Whispering Pines Golf Course

December 4, 2011 5:08 PMViews: 87

 

By Paul Gable

Originally the golf course on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base,
Whispering Pines Golf Course was transferred to the City of Myrtle Beach when
the base closed in 1993.

“We are not your typical municipal course,” said General Manager and Head Pro
Alan Chasteen. “We have upgraded the layout over the last 10 years and we are
very service oriented.”

Starting as a nine-hole layout, a second nine was added less than a decade before
the Air Force departed. The character of the course today owes much to the
expansion.

“The original nine holes were basically a flat layout,” said Chasteen. “The
second nine had a lot more contouring and elevation in the hole layouts, giving
more character to the holes.”

Beginning in 1998, the course superintendent began adding mounds, contouring
and ponds to the original nine holes.

“We do most of the work with our regular staff, working on one or two holes
each year,” said Chasteen. “Golfers who come back every year see a slightly
different course from the year before and we have had good positive feedback
from them on the changes.”

The overall layout is not particularly long, measuring 6771 yards from the Blue
Tees, 6245 from the White, 5497 from the Gold (Seniors) and 5176 from the Red
(Ladies). But, the course is far from a pushover.

The fairways are lined by tall pines and mature hardwoods, making accuracy,
especially off the tee, a must. Well placed ponds, many of them added in the
last dozen years, strategic bunkering and mounds and contours force you to
think your way around the course.

When you have negotiated your way to the green, you will find strategically
contoured, relatively small putting surfaces of TifEagle Bermuda grass. The greens
are fast as you will quickly find out if you find yourself above the hole
putting downhill, but they run true if you have determined the correct line.

While the layout is tight, it is a good one and a fair test of your overall
ability as a golfer.

“You can’t just yank the driver out of the bag, bang it as long as you can and
expect to have a good approach shot, or maybe any shot, to the green,” said
Chasteen.

The par threes and fives are especially pleasing golf holes, some of my
favorites on the course.

Number 2 is a short par three from an elevated tee to a tiered green protected
by water on the left. It’s a delightful hole but not as easy as you might
think. Number 17 is a medium range par three well protected by water on the
right and well bunkered in front. It is probably one club longer than you
think.

Numbers 12-15 provide a great stretch of holes. Twelve is a good, three-shot
par five that doglegs right.

Thirteen is a short par four, but going for the green from the tee is not the
play. It has a hidden pond on the left and a bunker on the right of the green.
Putting yourself in position for a short approach from the right can still
yield a birdie and is the smart play.

Fourteen is a double dog leg par five to a small, well trapped green with maybe
the slickest putting surface on the course. Par is a good score.

Fifteen is the longest par four on the course with a new pond being constructed
on the left that significantly tightens the fairway landing area. If you are
long into the green, you are left with a very slick put coming downhill. Par is
a very good score.

Overall, this is a wonderful golfing experience where you can use every club in
your bag over the 18 holes. The experience begins when you arrive. The staff is
extremely courteous and friendly.

“We want the whole experience to be friendly and fun,” said Chasteen. “We try
to take care of our local players year around and be a home away from home for
the tourists.”

The pro shop is well stocked and offers some of the best prices on the Grand
Strand, even when measured against the big golf discount stores in the area.

The same goes for the snack bar where the prices are reasonable and a specialty
of the house is Greg Norman Kobe beef hot dogs.

The course is good value. While municipally owned, it receives no tax dollars.
Run as an enterprise fund, the course generates all its own revenues and pays
all of its expenses while still having some of the lowest greens fees in the
area. You can also get plenty of exercise if you wish as walking is allowed
after 1 p.m.

“Our goal is to provide great service at a great price so you will want to come
back,” Chasteen said.

If you haven’t tried Whispering Pines, make sure you do. It is one of the most
interesting courses in the area. If you have already played there, go back, you
will find something new to keep your interest level high.

 

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