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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Prestwick Country Club, Myrtle Beach

 5 Things You Need to Know

The bunker behind the ninth green at Prestwick Country Club is one to avoid.
Despite having big-name architects and an outstanding layout, Prestwick Country Club has a relatively low profile, but that’s only a problem for golfers that have yet to discover the Pete and P.B. Dye design.

Prestwick Country Club offers one of Myrtle Beach’s stiffest challenges, and here are five things you will want to know before tackling the course.
1. Know Where You Are: The Atlantic Ocean isn’t visible at Prestwick but players feel its impact. The course is a less than a mile from the beach and the result is significant wind. In addition to what you can feel, take a look a look at the flagstick to make sure you aren’t being sheltered from the ocean breeze. Ignore the wind at your own peril.

2. Did You Know?: Prestwick is a 4.5-star course and was once named “One of the Five Best Kept Secret Golf Courses in America” by Golf Digest. We aren’t the only ones that think Prestwick is an underrated course.

3. Play The Right Set Of Tees:
This entry could be made for every course in the nation, but playing from the right set of tees at Prestwick is vital. It’s a challenging layout so don’t make it more difficult than the Dye brothers intended. The right tees will add considerably to your enjoyment of the round and the course.

4. The Signature Bunker Is: Pot bunkers are a prerequisite for a Dye design and there is at least one you want to avoid at all costs at Prestwick. No matter what you do, don’t find the 20-foot deep pot bunker behind the ninth green. The only question for players that end up in that bunker is how far over par they will be.

5. Most Important Club Is: Spend time on the range getting your driver tuned up. The fairways at Prestwick Country Club are generous, but players can’t afford to miss them. Players need to be well positioned off the tee to avoid the trouble around the greens. Anyone coming in with long irons or out of pine straw is going to find it hard to hold Prestwick’s greens. A good day with the driver helps avoid both problems.

The 3 Best Holes at Prestwick Country Club

Prestwick no 5.jpg
The fifth hole is one of Prestwick's best.
As with any Dye design, in this case the work of Pete and P.B., beauty is in the eye of the beholder. At Prestwick Country Club, the Dye brothers crafted an excellent, if underrated, course.

Prestwick Country Club enjoys the hallmarks of every Dye course, but we asked head pro Jay Smith, who loves a good challenge,  to sort through the railroad ties, pot bunkers and undulating fairways to tell us the course’s three best holes. 

Here were Smith’s best:

No. 5, 195-yard, par 3: A stern test, No. 5 has a winding creek that starts at the tee and turns left at the green, leaving the putting surface sandwiched between the water and mounded bunkers.

“There is not a lot of room to bailout,” Smith said. “You really need to aim to the right side of the green and hope you hit it there. Left is pretty much dead.”

Take a deep breath, trust your swing, and do not go left!

No. 9, 537-yard, par 5:
One of the Grand Strand’s best par 5s, the ninth follows the contours of a lake that runs from tee to green. The man with the diving contract for the lake collects plenty of golf balls but the hole’s most substantial trouble is on and around the green.

Whatever you do, don’t go long. Prestwick’s most feared bunker, a 20-foot deep, double bogey-maker is behind the ninth green. 

No. 14, 451-yard, par 4: While Smith loves Prestwick Country Club’s 14th hole, the average golfer will be happy to survive it. Dye designed the hole to play into the prevailing wind coming off the Atlantic so it plays even longer than the yardage suggests.

Throw in an elevated green and you have the recipe for a challenge. Sometimes it’s necessary to take your medicine on the 14 and move on.

“If I make a five there I don’t feel bad,” Smith said. “Because I know I can go to 15 and make a birdie. You can take a big number on (14).”

Prestwick Country Club Slide Show 

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