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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Golf Course Review: Water, Design Make Man O'War Memorable

MOW Rev.jpg
Great greens and a lot of water help make Man O'War a memorable round of golf.
When Man O’War Golf Club was under construction, nothing was left to chance. The subsoil under the greens sites was customized to each location and wind studies were conducted to maximize air flow around the course.

Part of the exhaustive research owner Claude Pardue oversaw revealed that even though the property didn’t have any native water, it did have an unusually high water table, a discovery that led to the construction of one of the most unique Myrtle Beach golf courses.

“We found this property in 1993 and it didn’t have a square inch of water on it,” Pardue said. “But if we dug a four feet deep hole, it was a foot under water, and that gave us the opportunity to build a course around a lake.”

As a result, Pardue built a 107-acre lake that is Man O’War’s centerpiece. Architect Dan Maples then sculpted a one-of-a-kind design from the land.

Man O’War is renowned for its back-to-back island greens on holes 14 and 15. It’s believed to be the only course in the world with consecutive island greens, but they are far from the only memorable holes

The middle part of the course is its strength. Man O’War regulars refer to the par 5 eighth and the par 4 ninth and 10th holes as Amen Corner. It’s a tough but fair stretch.

The ninth - an island hole - is another unique Maples creation. After teeing off on the mainland, golfers take a bridge to the fairway and don’t exit until they cross the bridge coming off the green.

It’s classic Man O’War - unique, scenic but not overly penal as the fairway is the course’s widest.

Water is visible nearly everywhere but it isn’t overwhelming, assuming you don’t allow yourself to be psyched out. The fairways at Man O’War are among the widest on the Myrtle Beach golf scene, and long, forced carries are at a minimum.

The abundance of water also nearly removes two longstanding problems for golfers - woods and pine straw. There are a limited number of trees at Man O’War and the course is mowed from wall-to-wall.

The set of tees players opt to play from is an important consideration. Man O’War has four sets of tees though the vast majority of golfers don’t play from the tips (7,000 yards).

That leaves men with the option of playing the 6,400-yard regular tees or the 5,729-yard senior tees. Most men are loathe to move up, but if you are a 20-handicap, do yourself a favor and play from the senior tees.

The test remains significant and you won’t have to over-swing in an attempt to reach greens.

Speaking of greens, Man O’War’s are among the area’s best and largest.

Pardue spared no expense in preparing his course for great bentgrass greens. When Man O’War was built, he brought in a specialist from the University of Massachusetts to create a unique subsoil for each green, insuring prime growing conditions.

 “My idea was to make it as perfect an environment as you could make in Myrtle Beach for bentgrass,” Pardue said.

Mission accomplished.

Part of the plan also included greens that average 10,000-square feet and are as large as 13,000-square feet. The size of the greens gives the course multiple pinning areas which helps reduce wear.

The Verdict:
Man O’War is creative, it’s fun and it’s always well maintained. The water might seem intimidating, but it’s abundantly fair. The course is visually appealing and a lot of fun to play. There is always plenty to talk about in the clubhouse after a round at Man O’War. If you don’t believe us, try it!

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