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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Burning Ridge Myrtle Beach, Great Location, Great Play


Burning Ridge Golf Club Gets Better With Age

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The 17th hole at Burning Ridge Golf Club is one of the course's best.
The 30th birthday is a milestone most don’t look forward to because it’s a reminder that time and the accoutrements of youth are passing. But at Burning Ridge Golf Club, which opened in 1980, the completion of the course’s third decade has caused no gnashing of teeth.

As a matter of fact, the Gene Hamm design is better at 30 than it was at 20.  Spurred by an extensive renovation project in 2005, Burning Ridge, a traditional course, was named the Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association and South Carolina Golf Course of the Year in 2006, and the facility has gotten better since.

Located on Highway 501, the primary artery into Myrtle Beach, Burning Ridge Golf Club promises good conditions, value and customer service, and delivers on all accounts.

Burning Ridge Golf Club features mounded fairways that are lined by scores of pine trees, yawning bunkers and elevated greens.

The course measures 6,780 yards from the black tees, but most people play from 6,216 yards on the white tees, so the layout isn’t exceedingly long.  Burning Ridge doesn’t take the driver out of the bag for most players, but accuracy off the tee is paramount to success.

The course’s fairways offer ample room and the mounding helps keep balls out of the woods, but players that spray drives into the abundant pine trees will have trouble. Burning Ridge’s greens are all elevated and well-bunkered, making it very difficult to get on in regulation from the trees.

“You definitely want to hit the ball in the fairway,” Burning Ridge’s head pro, Derek Aptt, said. “If you get in the trees, you are going to have a hard time making par.”

Players that manage the course, playing percentage golf, are rewarded.

The greens at Burning Ridge are sneaky fast and require careful reading because subtle undulation rules the day.

Above all, Burning Ridge is a fun course to play. A pair of par 5s – No. 7 and No. 15 – play less than 485 yards from the tips so the opportunity for an eagle is there.  The second shot on 15 can be a dicey because water runs in front of the green, but if you hit the fairway off the tee, it’s worth a charge. 

Burning Ridge opens and closes with par 5s, and both holes are generally regarded as among the layout’s toughest holes. The first hole is a true three-shotter at 571 yards, and it’s ranked as the course’s toughest, according to the scorecard. The 18th, playing 529 yards, is slightly more accessible for low-handicappers, but it’s a three-shot hole.

The par 3s at Burning Ridge offer some of the facility’s most scenic holes. The back nine par 3s – No. 12 and No. 17 – have greens surrounded on three sides by water, and Aptt regards the 12th, which plays 247 yards from the tips and 200 yards from the white tees, as the course’s most difficult hole.

The front nine par 3s are more docile, particularly the 185-yard second hole that gives players a breather after the demanding first hole.

As a group, the par 4s require precision off the tee, particularly the 355-yard, fourth hole that has sand on the left and water on the right.

Keep this in mind: the front nine at Burning Ridge Golf Club is the easier side. The front-side is approximately 240 yards shorter than then back, a number that increases when No. 1, the course’s longest hole by more than 40 yards, is factored out.

“If you’ve never given it a try, come on out,” Aptt said of the course. “It’s one of the best courses on the beach for the value.”

The Verdict: Aptt’s assessment of Burning Ridge Golf Club is accurate. The course is blessed with an outstanding location on Highway 501, and it delivers good golf, outstanding conditions and a staff that goes out of its way to make everyone feel welcome. The renovation project in 2005 reinvigorated the facility and golfers continue to reap the benefits.

Burning Ridge Golf Club: 5 Things You Need To Know

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Burning Ridge Golf Club has been a Myrtle Beach golf institution since it opened in 1980.
Burning Ridge Golf Club, a Gene Hamm design, opened 30 years ago and has played more than 1 million rounds in the interim. While many have enjoyed a round at Burning Ridge Golf Club, there is still much to learn. With that in mind, here are five things you need to know about the course:

1. Course of the Year:
Burning Ridge Golf Club won Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association and South Carolina course of the year honors in 2006. Burning Ridge earned the award based on four criteria: exceptional quality of the golf course, exceptional quality of the ownership and management, outstanding contribution to the community, and significant contribution to the game.

2. On the Way in or Out:
Located on Highway 501, the primary artery into Myrtle Beach, Burning Ridge Golf Club is an ideal course to play on your way into or out of town. That being said, if you play it during the middle of your trip, that’s fine, too. Burning Ridge is 10 minutes from the Atlantic and the heart of town.

3. Make Sure it Flies:
The greens at Burning Ridge are well bunkered – all of them – and most are elevated. It’s not a course to play the bump-and-run. Make sure you are hitting your short irons well.

4. Plenty of Room But …: The landing areas at Burning Ridge are sufficiently wide, but there isn’t a lot of room outside of the short grass. The fairways are tree-lined and with the elevated greens, it’s not easy to make par from the pine straw.

5. Come Ready to Play: If you want to score well at Burning Ridge, the front nine is considerably shorter from both the black and white tees, so players have a chance to enjoy a fast start. If it takes you a little while to find your groove, get there in time to hit the range and be ready to go from the outset.

The 3 Best Holes At Burning Ridge Golf Club

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Burning Ridge Golf Club celebrated its 30th birthday in 2010.
Burning Ridge Golf Club has earned a comfortable and popular niche on the Myrtle Beach golf scene, catering to players looking for value and good conditions. With that in mind, we ask head pro Derek Aptt to name Burning Ridge Golf Club’s three best holes.

No. 4, 355-yard, par 4:
One of Burning Ridge’s most memorable holes, No. 4 is a short par 4 with danger lurking everywhere. The landing area off the tee narrows to about 30 yards with water on the right and a large trap on the left. An elevated green fronted by a bunker awaits your approach.

“You definitely want to hit a three-wood or a long iron off the tee,” Aptt said. “The green slopes towards the bunker and water. Most people can’t feel the wind, but once they get the ball up in the air, the wind picks up and they will land it short. You need to be looking at the trees and the clouds (to gauge the wind).”

Is that all?!

No. 12, 247-yard, par 3: Word to the wise – don’t play this monster from the back tees. The signature hole at Burning Ridge, No. 12, which plays 200 yards from the white tees, has a green surrounded by water on three sides. The green is fairly small though there is bailout room to the left.

“Par is a great score,” Aptt said of No. 12. “Ninety percent of the time you are going into the wind. If you are going to miss, miss it left because you still have a chance to get up-and-down for par.”

The 12th hole is Burning Ridge’s toughest.

No. 17, 187-yard, par 3:
Another par 3 surrounded by water on three sides, No. 17, while no less scenic, is shorter and easier than 12. The green is surrounded by four bunkers, creating a buffer between the green and the water.

That being said, the front of the green is squeezed between two bunkers and when the pin is in the front, it’s a perilous shot.

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