“A Daring Beauty”
This past weekend the Sun News of Myrtle Beach published a glowing review of Leopard’s Chase Golf Links. Below is approximately the first third of the lengthy review from Alan Blodin’s article:
OCEAN ISLE BEACH, N.C. — With each course Tim Cate has designed at Ocean Ridge Plantation, he has seemingly become more bold in creating striking scenery and memorable holes.
Leopard’s Chase Golf Links, his third solo design at Ocean Ridge that opened in 2007, reflects his more daring approach to fusing challenge with beauty.
The 7,155-yard course has multiple waterfalls to the side of the 18th green, huge coquina boulders throughout the property lining water hazards and hills, elevation changes, rolling terrain, undulating greens and dramatic bunkering.
“It’s a gorgeous course with a great variation of holes and scenery,” said Meghan Tarmey, who splits time between Myrtle Beach and New York and owns the Myrtle Beach Caddie Girls business. “It’s lovely and it’s well maintained.”
Joining me and Meghan, a 26 handicap, in a foursome that reviewed Leopard’s Chase in late March were Dennis Lang of Myrtle Beach, a cardiologist with a 10 handicap, and Bill Mannix of Myrtle Beach, a freelance cameraman and 16 handicap.
“There are no gimmicky holes. Every hole is solid,” Dennis said. “You had to place a lot of drives perfectly. It appears open but you have to place shots or you will pay.”
The course is expansive with no holes running parallel to each other, plenty of room around each hole and few homes in sight or interfering with play. “I like the fact it’s not crammed,” Bill said. “The houses that are out here aren’t on top of the fairways. It’s big, wide open, and has championship length, though it’s not built to be a championship course.”
In addition to pine tree-lined fairways on most holes, the course’s defenses include both waste bunkers and traditional bunkers, water, wetlands and elevation changes that include elevated greens creating difficult up-and-downs.
The front nine has a par of 35 with three par-3s and the back nine has a par of 37 with three par-5s. So if you like par-3s and par-5s, you get five of each and only eight par-4s compared to 10 at traditional par-72 layouts.
Leopard’s Chase is one of less than a dozen courses on the Strand that still feature the high quality bentgrass on greens. It has the L93 variety. The greens are rolling and were consistently quick without being too fast, and many greens fall off in multiple directions, so knowledge of the contours is beneficial.
“The greens are nice because they’re undulating but not ridiculously difficult,” Dennis said, “and they roll true.”
Though most greens are protected by bunkers, the front of nearly every green is open. “If the pins are in the front they’re very accessible because you don’t have to deal with undulations and there aren’t front bunkers,” Dennis said.