My Golf Spy

My Golf Spy
My Golf Spy Forums

Monday, May 2, 2011

In Depth man-O-War Review

For dramatic and probably humorous effect, the yardage book for Man O'War Golf Links shows shark fins circling many of the course's water hazards.

They aren't necessary.

The sheer amount of water that's evident both on the course and in the yardage book is imposing enough without the added shark effect.

"I can't think of a course around here with more water on it," said Tyler Thigpen of Myrtle Beach, a Miami Dolphins quarterback who participated in a course review in late April. "You look at the yardage book and there is blue on every hole. ... I love the layout and condition of the course."

Joining me and Tyler, who carries a 10 handicap, in the review foursome were Jamie Alford of Myrtle Beach, who is in operations at Tire Town and has a 22 handicap, and Danielle Ciminillo of North Myrtle Beach, a server at The Clubhouse with a 10 handicap.

"It's definitely not a course for people who don't like hitting over water," Danielle said. "A beginner golfer would not enjoy this place, but it's not unfair for the average golfer."

The 15-year-old 6,967-yard Dan Maples layout features consecutive island greens on the 14th and 15th holes, straightforward and open holes with sparse trees and few houses, and large and undulating greens. "I like most Maples courses," Danielle said. "I'm a big fan of his layouts."

The course doesn't have any true doglegs. "You didn't have to hit many cuts or draws," Tyler said. "All the holes are straightforward and pretty wide open. The water is challenging enough, you don't have to hit a draw or a fade."

The Crenshaw bentgrass greens have some infiltrating poa annua grass, but are still smooth and fairly quick. "They don't have a consistent look but they roll great," Danielle said. "They roll just about perfect."
Green undulations, including plateaus and swales, allowed for difficult pin placements. "I liked the green speed," Tyler said. "It was pretty fast and there were tough pin locations so I liked the challenge it presented throughout the round."

After a lot of rain the previous day, bunker sand was damp but it was consistently full and well manicured. "Everything about it is in good shape - the rough, fairways, tee boxes, greens, bunkers, everything," Danielle said. "You can tell the amount of care they put into it by the shape the bunkers are in after the rain we've had."
Danielle thought the course set up well for most women despite all the water, with carries minimized and tee boxes across many water hazards. Man O'War measures 5,033 from the red tees. "It doesn't really bother me to carry water, but for many women it does so I would say it's very women friendly," Danielle said. "I did not have many wood shots into greens so it's a pretty short course."


Danielle was partial to the red barn clubhouse, with much of it on stilts over water. "I love the clubhouse," Danielle said. "It has a quaint feel to it, not like your typical beach course. It's kind of like a lodge or something."

She also thought course operators paid a sufficient amount of attention to the women's tee boxes. "The tee boxes are in really good shape and they're level, and that's abnormal," Danielle said. "They're usually an afterthought at a lot of courses, even the nicest courses."

Jamie liked some challenging pin placements on or at the base or crest of slopes. "I thought the pin placements were very interesting and challenging," Jamie said. "It wasn't just everyday easy, it made you think and I like that."

Tyler enjoyed the extensive condiments bar for the hot dogs. "It's pretty strong," he said. "There aren't many that are better than that."

Though players are allowed to bring their own beverage-filled coolers, we also passed the beverage cart five times, which the group appreciated.


Tyler used a few irons off par-4 tee boxes and would have preferred to use his driver more. "You can't use your driver on every hole and I didn't come out here to play putt-putt," he joked.

Danielle didn't like the first hole being a par 5. It's kind of weird starting on a par 5 or par 3," she said. "I like to start on a par 4."

Jamie and Tyler thought the clear-cutting of trees made the course overly susceptible to wind. There are trees throughout the property but they are spread out and seldom line holes, and there are few houses creating out of bounds as well. "When it's windy out here you're getting the full effect because there are no trees to block it," Tyler said.


The par-3s are very manageable in length at between 173 and 201 yards from the tips, and between 123 and 173 from the white tees. "The par-3s were challenging with the yardage they played along with the water surrounding some greens," Tyler said.

The 189-yard second hole has a very deep green that slopes to the front and right and has bunkers right, left and front left.

The 189-year sixth requires a shot over water that stops 24 yards shy of the green and continues to the right of a 47-yard-deep green. The putting surface has a plateau back right and slopes sharply to the front with a large bunker front left and small bunker right.

The 173-yard 15th measures 126 from the white tee and has an island green with a grass hollow front left and bunker back left. It measures just 87 yards from the gold tee and can be as short as 60 yards from the red. "The par-3s could even be a little longer," Danielle said.

The 201-yard 17th has an imposing bunker front/front right and three other bunkers around the green, and the terrain slopes toward water a fair distance on the right


"The par-4s gave a good variety of holes and were challenging with different pin placements," Jamie said.
The 400-yard third hole has an upslope at the back of the green as a backstop, and the 393-yard fourth, 445-yard fifth and 380-yard seventh holes all have water down the left side, with water cutting in toward the fairway inside 100 yards from the green on the fifth and seventh holes.

The 433-yard ninth hole has challenging tee and second shots because the fairway and green complexes combine to form an island. It helps to know exact yardages to water hazards. "A yardage book is very important to have on this course," Danielle said.

The 403-yard 10th and 372-yard 11th holes have water hazards fronting greens that are protected by bunkers, the 423-yard 12th hole has a 100-yard long bunker down the right side and water on three sides of the green, and the 382-yard 14th has an island green but has one of only two fairways without bunkers. The 367-yard 16th has water down the entire right side.

"The par-4s were interesting because you had to use strategy on each hole whether it was the bunkers, water or pin locations," Tyler said. "There are a lot of tough holes along with some easy ones."


Two of the par-5s are absolute monsters, as the 591-yard 13th measures 547 from the white, and the 594-yard eighth measures 558 from the white. "On three of the four par-5s I had to hit three clubs into, and I'm used to hitting two clubs into par-5s," Tyler said. "They were very challenging with how long they played, and three of the four were into the wind."

The eighth hole features water down the entire left side that pinches the fairway in a couple locations. There are bunkers left and right of the landing area off the tee, two more large bunkers are along the water down the fairway and the green has a valley between high front and back areas, as well as a large penalizing front left bunker.

The 13th is straightforward with a few bunkers on either side of the fairway.

The layout begins and ends with par-5s. The 539-yard first hole has water left deep in the landing area off the tee, a trio of bunkers on the right side of the landing area, and water on the right as you near a green protected by bunkers front left and front right.

The 494-yard 18th is a birdie hole if you can get your tee shot in play, but there is water left off the tee and crossing the fairway about 170 yards from the green, and a penalizing high-lipped bunker in the right portion of the fairway. Water continues along the left side of the green.

Just as they were long from the tips, the par-5s are extremely long from the women's tees, with two measuring more than 460 yards. "The par-5s seemed a little long from the ladies' tee boxes, but I liked the difficulty,"
Danielle said.

Favorite holes

Tyler's favorite holes were Nos. 9 and 15, which both featured islands - the green on the 15th and the green/fairway combination on the ninth.

Danielle's favorite hole was the par-3 15th, though it measured just 70 yards from the red tee. "The length from the tee box was a little too short but it was a beautiful hole," she said.

Jamie liked a pair of par-3s. He enjoyed the second because of a very deep and sloping green and the sixth because of water left front off the tee and a peninsula-like green. Both holes measured about 155 from the white tees.

Least favorite holes

Tyler drove it into the water off the tee on the par-5 18th, hitting it to the left side of the fairway, which runs into the water sooner than the right side. "I didn't like the 18th being a par-5 and having to lay up off the tee," Tyler said.

Danielle's least favorite hole was also the 18th, measuring 360 yards from the red tee with water crossing the fairway about 180 yards from the tee. "I don't like teeing off on a par-5 with a 3-wood and the right fairway bunker is in a horrible spot," Danielle said.

Jamie thought the par-5 eighth hole, measuring 558 yards from the white tee and playing into the wind, was "really long, especially on a windy, rainy day."

No comments:

Post a Comment