Travel USA: Mystical Golf a memorable Myrtle Beach trip

By David Droschak

Mystical Golf president and CEO Claude Pardue insists there was no magical formula, no inside trade secrets, that allowed him to survive, heck, even prosper, during the recent golf course contraction in Myrtle Beach.

As some noted courses disappeared into economic despair, Pardue’s three layouts, with their catchy names, memorable logos, unique designs and spectacular scenery, kept swimming right along, and defying the current state of the game.

Pardue, an N.C. State grad who was born in Burlington and cut his teeth in the golf business at Hyland Hills in Southern Pines, often pokes fun at himself as not being very smart. However, the Southern gent seemingly has the golf industry figured out to a tee.

“People make the same conscious decisions to buy anything – whether it’s a car or a pair of shoes – they buy what they perceive to be of value,” he said. “I don’t care if you’re at the low end of the market or the upper end of the market, when they drive away from the parking lot, if they think they got something worth more than the amount of money they paid then you’ve got a happy customer. Selling value has always worked whether there are bad times economically or good times economically.

“You buy a Mercedes based on if you think it’s worth the $70,000 you just spent for it,” Pardue added. “If you think it is worth $90,000 then you are ecstatic to buy it for $70,000. You also have to properly analyze yourself in a market place. You can’t let your ego get in the way. So many people in the golf industry let their ego get in the way, they think they have the best golf course in the world because it is theirs and they built it. They think they should be right there with Pebble Beach. You either sell the same product as your competition for less than they sell it for or you sell a better product than your competition for the same price they sell it for.”

Pardue does a little bit of both with The Witch, The Wizard and Man O’ War – three uniquely different products that are reasonably priced and provide golfers with a sense of adventure as they maneuver way their through a swamp, a windswept links experience and around a 102-acre lake and its tributaries.

None of the three courses measure more than 7,000 yards, but don’t be fooled by the yardage as each Dan Maples designed layout requires shot-making ability and a thinking man’s round.

The Witch (1989) was the first of the three courses Pardue teamed up with Maples, who he met while in Pinehurst and grew fond of because of his design at The Pit.

“I like to create illusions and I talked to Dan about creating illusions and you’ll see a whole lot of them at The Witch,” Pardue said.

The Witch, with 3,000 feet of wooden bridges used as “connectors” through a 500-acre tract of land in the Waccamaw Swamp, is about a 10-minute drive from The Wizard and Man O’ War. Its grand opening was delayed a few weeks as Hurricane Hugo made its way through the Myrtle Beach area, but The Witch recovered quickly and has been one of the area’s top golfing draws for more than two decades.

“How often do you get to go into a swamp?” Maples said. “The Witch is a very unique golf course. I don’t know of another one like it. It’s like a set of dominos when you’re trying to figure out all the golf shots. It just all adds up. So many people love that golf course and they really can’t tell you why.”

Maybe it’s the quiet, serene setting; or not knowing whether a deer will race out of the woods at any moment in your backswing.

“If you name a golf course ‘The Witch’ then you have to be great or the name becomes gimmicky,” Pardue said. “I wanted to make it something that everybody would remember, something that popped out at you. If The Witch was not gorgeous and people came and played it they would say it was just a joke. That was a big deal to me.

“It was also a big deal to me that it remained pristine. You get back on that front side (310 acres) and it’s you, nature and the swamp,” he added. “It is absolutely special. You can go back there and it will seem so quiet. We’ll have days when we have 270 golfers on The Witch and they’ll be whispering and they don’t even know they’re doing it. It is because you get a feeling and you don’t know why you get that feeling. That’s the magic of The Witch.”

In the mid 1990s, Pardue was able to purchase a large piece of land from International Paper that was slated for 36 holes. There was one problem, though. The vast piece of forest had just 3 feet of elevation change.

Pardue’s mind began to spin … and he walked 48,000 acres testing soil and dreaming of a vision of the first “lake golf course” in Myrtle Beach.

He approached Maples about an idea to dig a huge lake, more than 100 acres, taking that dirt and moving it to one course, while the other layout would remain relatively flat with water hazards. More than 1.2 million cubic feet of dirt was transported and The Wizard and Man O’ War were born, opening side-by-side within six months of each other, giving Mystical Golf 54 holes of resort play.

“You go to a lot of multi-course resorts and you can’t tell one from the other,” Maples said. “Well, we said we’re going to make it different, we’ll put all the water on one side and all the dirt on the other and they’ll be totally different courses. We always called them the low course and the high course. When you play the one course you can’t help but see the other course and wonder: ‘What’s going on over there?”’

Each course is distinct, from the layout to the clubhouse, which sits across from each other on Pardue’s lake. There are back-to-back island greens (14th and 15th holes) on Man O’ War (reportedly the only such greens in the world) and arguably the best three finishing holes along the Grand Stand on The Wizard.

“We built the two courses like an artist would build a sculpture. He uses clay and takes away from it,” Pardue said. “That’s how we build the golf courses, we took away what we didn’t want from one and we built up the other.”

Pardue’s overall golf design plan, along with some newly added lodging on site, has allowed him to capture golfers who want to stay on his property – and not venture off to try other Myrtle Beach offerings.

“Go ask 10 PGA Tour players what their favorite golf course is or what style of golf course they like or what they think a great course is and they’ll all give you a different answer,” he said. “They all say Pebble Beach is because they’ve been told all their life that it is, but it’s an opinion. But everybody knows a view. Everybody knows when they are driving through the swamps at The Witch that this is a special thing that they’ve never seen before.”

Pardue is a hands-on owner, who drives around his courses on a daily basis greeting customers and gauging feedback. A five-minute conversation about golf with Pardue will make your day as much as the variety of holes he and Maples dreamed up.

“Some people make it sound like the golf business is different than any other business on the planet and it’s not,” Pardue said. “It’s a business where people are buying your service. My customer isn’t a golfer. That’s what they don’t realize. My product is not golf. My product is my customer getting away from his house, his wife, his boss for one week, with his buddies who want to drink a couple of beers, go out to a nice dinner and sit in a sports bar, play poker, hit golf balls in the day and just wants to get away on his vacation. We sell fun.”

Comments (977)

 

  1. Louis Vuitton Handbags

    2jordan 6 black infrared AHs http://unit-webzine.com AMo retro 6 BLs black infrared 6s AHp black infrared 6 FNt jordan 6 black infrared EJt black infrared 6s CLq jordan 6 black infrared BJp black infrared 23 13s GNt black infrared 23 13s BKq jordan 13…

  2. cheap nike free 3.0

    Letrrrs say, good one may likely response faster for some shockingly live querelle with collect promptly when your nervous someone prospective more sluggish to be kick in together with might be use a considerable amount far more to recuperate at the am…

  3. Lunettes Soleil Fashion

    Louis Vuitton Femmes Sacs à main Pochettes est un favori de la haute-Fliers femmes, version simple, ce Sac Louis Vuitton Pas Cher Femme est très créatif et le design d’ouverture pratique, Louis Vuitton En Ligne fournissent les grands sacs de capacité.…

  4. Michael Kors Hamilton Large Tote Bags

    Triangle Golf Today Magazine » Travel USA: Mystical Golf a memorable Myrtle Beach trip

  5. louis vuitton outlet

    3jordan 6 retro pantoneEsVjordan 6 retro black OreoCtXjordan 6 black oreoGtYjordan oreo 6CsUjordan 13 3mEsVBlack Infrared 6s For SaleGoWjordan retro 6DrYsport blue 6sGqVRetro Jordan ShoesFtYjordan columbia 11BoVLegend Blue 11sArYJordan 11 ColumbiaCsWJo…

  6. blue michael kors bag sale

    Each guest was welcomed to his or her seat with a flower corsage or boutonniere as a favor. Disposable cameras were also at each place setting.

  7. louis vuitton neverfull mm

    2polo outlet cyber mondayCYpolo outlet black fridayAVcyber monday polo ralph laurenDVpolo outlet cyber monday dealDVpolo cyber monday saleFVpolo black friday 2014GVpolo ralph lauren cyber mondayGUpolo black fridayGWJordan Retro 6CYJordan Retro 6 Black…

  8. Moncler outlet online

    Nuova Collezione Moncler di Cappotto Moncler Uomo per questo inverno venduti a Giubbotti Moncler Spaccio avrebbe lasciato una profonda impressione. Ogni uomo ha bisogno di questo classico e iconico Cappotto Moncler Uomo nel vostro guardaroba per manten…

  9. loui vuitton says:

    loui vuitton

    4Jordan Retro 6 Black Infrared Aq Jordan 6 Black Infrared Fp Black Infrared 6s Eo Jordan 6 Black Infrared Gq Black Infrared 6s Ap Coach outlet online Eo Coach factory outlet online Er Coach outlet Fs Coach black friday Gp http://www.lexustrike.co Et Coach out…

  10. louis vuitton handbags

    8michael kors purses EMq michael kors handbags outlet CIq michael kors outlet ANt michael kors outlet online GHp http://www.curtharnett.ca CMq michael kors outlet FLq cheap michael kors CMr michael kors sale CHr michael kors hamilton CIq cheap michael…

  11. mcm munich lion weekender bag

    Rochelle HumesRochelle Humes seen shopping at Lipsy on August 8, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Neil P. Mockford/FilmMagic)

  12. Ralph Lauren UK

    Triangle Golf Today Magazine » Travel USA: Mystical Golf a memorable Myrtle Beach trip

  13. colleenkerwick.info

    5michael kors outletChmichael kors handbagsBhmichael kors outletEimichael kors outletGnmichael kors handbagsAlmichael kors bagsDklebron 12 shoesEjlebron 12 for saleDm

  14. Cheap Uggs Black Friday

    active in the rainforest book, using the Rudyard Kipling novel of the identical word, Mowgli stumbles concerning a team of monkeys (or possibly orangutans) who exactly hop somewhere down the bushes you need to music and singing around his / her desire…

  15. Louis Vuitton outlet

    purpose do you not take a driving lesson your bonsai tree along with vine, and after that sanction to allow them to join forces yourself and some one? I long you are going to.

  16. pas cher Louis Vuitton soldes

    Le nom de cette marque Louis Vuitton Soldes s’est rapidement propagé partout dans le monde depuis le style de la mode, sophistiqué. Pas cher Louis Vuitton Soldes sacs font de chaque femme pleine d’élégance et de fa? Louis Vuitton Femmes Sacs Icônes c…

  17. Louis Vuitton alma

    Louis Vuitton Femmes Voyage1 est si simple et large, incarne la temperement de wather et la tolérance de la mer. Sac De Voyage Louis Vuitton peut être en mesure de tenir quoi que ce soit, vous prenez Louis Vuitton En Ligne la conception lastest de sacs…

  18. http://www.onyxalliance.org

    activities, fundraisers or just about any other |www.onyxalliance.org| a Coach handbagcoach the more parallels others can draw

  19. Michael Kors Outlet

    for more information on the services the training, Be sure to visit Walking firm’s Walking to achieve prayer training course net page,

  20. cheap longchamp

    Hurrah! In the end I got a web site Triangle Golf Today Magazine » Travel USA: Mystical Golf a memorable Myrtle Beach trip from where I be capable of truly obtain valuable information regarding my study and knowledge.

  21. Michael Kors Outlet

    closely, brand-new material informs us where consumer respect has grown over the last 2 and then a few years as a share of brought on by purchased UGG tire maker method are now putting it on more often.

  22. http://www.bagskanjp.com

    to cover Websites are a great tools for communicating schedules, |www.bagskanjp.com| likewisecoach offered free giveaways.

  23. http://www.kcfglaw.com

    8cyber monday ugg bootsEKwww.foothillsrestaurant.comGJblack friday uggsDIuggs cyber mondayGIblack friday ugg bootsEHuggs black friday saleENuggs on sale for black fridayGIcyber monday uggsBKblack friday deals uggsFHuggs black friday saleBJcyber monday…

  24. Cheap UGGs says:

    Cheap UGGs

    perhaps more youthful tones to be baby pink, precious metal golden and then blue seem to be far dearly loved via these kind prevalent young ladies.