Calabash, North Carolina
Farmstead has been chosen as the #2 gem in North Carolina by North Carolina Golf Panel, 100 must play courses of the Carolinas by GolfStyles' Carolina Magazine, and Top 100 you can play by North Carolina Golf Panel.
Straddling the North Carolina and South Carolina border, several miles northeast of the hustle of Myrtle Beach, Farmstead Golf Links is a hidden gem. Designed to incorporate many of the characteristics of great links-style courses, Farmstead is a fantastic test of golf. The course is visually stunning with tall, native grasses framing the expansive fairways. The greens were designed to accept low-running shots, which are often the preferred shot on the wind-swept layout. I am especially proud of the greens complexes, with subtle shapes and forms that flow seamlessly together.
The short, par four 5th hole features the only semi-blind tee shot on the course. From the tee, players can only see the whiskers of some tall grasses that signal the location of two fairway bunkers. The key is to play as close as possible to the bunkers to leave the best angle for a short approach to a green with water on the right.
Among the most popular holes at Farmstead, the 547 yard, par 5, 10th hole features a tree that divides the fairway in the landing area. Players taking the shorter line to the green, left of the tree, must contend with a cluster of slightly elevated bunkers that, although they look to be greenside, are nearly 100 yards short of the green. Players selecting the route to the right of the tree have to cover a few more yards, but gain a clearer line of approach. Birdies are common on this strategic finish to the front nine.
Adhering to the strategic principle of risk versus reward, the par four 10th hole offers an advantage to players who are able to place their tee shot close to or over the right fairway bunker. This opens up the best angle of approach to a narrow green that is guarded by sand and water.
The quartet of par threes at Farmstead Golf Links are exceptionally strong, highlighted by the 192 yard twelfth. With seven different teeing boxes providing different lengths and angles of play, the hole can play quite different from day to day. The tall grasses framing the hole and lake exemplify the natural feel of the course.
Another reachable par five, the 541 yard 14th, favors a slight draw off the tee. The demands increase as players near the green. A lake and a series of bunkers must be negotiated to reach a long, narrow green that offers some very challenging flag placements on the back third.
The longest of the par threes, the 15th can stretch to a 246 yard beast. To counter the length of the hole, nearly the entire front of the large, gently sloping green is open for a run-up shot. Take your par and run.