Part of the Mystical family of golf courses, the Wizard touts its links bona fides – the mounding, gorse and sod-faced bunkers for starters – but the Dan Maples design defies easy description, and that’s a big part of our affinity for the layout.
If you’ve never been to Scotland, the Wizard provides a reasonable facsimile in spots, but the course manages to successfully keep one foot in new world course architecture and the other in the old.
The opening hole, a dogleg right par 5 that plays around a lake, is a contemporary American challenge, but by the time golfers arrive at No. 4, a par 3 that features stacked sod bunkers, they are enjoying a taste of the game’s ancestral homeland.
The Wizard’s fairways are enormous, but the key to success isn’t merely finding the short grass. Playing to the proper place in the fairway will position you to hit the course’s mammoth greens in spots that will give you a chance to score.
The smallest green at the Wizard is more than 10,000-square-feet (for a frame of reference, the average size is approximately 6,000-square feet), so finding the dance floor won’t be a problem. The key to scoring is proximity to pin and avoiding those 40-foot putts.
Speaking of the Wizard’s greens, the course is one of the few that still has bentgrass, and the game’s premier putting surface thrives in the open environment.
While golfers enjoy the links-style experience and a chance to score, the challenge stiffens on the final three holes, which offer a more conventional design. The 17th hole is an island green par 3 that plays from an elevated tee box, and the 18th is, essentially, an island hole as it is surrounded by a lake.
The approach on the 394-yard 18th hole (regular tees) is among Myrtle Beach’s most daunting, requiring a carry over water with a mid to long iron. It’s an outstanding finish to a golf course that provides a taste of Scotland and a whole lot of fun.