Bob Bestler

The potential closing of ‘The friendly course’ brings back some fond golfing memories

Possum Trot Golf Club’s signature hole is the 203-yard 13th, which features a bulkheaded water hazard fronting the putting surface that gets longer the farther left you go nearly to the back of the green. The green is backed by four bunkers.
Possum Trot Golf Club’s signature hole is the 203-yard 13th, which features a bulkheaded water hazard fronting the putting surface that gets longer the farther left you go nearly to the back of the green. The green is backed by four bunkers. The Sun News file photo

I never really thought it would happen, if I had thought about it at all, but it appears I’m going to be outliving several of my favorite North Myrtle Beach golf courses.

First to go was Gator Hole, just down the street from my old home, now a fine residential community bordered by a sparkling strip mall. The former Robbers Roost, next door, is fast becoming a part of the same mall.

Bay Tree Plantation closed just as the housing market dried up and for years we watched the weeds overtake its 54 holes.

Then Heather Glen, realizing there were just not quite enough homes in that corner of the world, shut down its 27 holes — and took a bit of Scotland with it.

Now comes the unkindest cut of all — the potential closing of Possum Trot Golf Course.

This one really hurts. I once figured that I had played Possum Trot at least 200 times. The course permitted walking in the afternoons and I played virtually every single round on foot, carrying my bag — the way golf was designed to be played.

It was, and still is, one of the few Grand Strand golf courses with actual (meaning natural) hills. You begin with a hill on Hole No.1 and end with a hill on Hole No. 18. Compare that with the flatland of neighboring Beachwood and Azalea Sands — both good courses, but not much contour.

I played often enough that I knew most everyone who worked at Possum Trot and could attest to its slogan: “The Friendly Course.”

My daughter spent a summer running the beverage cart at Possum Trot and she loved every minute of it. Well, of course. What golfer won’t flirt with a young, good-looking blonde? (Sorry, #MeToo, but this was a long time ago.)

I have some interesting memories.

There was the time I was followed into the Possum Trot parking lot by a North Myrtle Beach police officer — never a good way to start a round of golf. He cited me for speeding, 30 mph in a 15 mph zone.

When I went before a magistrate, she looked at the ticket and said, “Fifteen miles an hour? Isn’t that like standing still?”

I said it was a lot like standing still. Even the officer sheepishly agreed. Case dismissed.

Then there was the day I went to the driving range, early in the morning, and saw a person I thought was a woman because of the long ponytail peering through the back of her hat. After a second look, I realized it wasn’t a “her.”

It was a Willie Nelson, my all-time favorite country singer who had appeared in Myrtle Beach the night before. I learned later he had just purchased a new driver and had come to Possum Trot to check it out.

We were the only ones on the range, but I didn’t bother him and tried not to stare. Working on a golf swing is serious business. Plus I think I was a little starstruck.

So, yes, I’ll miss Possum Trot if it closes, but I’ll always have Willie Nelson. On CD.

Contact Bob Bestler at bestler6@tds.net.

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