This was my first time playing Shaftesbury Glen, a Clyde Johnston design, and it won’t be the last. What a great experience beginning to end. Although located about twenty minutes from restaurant row in Myrtle Beach, this course is well worth the drive.
As you approach the course, you drive past what you later discover is the eighteenth hole. A beautiful lake located close to the green and a very inviting fairway gives a great first impression. Also very noticeable is a large, well bunkered, elevated green, a signature at Shaftesbury Glen.
I went to play as a single, which can be hit or miss as far as getting paired up to play. As everyone knows who has driven up as a single, you take a huge risk on who will be your playing partners. A huge risk! I was very lucky in both situations: had my choice of twosomes to play with based on tee times and all choices seemed safe (if you’ve been a single you know what I mean by safe).
The twosome I played with happened to be brothers, one from Alabama and the other from the Chesapeake, Virginia area. It was obvious from the get go they were brothers. If not, one of them was going to knock the other one out before the turn. If I hadn’t known better I would have thought I was looking at me and my brother from the outside. They got along great and each one thought they knew more about everything than the other (a mirror of me and my brother).
The choice of which tees to play is critical at Shaftesbury Glen. Not certain I made the correct choice after it was over, but I chose the white tees. The reason I say this is because the yardage was just over 6400 yards, a slope of 135 and rating of 71.5, not too much for me normally. But every approach shot was to an elevated green which added one or two clubs to the shot. This means an additional ten to twenty yards longer than the scorecard showed.
Standing on every tee the player sees a beautiful, well-manicured, very wide inviting fairway. It’s time to pull out driver and let it rip. The landing areas appeared as wide as two football fields end to end. How could you miss the fairway? Hitting the fairway turned out to be the easy part. It was the next shot into the green where the fun begins. That is, if you hit it long enough off the tee to be able to reach the green.
One of the funniest things I read in the yardage book was when we reviewing the second par five on the back nine (where we started). Number sixteen says, “Another reachable par 5.” Some of the par fours aren’t reachable must less the par fives! Even though a par four in the range of 400 yards normally isn’t that bad, remember the approach shot is to an elevated green adding another twenty yards or so.
Every green is protected by large, deep bunkers which will definitely cause discomfort if you end up there. And believe me; it is not hard to end up there! I figured out early on to be long on the approach shot because all the trouble is in front of the greens. Another smart play is to not go at every flag just because you have a short iron in your hand (seldom do you have a short iron in your hand for second shots into par fours).
The greens were huge and in great shape. They were a little slow which meant putting from twenty yards away took a full shoulder turn to get it close. I must say for a resort course in Myrtle Beach it was difficult to find a divot in the fairway or even a ball mark on the greens. This is a rarity for Myrtle Beach courses.
Shaftesbury Glen was a great golfing experience. It is a well-manicured and beautiful course. The staff was great and very accommodating. It is definitely a course which should be on the play list. And for the brothers I played with? They made the experience even more enjoyable. Thanks.