Thursday, October 27, 2011

Heron Point Golf Course, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach has a lot of golf courses. Of course, they are not all in Myrtle Beach proper, nor are some of them even remotely affordable for Joe Blow the Rag Picker or those of us managing on one pension. If you have Internet access, then you also have access to special deals, like playing some of the more expensive courses at 4:30 (!!??!!) in the morning for the discount price of $90. I kid you not. October is prime golf outing time for the area because the humidity and temperatures are down making playing a round of golf a lot more comfortable. Unfortunately, when the temperatures go down, the price of a round of golf goes up around here.

But there are still bargains to be found if you are willing to play the older courses, the non-professionally designed by a well known golfer or golf architect courses, the golf courses that are set in the middle of a housing/resort complex. Heron Point Golf Club fits the bill on two of the last three criteria. You will drive into a gated community of small and large homes, townhouses and apartments to discover a heavily played golf course that's actually a lot of fun if you are able to hit a straight drive most of the time. Playing from the blue tees the golf course measures 6477 yards with a rating/slope of 70.9/129. The yardage from the white tees is 6080 yards, rating/slope 69.2/121. The gold senior tees measure 5335 yards, 65.7/109 and the women's red tees finish out at 4734 yards with a rating/slope of 69.2/121. The tee boxes are in fairly good shape and wonder of wonder, the golf course maintains the women's tee boxes as well as they do the men's which is a rarity in the less expensive golf courses. For a course as heavily played as this one the fairways and greens are in pretty good shape although golfers here don't always rake the sand bunkers. They do seem to fix their divots since all the golf carts are provided with sand and Denny and I were surprised at how few ball
marks were left unrepaired on the greens. Nice.For the first nine holes we were teamed up with a couple of local golfers who reminded us of where to aim our shots for dog legs and where to avoid water hazards. It had been several years since Denny and I had played this course and the information was helpful. There are small ponds and water filled ditches crossing several of the holes but we found the sand traps to be more of a problem. On this course the designer was enamored with placing those sand traps smack dab in front of the greens, beside the greens and even hidden behind low hills along the sides of the fairways. In other words, I was in the sand a LOT here on this course. There are times the houses lining some areas of the course do come into play on errant fairway shots but for the most part they are not obtrusive. There are some smallish man-made hillocks on the fairways but for the most part this is a very level course. The grass on the greens seemed to be going dormant so they were very slick and the two of us never really did figure out the speed of the greens very well, much to our chagrin.For the privilege of being frustrated by those oh-so-fast greens (and playing golf in the company of a couple of great guys) we paid the price of $27 per person to play eighteen holes of golf with a riding cart. This also included a ticket for a free hot dog and beverage. These we gave to Gabe and Bill for allowing us to play with them and because they were only playing nine holes to our eighteen, so I don't know how good the hot dogs are. Not a bad deal in a town full of high priced golf courses.