Twenty-seven holes of great greens: Sandpiper Bay Golf and Country Club in Sunset Beach, North Carolina
SUNSET BEACH, N.C. -- One of the biggest decisions made at Sandpiper Bay Golf and Country Club in recent years is, in a way, a microcosm of everything the course stands for.
In reality, it wasn't so much the choice to convert all of its 27 greens to MiniVerde Bermuda between 2008-2010. Rather, it was how it reached the decision: The golf course polled its members and regulars, and didn't want to mess with a good thing unless everyone was on board.
"People have said we have some of the best, if not the best, greens in the Myrtle Beach area," said Richard Kascsak, the club's assistant general manager and director of marketing. "When we started that renovation, we had no idea how those greens would be received. So many people would come down to Myrtle Beach because they knew they could play on those bentgrass greens. ... It was up in the air at the very beginning if we were making the right move or not.
"But it all worked out."
Nestled amid a medium-sized housing development just across the North Carolina border from the hub of Myrtle Beach, Sandpiper Bay didn't have the luxury of making such a move without the approval of its most important clientele. And while the green-renovation project was no lock to even happen, with three-plus years in the books, there's no doubt the switch was worth the initial cost.
Sandpiper Bay has three nines worth of high-quality golf that will leave players -- both new and old alike -- knowing they got their money's worth.
Sandpiper Bay Golf and Country Club: The course
Each of the nines plays between 3,076-3,249 yards for the white tees, with the blacks measuring from 3,191 (Sand) to 3,450 (Bay). Either way, the distances and forgiving fairways make Sandpiper Bay a great place to work out some kinks or simply play a slightly more leisurely round.
"The playability of the course is huge," Kascsak said. "Most people who come to Sandpiper Bay know it isn't going to beat you up. Some people are going to have their best score out here."
Each of the three nines offers its own quirks.
The Bay Course, built in 2000, has water on every hole. However, its counteracted by large landing areas off the tee box.
The Sand nine, a par-35 collection, shaves off a stroke by including a fourth par 3 (no. 2, no. 6, no. 8). The Piper Course, courtesy of a third par 5, has arguably the most scoring opportunity.
"We like the uniqueness of that," Koscsak said. "That's one of the things that makes us so popular, I believe."
Sandpiper Bay Golf and Country Club: Facilities and instruction
Sandpiper Bay offers two in-house instruction options. The packages include individual and group instruction on and off the course.
The clubhouse is home to not only an extensive pro shop full of equipment and apparel but also the Piper's Bar and Grill. The over-sized restaurant includes abundant seating and a full-service bar. The restaurant also features a regular buffet, available to players and the general public.
Sandpiper also has a large putting green and driving range.
Sandpiper Bay Golf and Country Club: The verdict
The renovation project from the greens is probably going to continue to attract the most attention.
The fact remains, though, that Sandpiper Bay was already one of the more popular and respected courses on the Carolina coastline, evidenced by its recognition as the Myrtle Beach Golf Course Owner's Association course of the year honor in 2010. It previously has top-notch tee boxes and fairways.
Combined with the most recent venture, it now has the complete package.
June 14, 2013