Magnolia Greens Golf Plantation
WILMINGTON, N.C. - Magnolia Greens' 27 holes make every claim they can to being player friendly. But that doesn't mean that a high number isn't lurking on some of the course's more difficult holes.
"If you play from the right tees out here, and hit your fairways you'll be fine," says Magnolia President Patrick Crean. "Choose the wrong tees or start spraying the ball and you can find some sevens and eights out here."
Each set of nines has one or two holes that can make or break a round. The Magnolia Nine's most sinister character may by the 393-yard par-4 fourth hole. Rated as only the No. 4 handicap hole on the nine, and one of the prettiest holes on the course, this beautifully framed two-shotter would appear to be a reasonable par, or a possible birdie opportunity. But hit anything other than the middle of the fairway and you'll be scrambling for bogey. A huge, ameba bunker snares pulled tee shots and a small bit of marsh to the right will swallow up weak fades.
At 3649 from the back of the bus, the Camilla Nine is the longest track at Magnolia. The 467-yard, par-4 14th hole is one of the most unique on the course, and the most difficult on the Camilla Nine. The tee shot has to be down the right side of the fairway, or it will find a shallow bit of marsh that juts across ¾ of the fairway approximately 230 yards from the white tees. If you can make it to this sliver of a landing area, then one of Magnolia's most majestic green complexes awaits. If you can't, you are almost forced to layup and treat the hole like a par-5.
The Azalea Nine, which opened in 2000, sports some slight variations from its older siblings. Jackson opted for a bit more mounding, and the green complexes are slightly more pronounced and dramatic. The CGA's rating of the 470-yard, par-4 21st hole as the No. 2 handicap hole is good cause for argument in the clubhouse. The hole doglegs left, but a marsh that juts in from the left about 220 yards out prevents players from cutting off any distance. Therefore, players of average length are left with high irons or fairway woods into the green.
Best Birdie Opportunity
The Magnolia Nine wastes little time in giving players a fantastic birdie opportunity with the par-3, third hole. Most golfers will be playing from the white tees, where the hole weighs in at an anemic 115 yards. Virtually devoid of hazards (or personality for that matter), No. 3 allows players to take dead aim at the pin, wherever the hole cut may be.
Most head professionals will tell you that every hole on their golf course is the signature hole. Hogwash. Some holes are naturally better than others. The original finishing hole at Magnolia, the 592-yard, par-5 18th, gets our nod (and even Crean's, in not so many words) as the signature hole.
No. 18 is a true par-5, as it is virtually unreachable in two even from the white tees, where it plays to a healthy 520 yards. The hole gradually doglegs to the left, so even longer hitters must be able to draw the ball if they have any hopes of putting for eagle.
Most Scenic Hole
The honor goes to one of our card wreckers - the Magnolia Nine's No. 4 hole. True, it can spit in your general direction, but at least you'll enjoy the view of the meandering fairway and the awesome green complex, all framed by a variety of Carolina hardwood trees, when it does.
November 21, 2001