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Bald Head Island Club: Bald Head Island

A golf green at Bald Head Island ClubA short ferry ride will take you to the pristine paradise of Bald Head Island and a golfing haven known as the Bald Head Island Club. Conveniently located between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Wilmington, North Carolina, the Club features breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.

The Bald Head Island Club, designed by George Cobb, is no ordinary golf course but a winding journey across sand dunes, around freshwater lagoons and through a maritime forest. Given 4.5 stars by Golf Digest, the golf course is a favorite both for expert golfers and those who play just for fun.

The opening hole, a 384-yard par 4, seems docile enough, as long as you avoid putting from above the hole. The fourth hole, a 517-yard par 5, is lined with impressive live oaks and rewards smart play over pure power. If you stray right or left, your punishment will almost certainly be penalty strokes.

"The hardest par 5 on the course is number 11, where a freshwater lagoon runs the length of the fairway on the left..."

Number 6 isn't the most difficult hole on the course, but it might be the most dangerous. At 387 yards, a straight, solid drive will give you a birdie opportunity, but the pond behind the green is an occasional hangout for alligators.

You'll play the most difficult hole on the course just before the turn. A 444-yard par 4, number 9 features water left and right, and, if you're long, you risk more water behind the green. The putting surface is surrounded by sand.

The hardest par 5 on the course is number 11, where a freshwater lagoon runs the length of the fairway on the left, then takes a sharp turn to the right to guard the front of the green. Following your tee shot on this 512-yard hole, you more than likely will have to be satisfied to lay up to somewhere near the 100-yard marker. Even then, your third shot to the shallow green will be no walk in the park.

Nor will your tee shot on the picturesque number 16, a 204-yard par 3 where, at some point, you'll have to carry the water that threatens from the right, left and front. Into the wind, many golfers have been forced to pull out the driver to reach the green in regulation.

After a day on the course, you'll be able to relax in one of the many restaurants in the clubhouse, which offer menus ranging from fresh seafood to delicious desserts.