Blackmoor Golf Club near Myrtle Beach: A dogleg delight along South Carolina's Grand Strand

MURRELLS INLET, S.C. -- It's of little surprise when you walk up to Blackmoor Golf Club's signature hole to see a big-time dogleg as the primary option for navigating the hole.

The Gary Player design is chock full of 90-degree bends; so why not on no. 8, too?

The hole offers a split approach, allowing big-time hitters an attempt at the green in one by going to the right of a tree line cutting straight down the middle of the hole. Most players, including Head Professional Brian Lewis, tend to go to the left, knowing a short approach shot from there is also in play.

Either way, it sets the tone for a course -- one including seven doglegs -- where Player chose accuracy over brawn.

"We get more good comments than bad," Lewis said. "Some of the longer hitters don't like it as much as [those who] I would call more of a skilled golfer. Just personal opinion, it's probably because they didn't play well that day.

"I don't hit a driver off every hole here, but I like that I can use more than one club off the tee around the golf course."

It's an important aspect of the course that needs to be taken into account. But, as much as Lewis might tend to use the doglegs to describe the course, it's only a small portion of what Blackmoor is all about.

Blackmoor standing the test of time

Opened in 1990, Blackmoor Golf Club should, by most accounts, be starting to show its age. Even on some of the high-end courses around South Carolina's Grand Strand, surfaces often hold noticeable wear.

That's not the case here.

Blackmoor is crisp from start to finish. Even well off the fairway (in the few spots where that's possible), playing the ball as its lies is no issue. Some of that is a credit to 2,000 trees being removed within the past five years.

"After 20 years, you get a lot of growth," Lewis said of some former bulky tree lines. "After the trees get thicker, it's hard to get sunlight. It helps out the economic side as well."

The course, built upon the old Longwood Plantation, has thrived, in part, because of those subtractions. Tee boxes, fairways and, maybe most important, the greens are maintained about as well as possible.

It allows players to focus on what is really important here, shot placement.

With holes dipping and diving around moss-covered trees and along sometimes-slivered fairways, errors can lead to penalty strokes -- and often in bunches. A relatively small amount of water, no more than around the 14-15-16 bend, and aggressive players find themselves digging another ball out of the bag.

"If you don't put your ball where you want it, it puts you in trouble," Lewis said. "Overall, it's pretty unique to other courses in the area."

Facilities and instruction at Blackmoor Golf Club

A recently redesigned practice area now includes an oversized putting green and will soon be lined by a memorial garden. Multiple teaching pros and assistants work on site, with numerous instruction levels available.

Next to the practice facility is a moderately sized clubhouse that holds the pro shop, offices and bar and grill.

Blackmoor Golf Club: Final thoughts

Maybe if Blackmoor Golf Club was centrally located to the Myrtle Beach area, the course would be making more appearances in the annual awards listings, both locally and regionally.

That's the only explanation as to why this course isn't adorned more than it is. Blackmoor has the playability, the quality and the environment (alligators, turkeys and fox squirrels also call the course home) many people demand in a round.

Those who show up here, regardless of season, discover just that and make plans to return for another crack at all those doglegs.

Ian Guerin is a freelance writer and DJ living in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He's decent with the driver and putter; it's everything else in the bag that gives him trouble. Follow Ian on Twitter at @iguerin.
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Blackmoor Golf Club near Myrtle Beach: A dogleg delight along South Carolina's Grand Strand