International Club Murrells Inlet South Carolina |
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The International Club south of Myrtle Beach welcomes world travelers

MURRELLS INLET, S.C. -- With 14 million visitors to Myrtle Beach each year, it's not unusual to hear a lot of foreign languages as people unload their bags at area golf clubs. People truly come from around the world to golf here.

The International Club embraces that fact by its name and the plaques at each tee dedicated to a specific country's history and famous people.

But there are many more reasons why people should play the International Club.

One is immediately greeted at the bag drop and their clubs cheerfully unloaded. The pro shop staff is friendly and warm, and the starter gives you a rundown of what's ahead. The carts have GPS, so you don't have to guess about your yardage.

But where the International Club shines is with its Willard Byrd-designed course. It is kept in impeccable shape year-round. Everything is overseeded, so the course stays brilliant green, even in the winter. The greens are smooth, fast (about 9 or 10 on the Stimpmeter) and sloped. You have a fair shot at two-putts because there aren't crazy undulations.

The fairways are wide, but there are plenty of hazards -- bunkers, trees and water -- if you run amok. The bunkers are large and deep, with tall sides between you and the green. But the sand is light and fluffy, so extraction isn't tough.

The course also doesn't oversell its tee times, so you can count on a round in four hours or less. The reasons to play here keep racking up.

The front nine goes for classic holes between 30-foot pines with fairway bunkers and well-guarded greens. The fairways are perfect, thick and shorn to just the right length. The rough is deep and punishing. The second hole is the only true dogleg on the front, a right turn with a bunkers on the inside corner and water at the far end. At the green, the trouble concentrates on the left with a trio of bunkers.

Other standout holes include No. 9, a pretty par 5 that puts the onus at the end of the hole, requiring a well-placed second shot to have an approach at the green. It's a delicate operation because of two bunkers and water on the left and water on the right. The green is over to the right behind two bunkers and next to water.

The International Club's signature hole, the par-3 11th, is a peninsula green with large bunkers between putting and water. The green, however, in 39 yards deep, so it looks worse than it is.

The 12th hole requires a bit of a water carry for everyone, especially from the white tees. If one has hydrophobia (fear of water) there is an awkward go-around using tee boxes, but beware a bunker beyond them. More bunkers march their way to the green. The 15th hole also pairs water with sand for the par-4 hole, including a large bunker left and front that really could cause problems if the pin is behind it.

The finishing hole, a par 5, has bunkers on both sides of the fairway and a green surrounded by them. It's also right in front of the clubhouse, so there might be some stage fright to factor in.

The International Club is a great example of Myrtle Beach's finest golf adorned with Southern hospitality.

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