By Joe Derus- NorthMyrtleBeachOnline.comSouthport, NC November 25, 2007--The other day this average Joe golfer went to Southport, NC to play Bald Head Island Golf Club, through the courtesy of Myrtle Beach Golf Directors.
If you are not familiar with this course and are looking for a different kind of golfing experience you should give Bald Head Island Club a shot.
The course is on North Carolina’s southernmost cape island.
First of all, plan on full day as you have a 20 mile ride north on 17 from North Myrtle Beach to NC 211 and another 20 miles to Southport NC.
You also will not be able to show up five minutes before tee time.
Why? Because the bag drop and passenger ferry landing is at Indigo Plantation and Marina where you need to board a boat to the island.
Check the boat schedule as departure times vary through out the year.
So, get to the marina early, park the car, walk back to marina, and board the catamaran type passenger ferry from Southport. Sit back relax and enjoy the scenery as you motor along the Intracoastal Waterway and across the Cape Fear River to Bald Head Island and the ferry landing .
In twenty minutes or so you’ll see Old Baldy the lighthouse that signals your destination.
Since autos are not allowed on the island, transportation is limited to golf carts, bicycles and pedestrian traffic. Thus, you will be met by an electric tram on which your clubs will be placed. Hop in the tram golf cart and you are driven to the course.
It is about a five minute drive through some picturesque, dense, natural environment landscapes to the course. Of the island’s total 12,000 acres, 10,000 acres are dedicated nature preserves—forever protected in their natural states.
When you turn the final corner the clubhouse the Wow! factor comes to mind. Wow! What an unusual and pretty course, and hilly too! Yes! Bald Head Island Golf Course had many more hills than most golf courses in the area.
There are no fairway bunkers; lagoons that drain the fairways provide the hazards.
The first hole sets the feel for the course. It is typical of the look and playing condition for the entire course.
It is a par four 361 yards from white tees, water all the way up the left. The green has a ridge running horizontal though the center. The greens are also a bit faster than most greens in the area and are very smooth.
The second hole is a par three 175 yards. The par threes at Bald Head, are a problem for this average Joe simply because of the distance. They average 168 yards the longest being 187 yards the shortest is 147 yards.
The 16th is the 187 yards and yes that one is over water to the green. Now don’t get me wrong this course is fun and different. But, when you see a sign that says ‘Caution Alligators;’ believe it!
Lurking just below the bank a gator may be plotting its next meal; like a pre- occupied golfer looking to see if his ball made the water.
Seriously, the obviously well fed gators are docile; just give them a wide berth.
We were caution by the starter that on the 14th you may lose your tee shot especially if you hit it in the middle of the fairway. It seems as if a red fox likes to collect golf balls and take them back to its lair .This did not happen to anyone in our group.
We lose balls the traditional way.
The cart paths sometimes are just trails through the beautiful natural foliage on the island. I especially liked the way each green has a tree background when viewed from the fairway. It makes each hole look like it is the only one on the course.
The course is surrounded by a maritime forest. The lush maritime forest of live oaks, dogwoods, palms, cedars, yaupons, wax myrtles and junipers adds to its luxurious feel.
An interesting quirk about this course is tee times are more available in the spring and fall and not readily available in the summer.
A couple tips when going to Bald Head Golf Club, dress appropriately for the weather and in proper golf attire. Secure your clubs in the bag with the travel covers. Your bag/clubs will be moved from dock to boat to tram and loose clubs may be a problem if not properly secured.
And the biggest tip of all, this is a private golf course. Tee Times must be obtained through a certified tour director, such as Myrtle Beach Golf Directors. You cannot call the club house direct, to get tee times unless you are a member of the club.
Yes it was a very good day of golf, site seeing and this old baldy had a great time playing Bald Head Island Club. I enjoyed posing with the lighthouse, also called old baldy, behind me.
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