In a myriad of golf courses which all seemed the same in his mind, golf course designer Clyde Johnson wanted to create something a little different; something that golfers visiting the Myrtle Beach area would be able to look back upon and remember certain attributes of his design. With that, Johnson created Shaftesbury Glen. Johnson was admittedly inspired by A.W. Tillinghast and his famous design of the West Course at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y. In fact, this inspiration goes right to the roots (pun intended); down to the bent grass greens.
Over the years, Shaftesbury Glen has received numerous accolades including a nomination in 2001 as the Best New Public Course in America by Golf Digest and a ranking among the top 22 of South Carolina’s more than 300 golf courses in 2009 by Golf World. Shaftsbury Glen has also been awarded 4 stars by Golf Digest’s “Places to Play.”
Shaftesbury Glen plays 6,935 yards from the back (Blue) tees with a course rating of 74.3 and a 140 slope. The Gold Tees (5,985) will prove a formidable challenge for most golfers and carry a course rating of 69.5 and a slope of 128. Just pick the tees best suited for your game and a good time is guaranteed. Four sets of tees ensure that all members of your playing party will have a good time, regardless of ability.
Across the parking lot from the clubhouse there is a full length driving range as well as a short game area and practice putting green. There are also several suites available on property at the Shaftsbury Glen Manor for overnight accommodations, just in case you have such a good time, you can’t wait to play it again. The clubhouse has a pro shop complete with all the logoed gear you could ever need as well as a restaurant and patio area that serves breakfast sandwiches and lunches. I highly recommend the hot dogs!
Shaftesbury Glen winds its way through farmlands and forests along the Waccamaw River. In fact, water is plentiful in the way of marshes, lakes and ponds; you’ll find it on 13 holes. In addition to the tree lined fairways, you’ll encounter many features here that you would on a course in the British Isles – generous, undulating fairways and elevated bent grass greens. Putting surfaces are generally large and roll perfectly without wavering. There’s not too much undulation in the greens and many have open fronts, but they are elevated and bump and run doesn’t work too well.
Most Memorable Hole: Number 18, Par 4, 390 yards (Gold Tees). Nothing like saving the best for last! Number 18 is a very challenging and aesthetically pleasing hole. It’s 258 yards to the bunker on the right so most guys can bomb away. Don’t worry about the water up on the left; Jason Day would have trouble reaching it. A good drive will leave an approach shot of about 150 yards to the middle of an elevated green surrounded by 5 bunkers. Make sure you know where the pin is because the green is about 60-yards deep with a trough in the middle. Make a par and head to the 19th hole!
Favorite Par 3: Number 8, 165 yards (Golf Tees). This hole plays exceptionally long from the back two sets of tees and steering clear of the water is only half the battle; avoiding the three large bunkers that surround the green is the other half. The green is elevated so you won’t be running the ball up, you’ll have to fly the traps. Your best bet is to aim for the center of the green and hope for the best. Par is a good score here. In the event you find the wet stuff, there is a drop area just in front of the red tees so you won’t have to surrender your manhood!
Favorite Par 4: Number 9, 400 yards (Gold Tees). This hole is the number 1 handicap and for good reason. There’s a creek that crosses the fairway about 260 yards out from the Gold Tees, so most guys will be able to hit driver. The creek gets farther away as you go left. Many players (me included) who don’t make it to the creek will be looking at about 200 yards for an approach shot to a triangular shaped green which is hard to hit it close with a front pin placement. You also need to be wary of the creek on the left side and the deep sand bunker on the right. Another hole where par is a good score.
Favorite Par 5: Number 13 or Number 16. It’s a toss-up; these two holes on the back nine are very similar. They both play about 475 yards from the Gold Tees and both have a small pond on the right. If you have any length off the tee, both are reachable in two and can make for a very nice back nine. The water on number 16 is hidden and you can only see the top of the flag that marks the hazard. Don’t plan on hitting your approach short and running the ball up close; these elevated greens won’t allow it.
Last Word: Shaftesbury Glen is a little bit off the beaten path but definitely worth beating a path to. It’s very player-friendly, well maintained and conditioned; there are grounds crew workers everywhere who seem to take pride in what they do. Although water is present on about 13 holes, it isn’t really in play on the majority and for the most part makes for good visual effects. Where it really comes into play is on number 9 where it is virtually impossible to carry and creates a long approach shot. Many of the cart paths are sand and play as waste bunkers. Several of them frame the perimeter of some fairways, creating a very vivid picture.
With Shaftesbury Glen, what you see is what you get, and you can see most of it. There are no forced carries of any length of the tee and with the exception of a couple holes, everything plays straight ahead. Even the long par 3, Number 8 has a bailout area in case you don’t want to challenge the water on the right. There’s also a good mix of risk/reward holes, as well as holes that are all reward with very little risk.
All in all, Shaftesbury Glen is worth the trip and playable for all level of player. Be sure to choose the right set of tees to maximize your enjoyment here. For more information or to book a round, visit them online at www.shaftesburyglen.com.