U.S. players and WAGS land in Scotland...
Hit the open-face wedge shot that stops quickly....
Sniping, finger-pointing and gamesmanship might feel like recent phenomenon in the clash between the U.S. and Europe, but they've actually been part of the biennial competition since its earliest days....
Adjust your setup and swing to control distance and spin....
We look at some of the unique aspects of the Ryder Cup...
Mr. Style's weekly look at what people are wearing on and off the golf course. Want his take on your look? Submit your style to @GolfDigestMag on Twitter using #HeyMrStyle....
Exclusive images from Golf Digest's October 2014 sessions with musicians...
Who were the winners and losers in the FedEx Cup Playoffs? It's time to take a closer look with another edition of birdies and bogeys....
10:44 start time. Sunny and warm. Kudos to the course staff for being especially helpful to the newly arrived and freshly discombobulated.
Fairways were fabulous and thick, greens on the front 9 were in very good shape and seemed fully recovered from recent aeration. Greens on the back 9 are still a little bumpy but a few more days is probably all they needed. Rough hasn't started to grow in yet, but the dry hairy shag that is there is still a bit of a menace. I can't imagine what that stuff is like when its growing! The wind kicked up during the back 9, making the final holes considerably harder. The finishing holes on the lake made the round, even with the added difficulty of a stiff breeze.
I loved this course, especially as an opener. I found it very balanced: plenty of opoportunities to score well and just as many chances to inflate one's score. Front 9 was slow, but that was mostly our play and not the fault of folks in front of us. I blame it on the rust. I would play here again in a heartbeat and my partners agreed. The only other negative I would note is the ridiculous club house exterior. The interior is perfectly lovely, but the external faux castle thing is truly awful. Finally, a deck overlooking the 18th hole would seem a natural choice in such a pretty setting.
After an hour killed at Buffalo Wild Wings down the street we picked up our 4th member at the airport and started north. Stopped at Flamingos on 17b for dinner. Three of us had an amazing open faced prime rib sandwich and our 4th was just as happy with his oyster po' boy. Good lucky find.
Headed north on 17 to rondezvous with remainder of group at Villas at Heather Glen. Last year this same group did the Glen's group golf package (Possum Trot, Shaftesbury Glen, Glen Dornoch, Heather Glen) and we loved it so much we just did it again. Condos at Heather Glen are nice, if unremarkable. Only complaint is the screened in porch is a little tight for more than 2 people, but this is a minor quibble at most.
3/18 - Possum Trot
First tee time: 8:30
Replay tee time: 1:15
Possum Trot is considered the lesser sibling of the Glen's Group courses. This is a fair assessment, but it's a mistake to dismiss Possum Trot as merely a starter course. After being unimpressed last year, I was forced to re-evaluate this year. The course layout is actually very nice, with a few very interesting holes. It IS a strong starter course as most fairways are wide enough to forgive errant tee shots, but there's also enough challenge to keep you awake. The greens are currently in excellent shape (very different from last spring) and putts were rolling very true, The fairways are the current weak point, as they show signs of heavy traffic and are thin in many spots. We played here on a Sunday and the place was packed (had to wait 45 min to get out for our replay) so I would guess the grounds crew just has not been able to keep up with the level of play on both the fairways and the greens. I'm certainly glad they're focusing on the greens. Last year Possum rated a 6 out of 10; this year they jumped up to a 7.5.
3/19 - Shaftesbury Glen
First tee time: 8:30
Replay tee time: 1:15
Shaftesbury is the course that is hardest for me to review. There is no argument that it is beautiful and in excellent shape. The elevated greens and cavernous bunkers are a true and distinct challenge. The clubhouse and staff were all very nice. But I do not love this course. My primary objection to it is its sameness. Having played it 4 times in 2 trips I must admit I find it rather boring. Most holes are just variations on a single theme (straight as an arrow, elevated greens, deep bunkers) with a few notable exceptions (holes 8 & 9). This is a course for being long off the tee and then being artistic in one's approach shot. If that suits your game, then you will love this place. If it does not then you may find yourself in for a long day. I rate it 8 out of 10.
3/20 - Glen Dornoch
First tee time: 8:45
Replay tee time: 1:45
For my money, Glen Dornoch is the best course I've ever played in Myrtle Beach (we generally play the north end of the strand), surpassing other favorites such as Thistle, Crow Creek & Tiger's Eye. I had been salivating about our return to this little slice of Eden and I was not disappointed in the least (except in my game). Conditions here were near immaculate, with the exceptions being several streaks where the greens were a little burned out. These were few and far between, however, and never once interfered with play. It was just visually disruptive. The clubhouse and staff are very nice, and why wouldn't they be given where they are? The view along the intracoastal is worth a little extra time to soak in from the back porch.
This course demands the best of your game if you are going to score well with many forced carries that require careful club selection (too long is as bad as too short). The 16th hole is epic and the 17th is just downright nasty, with a tree obscuring your tee shot to this par 3 on the water. You can either try to hang a fade over the marsh or hit to the hill on the left, leaving you a second shot from 30 feet above the green. Bogey feels like an accomplishment on that hole. At the end of the day, you may feel a little beat up, but you'll be happy about it all the same. 9.5 out of 10.
3/21 - Heather Glen
First tee time: 9:15
Replay tee time: 2:15
Another tremendous course, with the added benefit of being right out our back door. After the stern test of the previous day, Heather Glen came as a welcome respite, if only a mild one. There's plenty of challenge here to keep the heart pumping, but there is more room to make a mistake, especially once you "get" how the course is laid out. Take the time to plan the hole and this course unfolds nicely. Play carelessly and it will eat your lunch and send you crying home to mamma.
Conditions at Heather Glen were excellent. Lush fairways, smooth greens and well tended bunkers. I spent a lot of time in those bunkers, but I got out with one shot each time so I have nothing to complain about. I loved the way the holes varied from wide open on one, to twisting doglegs on the next. The split fairway 7th(?) on the White course (the 2nd of 3 nines) is just gorgeous, and the finishing hole on White is terrific. What a wonderful way to wrap up our trip: par 5, approach over a lot of water, uphill and over a large bunker. Often with earlier finishers sitting on the back porch watching you come in. Much drama, much fun, a great deal of variety and a chance to hit every club in your bag. Absolutely one of my favorite courses on the north Strand. 9 out of 10.
And that's it. My 8th trip to Myrtle was arguably the best one yet. Not one clunker from the courses, the weather or the trip mates. I call that a trifecta. See you next year!