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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Black Bear Golf Club Myrtle Beach

Black Bear Golf Club - The 3 Best Holes

Black Bear  Best.jpg
The 18th Hole at Black Bear Golf Club is one of the course's best.
Black Bear Golf Club has a memorable name and a layout that has been pleasing North Strand players for years. There is nary a house to be found on the course, which features 23 finger lakes and ponds, and it provides a peaceful round of golf.

With that in mind, we asked head pro Patrick Wilkinson to take us inside Black Bear’s three best holes.

No. 8, 352-yard, par 4 –
A short dogleg right, there is a substantial risk-reward component to No. 8. Players can cut as much of the water as they’d like – a long drive from the 315-yard white tees will have you knocking on the green’s front door – but flirting with the water invites disaster.

“It’s a fair hole,” Wilkinson said. “But greedy people raise the water level in the pond.”

The smart play is to hit the ball a little over 200 yards to the left side of the fairway, leaving a short approach, but to far left lands the ball in the trees. The green is two-tiered and the pin position and drive placement determine how much the water factors into the approach.

On the card, the eighth doesn’t look difficult but it’s full of decisions, which makes it fun.

No. 17, 454-yard, par 4 – By far the longest par 4 and most difficult hole, the 17th represents a substantial challenge. The hole plays slightly downhill, but hitting the fairway is crucial. Bunkers on the left collect errant shots and a big oak tree on the right can prevent a clear look at the hole’s L-shaped green. There is also water on the left coming in and the green slopes toward the lake, making a pin placement on that side treacherous.

No. 18, 533-yard, par 5 – Playing into Black Bear’s plantation style clubhouse, the 18th is the course’s signature hole. It’s reachable in two but an eagle putt requires two outstanding shots and the willingness to risk drowning a ball on the 18th hole.

“It’s risk-reward; do you want to play it safe?,” Wilkinson asked. “A lot of high scores are posted there. It’s an awesome looking hole.”

With a good drive there will be the temptation to go for the green, but it will take a lot of muscle and nerve.

Black Bear Golf Club - 5 Things You Need to Know

Black Bear 5 Things to Know.jpgBlack Bear Golf Club is one of four Tom Jackson designs along the Grand Strand, and, located on Route 9, it’s an ideal layout to play on the way in or out of the area. The course opened in 1989 and is full of character (though a small part of it blew away with the top of the facility’s famous covered bridge in a hurricane!), but here is what you need to know before heading to a staple of the North Strand golf scene.

1. Something in a Name - A trip to Myrtle Beach conjures up images of great golf, sun, good times and … black bears? That’s right. Little known fact, Horry County is home to a thriving black bear population and they’ve been spotted on courses throughout the area, hence the unique name.

2. Hog Heaven – Black Bear has a tasty thank you to groups that visit the area through preferred package providers – a free pig pickin. Every Friday in the spring and fall, Black Bear has a pig roast, a party that has proven to be very popular with players. The hog is on the grill and players serve themselves. It’s a nice treat.

3. Follow the Straight Line – Black Bear is home to a collection of 23 finger lakes and ponds, providing the course with ample water. Though there is plenty of room to drown a ball, there are only two forced carries on the course. Players that hit it relatively straight, will leave with their golf bag still full of balls.

4.  Peace and Quiet – Seclusion ranks near the top of Black Bear’s many charms. The layout is devoid of all types of housing, enhancing Black Bear’s natural beauty and the staff’s ability to landscape the property.

5. You Might Remember When – Long-time Grand Strand golfers might remember Black Bear by its original name, Myrtle West.  The course assumed the name the Black Bear when new ownership took over in 200.

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