard, Mystical Golf offers three quality courses where customers will get their money’s worth and more.
Tel: (843) 282-2977
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