True Blue is one of the Myrtle Beach area’s most decorated golf courses and as a result, players regularly discuss the layout, their favorite holes, and which challenges they hope to merely survive.
Those debates are largely subjective but following the completion of the Golfweek/Any Given Tuesday Intercollegiate, a tournament that attracted 18 men’s teams from across the nation to compete at True Blue, we can apply hard numbers to the discussion.
Sure, your game may not be all that comparable to a college golfer’s but it’s all relative. After 54 holes competition, here are the holes you are most likely to make birdie and bogey on during a round at this Mike Strantz classic.
The average score during the event was 74.01 playing from 6,989 yards, and the winner, UConn’s Jared Nelson, shot a 9-under par 207. Those aren’t numbers you are likely to replicate but there are lessons to be learned.
Here are True Blue’s three toughest holes
1. According to the USGA, the par 3 16th hole is True Blue’s 12th most difficult, a ranking that exposes the weaknesses in the USGA’s slope and rating system. Water runs the length of the hole on the right side and it’s an unavoidable presence. Bailout left and sand awaits, forcing you to play a delicate shot onto a green that is running away from you and toward the water. The hole played 208 yards and surrendered just 18 birdies. The average score was 3.34. Players recorded 178 pars, 74 bogeys, 13 doubles and five made triple or worse.
2. No surprise to find the daunting par 4 18th hole, which played 437 yards, near the top of the list. Whether you are a collegiate player or a bogey golfer, the challenges remain the same. The fairway is plenty wide but a miss to either side is problematic and the approach is one of the day’s most demanding. This is a great finisher. The average score was 4.31, a total that included 36 birdies, 164 pars, 63 bogeys, 18 doubles and seven poor souls did even worse.
3. We didn’t expect to see the par 3 third hole, which played 158 yards, this high on the list. That being said, the tee shot is all carry over water and the green is the size of a small resort. If you hit the wrong part of the green, a three-putt might be your goal, which probably helps explain the average score of 3.26. The 30 birdies the hole surrendered were more than offset 77 scores of bogey or worse.
Enough with talking about the challenges, here are the three holes most likely to yield birdie.
1. Par 5s are always the most likely to surrender a birdie and the 548-yard ninth hole is True Blue’s most inviting target. The fairway is enormous and assuming you successfully negotiate the wetlands on your second shot, a short approach and birdie putt should await. The ninth had an average score of 4.75 and players made 104 birdies, 39 more than the next closest hole, and six eagles.
2. Collegiate players took advantage of the 13th hole, a par 4 that played 408 yards. More importantly than length here is the width of the fairway, which allows players to bomb away with the driver, setting up a short approach to an inviting green. The average score of 3.95 included 60 birdies as compared to just 44 bogeys.
3. The 599-yard 10th hole offered plenty of distance but that didn’t stop the game’s next generation of stars, nor is it likely to slow you down. This is a three-shot hole – it didn’t surrender an eagle all week – but a generous fairway provides plenty of latitude, meaning you should be in position to attack the pin on a short approach. Sixty-five birdies and 179 pars contributed to an average score of 4.95.
Next time your buddies ask about True Blue’s easiest and hardest holes, you can answer with hard numbers.