From above, there is certainly more water than land at Man O' War Golf Club. (Courtesy of Mystical Golf) The par-3 sixth, like most of the Man O' War Golf Club, requires a carry over water to a deep green. (Courtesy of Mystical Golf) Even the clubhouse at Man O' War Golf Course was built over the water. (Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor) The par-3 15th at Man O' War G.C. has the second consecutive island green on the golf course. (Courtesy of Mystical Golf) The finishing hole at Man O' War golf course is a nice risk-reward par 5 that plays, surprise, over water twice. (Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor)

Fear of water won't serve you well at Myrtle Beach's Man O' War Golf Club

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- At Man O' War Golf Club on South Carolina's Grand Strand, you might want to consider wearing white -- along with a sailor's cap. That's because there's so much water that you might as well dress the part.

Check out an aerial of Man O' War, where a water landing off the tee seems the likely scenario. Indeed, there are 100 acres of water, which come into play on every nearly every hole.

But looks can be deceiving. This Dan Maples design was carefully thought out. Most of that water merely provides perspective, and there really are plenty of landing areas -- aka wide fairways -- for tee shots and approaches, which become evident when you get on the golf course.

Still, it can be intimidating, and there are forced carries and watery graves for wild shots.

At Man O' War, the water was already there

Man O' War is one of three Myrtle Beach golf courses owned and operated by Mystical Golf. The other two are The Witch and The Wizard, and all three are completely different. The Wizard is part of the same 36-hole complex as Man O' War, while the Witch is a few miles away.

Man O' War is engineered like few other golf courses.

"What we found out was the water table was actually very high," said Claude Pardue, owner and operator of Mystical Golf. "It was just a matter of digging down a few feet to get to it."

Indeed, the water features were simply dug out around the holes, and the water was already there. Throw in a little wind, and you have a pretty tough golf course. In any event, you're always thinking about it.

Man O' War's fifth hole, for example, is a 445-yard par 5 with water off the tee and to the left of the entire hole. The fairway is actually quite wide, but you can't get the lake out of your mind.

The eighth is the No. 1 handicap hole on the course. It's a par 5 that plays almost 600 yards from the back tee, and a lake runs the entire length of the left side.

The ninth could be even more difficult. It's a 433-yard par 4 that's basically an island hole. There's water left, right and long of the fairway and green.

The back nine has two holes that have island greens, and they are back-to-back. The 14th is a short par 4 with an island green. Man O' War's 15th is a 173-yard par 3. Both have large greens, but with wind, they can play most difficult.

Even the clubhouse sits on water, which gives it a unique feel.

Man O' War Golf Club in Myrtle Beach: The verdict

While I wouldn't recommend this golf course for beginners or high handicappers, as long as you can get the ball up in the air and play it from the proper tees, you'll have a good time. Still, with this much water, bring plenty of ammo in case you're having a bad day.

Conditions are also outstanding on this moderately priced golf course (around $50 during the summer). The bentgrass greens are especially impressive, and the fairways are plush.

Service is also top notch, as it is with the other two golf courses. No matter when you play, you'll never go more than a few holes without seeing a drink cart, and the burgers and sandwiches are consistent and moderately priced. Sodas, sports drinks and beer are also fairly priced.

Practice facilities are more than adequate with a grass range and short-game area, and lessons are available from the professional staff.

Jul 19, 2010

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Mike Bailey

Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.