World Tour Golf Links – a winner !
When I booked my Myrtle Beach trip (see Myrtle Beach Trip for details) for June, I was taking a leap of faith that I could pick four great courses to play. I had never been to the area and the golf course reviews were all over the place. One person says the greens are fantastic and the next review contradicts this. It was a little nerve-wracking. If I get it wrong, I am screwed for the week. I ended up picking courses based on the reviews and whether or not I could get it in a reasonably priced package. I relied on a company named CondoLux for the courses. I spoke with a representative and she recommended four courses for the week at a real good price (see Myrtle Decisions). After reviewing the ratings online, I booked it and let the chips fall where they may. The courses worked out good for the most part although we did have a not so good experience at one place (The Long Bay Club – scathing review upcoming). In the end we had one bad day out of four which is not the end of the world. One of the highlights though, was World Tour Golf Links. Everything was great and this was a winner from the get go. Read on to see why it was such a great day !
The Facilities & Staff
World Tour Golf Links offers a nice experience and part of that is solid facilities and the way they run the operation. When you pull up, you can drop your bag with an attendant who takes your name and transports your bag down to the cart area. You don’t need to do anything except tip them. The clubhouse is big and has a stately appearance with columns out front. Inside is a pro-shop and a restaurant/grill. The pro-shop had a decent amount of merchandise and the staff was very friendly. We were told they had a driving range and putting greens so we went out to hit a few before the round. When it was our tee time, they came over and got us and we went to the front of the line , where our bags were loaded and waiting. This was a pretty smooth operation and I wasn’t hurried or stressed at all. I think we were set up for a fun day because of how easy it was to show up and get out on the course without some of the usual inconveniences I experience from time to time. Either I am hurrying or the course over-booked and I have to wait past my tee time. None of that was in play and we got off to a good start.
If you’re not familiar with World Tour Golf Links, you should be aware it is a concept golf course. The idea behind this is that they attempt to duplicate eighteen of the world’s finest and most iconic holes. The course has two nine hole groups, the Open 9 and the Championship 9. I am not sure what criteria is used to pick the 18 holes but some of them are truly fantastic. I recognized a little over half of the holes but I knew every course listed. I won’t cover every hole but I will pick out a few of the highlights.
When we got to the first tee, we were greeted by the starter and he paired us up with a guy from Louisville, named Peter. We had three in our group and Peter was the fourth. He seemed like a good guy and we shook hands and headed out. We ended up having a great time with Peter. He was a great addition to the group and we hit it off all day, but more on that later.
The Open #1
The first was modeled after hole #1 from St. Andrews. I have to say I did get the feel of the Old Course. It has the same double fairway as the original course. The Old Course in Scotland shares #1 with #18. Here it shares with #9 but the ninth is a duplicate of the 18th at the Old Course. It is pretty well done. The double fairway is about 100 yards wide which is just not something you see here in the States.
The Open #3
The next hole I will highlight is the 3rd hole modeled after the famous 17th at TPC sawgrass. It is the one where many of the pros hit it in the water. It is nerve wracking because it is a true island green with water on all sides. I got to the tee and completely fell apart. I hit it straight right, almost missing the ball. I had to hit another one and put it in the rough about 15 yards left of the green, right on the edge of the island. I am not sure why I was nervous, its just golf, but I was. Oh well, it happens. I took my lumps but I didn’t care, it was a great time.
The Open #9
This is the last hole of the Open 9 holes. I loved this hole as it was a continuation of the St. Andrews element. It shared a fairway with Hole #1 and really gave a feel of old turn of the century golf. Included in this hole was the famous Swilcan bridge (remember Tom Watson saying goodbye ? ). The green was huge and even if you hit it, you could have been 30 yards away. This was a great experience. We got a picture of us on the bridge and enjoyed this hole and the feel of being somewhere else. My only regret was not getting a picture with our new friend Peter. He took the picture of our group but we should have tried to get someone to get a shot of all four of us. Otherwise, a nice end to the front nine.
This was one of my favorite holes of the day. It is inspired by Augusta #12 Par 3. Everyone who has ever watched the Masters knows the hole very well. The bunkers behind the hole, the stone bridge (The Ben Hogan Bridge) and the water in front. It is something avid golfers know very well. I played it well, and ended up with a par so that was a bonus! I really enjoyed taking in the feeling of being at a famous hole. I realize the holes aren’t exact duplicates but I still enjoyed it immensely.
Continuing on with the Masters theme, the following hole is a tribute to the final hole of “Amen Corner”, the 13th at Augusta National. This was fun to play but as far as a duplicate of the real hole, it was lacking. The fairway didn’t have the slope it should have and there were no trees on the right side. It did have the right to left ‘half moon’ and the creek but it really didn’t feel like it should. It was enjoyable but not really an experience as far as I was concerned. I just didn’t get the feel I wanted on this. If no one told most golfers, they wouldn’t even know this was modeled after the 13th at Augusta. I guess you can’t get them all right ! I would be curious to hear what others who have played here felt about this hole.
We come to the last hole we played which is inspired by Bay Hill #11 Par 4. I wouldn’t put this into the category of famous or iconic holes in golf but it was a nice finishing hole. A short par 4 with water all down the left side. The green is protected heavily by bunkers on the right and water on the left and the green has a fair amount of undulation. I thought this was nice finisher to the day. It wasn’t overly hard but there was a fair amount of water and the green was challenging. Overall, I had a positive feeling on this hole even though I am not familiar with the original.
Living in the Northeast, we don’t get a ton of courses that are pristine and perfectly manicured. We have nice courses to be sure but it is not on the level of the southern US or warmer climates where they have all year to focus on conditions. So it may not come as a surprise that I found World Tour Golf Links to be in amazing condition. Look at some of the pictures and you can see the fairways are like carpets. I thought the greens were also very good. Not perfect but very well maintained. It certainly is right up there with some of the better courses I have played on. The bunkers had real soft sand, not the cat litter they use up north. Overall, I had zero complaints about the course conditions. Others who are used to playing perfect courses may disagree but I could not find anything to be unhappy about with regards to conditions.
I thoroughly enjoyed this round at World Tour Golf Links. It had all the elements I was looking for. Good course, good facilities, excellent conditions, and good people. We lucked out having Peter joining our group. He was a great guy and we all enjoyed each others company. We ended having drinks as a group and talking for a while after the round. It was a lot of fun. In fact, I have maintained contact with Peter through Facebook and I am glad to say I have a friend in Louisville now! I have been pretty lucky over the years getting paired with good people. This isn’t a guarantee and I feel fortunate to that I have met some great people over the years. it is one of the elements that makes golf so much fun.
For anyone who hasn’t figured it out yet, I would definitely recommend World Tour Golf Links for anyone heading down to Myrtle for a golf trip. Everything about the day was fantastic and when/if I go back to Myrtle Beach, I will most likely be playing here again.