The Player’s Digest: TPC Myrtle Beach from the Competitive Perspective, Hole by Hole
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The annual host of the Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship Presented by LA Golf, TPC Myrtle Beach was the highlight subject for PlayGolfMyrtleBeach.com’s David Williams as he took us on an aerial tour of what some of the best junior golfers in world experience each year, hole by hole, at the renowned Tom Fazio design.
We have already done an episode from here where I talk about my favorite parts of this Tom Fazio design. As we alluded to in the intro, this is going to be different. We are going to go through every single hole this time, and what this week’s competitors are going to see.
For both the boys and girls, the 1st hole is a “go out and get it” hole. Not playing over 400 yards. You’ll see mostly 3-woods and driving irons off this tee. You’ll see a lot of spinny wedges and irons thrown throughout the week.
The 2nd hole always seems to produce fireworks. Last year we saw eventual winner, Ben James, make an albatross. The water doesn’t really come into play off the tee unless we catch a downwind day. Typically, we see the Sunday flag just above a thumbprint in the green. Missing right here will leave the competitors an uphill chip off a tight lie.
The 3rd hole is the beginning of a tough stretch for all the players. For the boys, a 270-yard carry up the left will leave you blocked out from a clear shot into the green. The play here for both is to try and cut it off the tree line on the left. The second shot here is straight up hill. Being on the right side of the fairway here will leave a clear shot to carry that bunker that sits just off the front edge. Missing short here is the play for everyone. Right, left, and long of this green leaves a tricky pitch out of some of the thickest rough on the golf course.
The 4th hole, for the girls, is a 270-yard tee shot that brings that bunker on the left into play. A 300-yard shot for the boys will reach. The key here is to be up the left because any driver missed out to the right, while it might be in the fairway, will be blocked out by trees.
The downhill par-3 5th is short, but a forced carry over water grabs your attention. It’s 147 yards from the right tee box to the front of the green. When the pin is tucked on the right you’ll want to hit about 155-yard shot. For the girls it’s a shorter carry of 140 to the middle, but the danger still lurks.
The 6th hole opens a stretch of scoreable holes for the players. Both the girls and boys will be using the tee boxes left of the 5th. Almost every player in this field will be going for this green in two. From 90 yards and in there one, two, three, four, five, six bunkers that protect this green. Though those bunkers are there, missing short here is the play. Long is no good.
The par-3 7th hole is one of my favorite holes, but this is not about me. This hole can play anywhere from 160 yards to 205 yards depending on tee and pin locations. When the pin is up front you’ll see players using the back stop to try and work their tee shot back to the hole.
An aggressive tee shot on No. 8 can leave a flip wedge into this wild green. You’ll see some players tempt fate, but most will throttle down to leave an approach from the fairway. The Sunday pin on No. 8 remains as one of the toughest all week, being in the very back just above the slope.
Believe it or not, you will see a lot of three woods off No. 9 tee as well. For the best juniors in the world the water on the right comes into play quickly. Approach shots will still be in the 160- to 200-yard range. You’ll see plenty of approach shots toward the middle of the green.
The 10th actually plays as one of the tougher holes on the course this week. Players will be left with wedge or short iron in, but this green is well protected by water two bunkers on the left. Any spinning shot will more than likely roll off the front into the water.
No. 11 can become a birdie chance for most of the field if their drive finds the fairway. The green is not that severe and even has some slope you can use to work the ball toward the pin.
Over the years, No. 12 has produced some fireworks. What seems like a drivable par 4 quickly can turn into a bogey with a wayward tee shot. Roughly measuring 260 to 300 yards to the front edge, players are tempted to give it a run. What is unusual about this green is it acts as a funnel from the front. Balls landing short with a minimal amount of spin can kick forward and left toward the pin.
Both par 3s on the back nine are very tough. There is a ridge that virtually cuts this green on No. 13 in half. Ending up on the wrong side of it will leave a tough two-putt. The 2022 girls champion Katie Cranston, made a hole in one here during the final round en route to victory.
No. 14 presents itself as another birdie opportunity for every player in the field. Challenging the bunker on the left side can kick your ball forward, leaving 200 yards or less into this tricky green. I think last year I saw some players with 7 and 8 irons in hand. Just mind-boggling distance.
It is all about your drive on No. 15. Most everyone in the field will have driver in hand on this brute of a par 4. You have to play left of the tree on the right which means taking on a longer carry. There is not a good spot to miss around this green.
All you need on No. 16 is a 250-yard shot that splits the bunker on each side of the fairway. The wind tends to swirl here since it’s a low point on the course. Make sure you know where it is coming from before firing at this pin. This green is not deep so you will need to be coming from the fairway.
On to No. 17 – the hole that can ruin your chance at winning. Water surrounding, bunker left, and wind that is more than likely in your face. Wow. Tee shots to the middle of the green will need to carry the thumbprint that forces balls back to the front.
No. 18 leaves those trailing on Sunday one last chance at glory. You will see players all week take it to the very edge of the fairway, leaving anywhere from 220 to 200 yards in. Water all down the left, bailout shots will end up short or in those right bunkers. The only time we see players not go for it is when the hole plays into the breeze. The pin is usually in the back during the first round, which gives players a great chance to land something on the front and let it release toward the back.
It is DJ World Junior Week, so I’m off to prepare for it. If you’re playing in this year’s tournament, best of luck and we will see you soon!
If you’re in town and want to watch, spectators are allowed (and at no cost) to watch some of the best junior golfers in world.
Have a great week everyone!
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