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