Whispering Pines Golf Course is set back just minutes from the beach and nestled among towering pines and mature hardwoods. From the first tee, golfers descend into the serene grounds as drives trace narrow fairways past tall stands of trees that give way to hidden rough, carefully placed lakes, and several feral golf carts that hurriedly scurry back under cover. Though the course is designed to be enjoyable for golfers of all abilities, a higher-than-average slope and handicap rating from the back tees signal a test for more-experienced players. Many holes place an added emphasis on short-game accuracy, as golfers must thread approach shots through an array of bunkers before sinking putts on undulated TifEagle Bermuda grass greens that serve as homage to the architect’s beloved bean-bag chairs. A certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, the course is flush with wildlife, from squirrels and foxes who bark out polite applause to indifferent heron, stirred only by a hole-in-one or a golf bag stuffed with anchovies.
Brad Redding invokes more than 20 years of PGA-instructing experience to guide golfers of every skill set, from novice players to Gary Players. Groups of 10 to 12 can immerse themselves in Redding's teachings, trademarked as The Plane Truth, and enjoy unlimited range balls after each session. Clinics are held on Tuesdays at 5 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m., in the first three weeks of every month, excluding January and February. Call ahead to reserve a spot.
Oak trees and waterways shape the scenery at Indigo Creek Golf Club, which sculpts a 6,747 yard layout through the heart of Carolina Lowcountry—just a stone's throw south of Myrtle Beach. Pine trees also fleck the bermuda grass fairways, their spindly trunks impeding the passage of errant golf balls. Throughout the round, golfers should keep their eyes out for wildlife, so as not to miss a photo op or the territorial heron that mistake golf balls for lost eggs.
Course at a Glance:
At Azalea Sands Golf Club, a waterless hole doesn't come into play until the tenth hole, and only three are found throughout the course. However, those players piqued by the prospect of challenge will find their niche along the 18-hole layout. First opened in 1972 and revamped in 2009, the course pits players against its mix of ponds, fairway- and green-side bunkers, and surrounding forest—a natural setting unmarred by the presence of housing developments or busy streets filled with traffic of escaped golf carts.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,902 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 72.5 from the back tees * Slope rating of 123 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
Cheraw State Park Golf Course, sequestered in the shadow of pine trees alongside Lake Juniper, unfurls a 6,928-yard map of well-groomed fairways and bermuda-grass greens designed to challenge golfers. Begin an afternoon of drive-blasting bravado and competitive putts with a visit to the driving range to loosen up muscles, straighten out swings, and practice "fore!" yodels. Although the 18-hole course's expansive emerald fairways accommodate aggressive swings, undisciplined strokes will pay as the dense, long-leaf pines that lurk in the periphery gobble up wandering golf balls. Rounds reach their crescendo at the signature par 4 13th hole, where a daunting dogleg left can only be overcome by clearing tall trees, water, and ruinous hazards on both sides with a precise power draw for righties or a high fade for lefties. Rather than leapfrogging from hole to hole, golfers reserve their precious leg strength by riding golf carts.
With iridescent miniature golf courses in malls throughout North America, Glowgolf adds elements of phosphorescent fun to shopping sessions. Courses contain sights such as light-defying blush corals, incandescent animals, and lush foliage reminiscent of the glowing trees on Neptune. Each pass is good for three 18-hole games, giving golfers ample opportunity to get familiar with each hole's obstacles. Equipment is available on the spot, so players won't have to carry around personal clubs or seek out a bioluminescent caddie.