If you're looking for a uniquegolf vacation, check out SouthCarolina's World Tour GolfLinks (888-633-6102; www.worldtourmb.com). Here you'll be ableto play many of the most famousholes in golf from around theworld. The World Tour Golf Linkschampionship course features crediblereproductions of 27 famous holes.
Total Golf Experience
The first challenge you'll face on the course is areproduction of the 18th hole at Winged Foot inMamoroneck, NY. To help you manage the mostfamous holes in golf, each golf cart has a digital displaythat provides course information via satellite. For theless high-tech golfer, bronzed plaques with historicalfacts are also found at each tee box.
Learning while playing convincing duplications ofholes from classic courses (eg, St. Andrews, Augusta National,Cypress Point, Royal Melbourne, and Valderrama)is just 1 of the charms that differentiates WorldTour Golf Links from the 120 other courses golfers haveto choose from in the Grand Strand area.
"For the most part, the comments we get backare not about the holes," says Dennis Nicholl, theclub's director of golf. "It's more about the serviceand amenities we offer. That's what brings golfersback and what they are mostimpressed with. They did not realizethey were going to get the totalgolf experience."
Course of the Year
Since its opening in October 1999,World Tour Golf Links has achievedlocal and national attention. named World Tour Golf Links "1 of theTop 100 Golf Shops in America." In July, the MyrtleBeach Golf Course Owners Association awarded it the"2003 Golf Course of the Year." Additional awardsinclude the "Best Overall Golf Course" and "BestGreens" by a local Myrtle Beach golf magazine.
Owner Mel Graham's vision was to replicate theatmosphere of the famous holes rather than create exactcarbon copies, which would have been impossible giventhe area's flat and sandy terrain. "The holes are inspiredby the originals. They are not exact replicas," Nichollexplains. "There are some differences here and there.But the bottom line is that we tried to do the best wecould to get them as close to the originals."
Before the most famous holes in golf were recreated,Graham and other World Tour Golf Links representativesdispersed around the globe. After taking thoroughnotes on every hole, they brought back their findings.Changes in elevation, green size, contour, hole length,bunker size, and placement were all replicated in detail.
The favorite nines requested by most golfers are theOpen and the Championship. The Open nine features 2island greens: No. 17 at the TPC of Sawgrass and No.15 at English Turn. Other highlights include the 16th atPinehurst and No. 2 and No. 18 at St. Andrews. TheInternational has holes modeled after Valderrama (No.4), Doral (No. 18), and Royal Melbourne (No. 9).
Gone with theWind
The clubhouse at World Tour Golf Links is impressive.The massive 25,000-square-foot antebellum structuremakes Scarlet O'Hara's Tara home in look like a caddy shack. Just as impressive as theclubhouse is the course's Ambassador Service, which is afancy name for marshals and other course staff.
"Myrtle Beach is very competitive, with 100-plusgolf courses," Nicholl explains. "What has helped setWorld Tour Golf Links apart from the other courses isthe consistency of the quality conditions and servicewe offer 365 days a year."
With green fees ranging from $75 to $175, youcan experience the thrill of playing the greatest holesin golf, including Augusta National's Amen Corner.It's well worth the price.
Adrian Davies is a former European Tourplayer who is hired by Fortune 500 companies,such as IBM, American Express, and Nike, forcorporate events. He welcomes questions orcomments at firstname.lastname@example.org.