Indigo Creek Golf Club Murrells Inlet S Carolina |
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Indigo Creek Golf Club near Myrtle Beach requires a mellow approach

MURRELLS INLET, S.C. -- Indigo Creek Golf Club in Murrells Inlet is an exercise in restraint. It's best to pause and ponder before your unleash big clubs on this 6,747-yard course.

Designed by Willard Byrd, it's an extremely tight golf course, particularly on the front nine.

Accurate shots are supremely rewarded and failed shots are sort of tossed under the bus, or in the case of Indigo Creek, under the water, in the sand, behind some trees or under someone's patio furniture.

To demonstrate his favoritism for well executed attempts, Byrd added some slopes to nudge forward center-of-the-fairway endeavors. He gives you plenty of room past bunkers if you succeed in clearing them. He crafted some doglegs that, if mastered, can become little lap dogs that lay your drives at the foot of greens. That, indeed, is rewarding.

On the other hand, if shots go awry, there will be a price. Bunkers await overambitious drives on doglegs. Out-of-bounds stakes are nearer than they appear and they already seem pretty darned close. A few fairways bend down and elegantly usher your ball into a body of water.

For example, on No. 1, if you boom a drive because you're so excited to be there, your landing area will be just a wisp of a thing because a large bunker pushes in from the left and a line a trees infringe on the right. Byrd does get his point across. Gently, people, gently.

Looking at each hole, you'll see what you might be able to do and what you should do. The choice is yours.

It doesn't matter if it's a par 3, 4 or 5, Byrd prompts you to rise to the challenge ahead.

Wayne Paiva plays the course often and said the third hole is one of the toughest par 3s around because of its sloped green and the chain of traps in front and behind it. The hole is 165 yards from the white tees, but the green is only 23 yards deep. It's a risky ratio. The bunkers are deep, the green elevated. It's a lot to compute.

Guido Burridge likes the course because it varies.

"You use different clubs all the time," Burridge said.

The best part of the course is the strategy required. Exactly how much of the corner should you try to cut on No. 10? Too much, and trees could dump your shot into a bunker. Too little, and you might scoot through the fairway into water on the right.

Similar quandaries -- "safe for sure or maybe sorry?" -- await on Nos. 7 and 8, 12 and 17. It's a fun to see how far you can push your luck, er skill, It's as challenging and punishing a course as you choose to make it.

Even the straight holes aren't easy. Strategically placed bunkers can grab shots just a little astray or a little left or right could end up in the trees.

Judging on the number of people who play the course over and over again, Indigo Creek's provocations prove to be irresistible.

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