Mystical Golf in Myrtle Beach
Man O’ War, The Wizard, and The Witch Golf Courses
By Tim Cotroneo
Born into a golf architecture family dating back to the late 1800s, Dan Maples has designed and seen his share of spectacular golf holes. That’s why it’s fascinating to note the very first golf photo greeting visitors on Maples’ captivating website.
The initial www.maplesdesign.com photo that jumps off your computer screen is the par 3, 173-yard, 15th hole at Man O’ War Golf Course in Myrtle Beach, SC. Readers learn that Man O’ War is part of a trio of Maples’ designed 18-hole layouts known as Mystical Golf.
Joining Man O’ War in this superb South Carolina golf trilogy are The Witch and The Wizard. Like the names imply, these are one-of-a-kind golf experiences. With Man O’ War and The Wizard located side-by-side, and The Witch just a 20-minute drive, this threesome of Maples masterpieces are perfect for first-time vacationers looking to personally discover why over 3-million golfers travel annually to Myrtle Beach.
Man O’ War Golf Course
When you play Man O’ War for the first time, it’s hard to believe that before the mid-90s, this pristine 400-acre site didn’t feature a single drop of water. Keep in mind that today, no less than 14 of Man O’ War’s 18 golf holes pay homage to a 100-acre man-made lake. The lake is a testament to the imagination of owner Claude Pardue and the artistic touch of Maples.
Before you flinch at the idea of contending with that many water holes, keep this thought in mind: Every Maples golf course design places a premium on playability. Relief is thoroughly accomplished when you realize that this 6900-yard golf course features some of the widest fairways found anywhere in South Carolina. By the way, the condition of Man O’ War’s fairways are flawless.
Images on the www.mysticalgolf.com and Dan Maples websites reinforce that Man O’ War is a great golf course for shooting a keepsake photo or two. The reflections looking back at you from the centerpiece man-made lake are postcard worthy. You’ll finish your Man O’ War round instilled with a sensation of having played “mystical golf.”
The Wizard Golf Course
The clubhouse is the first thing to grab the attention of golfers arriving at The Wizard Golf Course entrance. The Wizard’s clubhouse exterior resembles a Scottish castle, complete with a surrounding moat. When Pardue conjured the identities of his Mystical Golf courses, his goal was that you’d find his golf offspring to be memorable.
The generous fairways allow you to find your game in the early going before tackling The Wizard’s more challenging back nine. The Wizard crescendo builds toward the last two holes where you’ll encounter the Man O’ War golf course lake embracing The Wizard layout in dramatic fashion.
The lake makes a bold appearance on the 17th hole, a Par 3 that is 180-yards from the blue tees. This picturesque beauty is all carry and features an island green. The 18th hole, a 421-yard par 4, may call for you to lay up with your second shot, depending on how far your drive carries. There is a fortress of water surrounding the front, right, and back sides of The Wizard’s iconic finisher.
For those who’ve played Mystical Golf multiple times, many say that The Wizard is an excellent course to play first. With its links-style contours and ample fairways, Maple’s playability thought process is on display at The Wizard.
The Witch Golf Course
In 1989, owner Claude Pardue researched no less than 30 different tracks of Myrtle Beach land before falling in love with 23,000-acres of Waccamaw swampland. Pardue was thrilled by the potential of creating a golf course amidst wetlands, wildlife, a nature preserve, and no fewer than five lakes.
Today, golfers playing The Witch find it hard to conceive that this serene 6,700-yard 18-hole layout is on swampland. The tranquil setting is a thing of beauty, and yet there are gentle reminders as to how the course got its name.
Your first witch-like clue comes after holing out on the first green. Your group will cross over a long wooden bridge to the second hole. On either side of the bridge you’ll find an eerie visual of cypress knees poking out from the wetlands. You’ll soon discover that these long-stemmed tree roots are used throughout The Witch’s 18 holes as South Carolina’s most unique tee markers.
The Witch separates itself from its two sister courses with dramatic elevation changes that Maples incorporated into his design. The Witch stays true to the Mystic Golf added value mantra by rewarding their clientele with photogenic island green impact holes on number one and number nine.
Another element of The Witch that sort of sneaks up on you is the sheer peacefulness of this lush environment. Owner Claude Pardue shared something he regularly notices at The Witch. “Golfers find themselves whispering. When I ask about this, golfers reflect that they weren’t aware of how softly they were speaking. It makes me smile to know that this quiet, natural environment was exactly what we tried to create almost 30 years ago. That’s just one reason we refer to our courses as Mystical Golf,” Pardue said. http://mysticalgolf.com/