8th Hole - Cheraw State Park, Hole 17
by David "Brick" Hyduke, PGA
I've always thought that for a hole to be considered "great", it has to be challenging, fair, pretty and of consequence. The same would be for a hole that is considered a "Hidden Gem". Our 17th hole certainly fulfills that criteria and then some.
On the scorecard, this par 3 at 160 yards from the back tees, doesn't seem too intimidating. But be aware that any wayward shot is going to cause golfers some issues. If you don't hit it flush, you may end up in the bunker that runs across the front of the green. Missing right means another large bunker. And there are trees that line both the left and right. And of course, let's not forget Lake Juniper, the 360 acre lake that comes up just behind the green - so you don't want to miss long either.
And just hitting the green doesn't mean the challenge is over. The putting surface is large and can play up to a three club difference depending on where the pin is located. And then if you factor in that there is almost always a breeze coming in from the lake, you are going to have some decisions to make when you select a club here.
But those are the risks. The rewards of this hole are even more. Everyone loves a scenic hole and you're just not going to find a prettier par 3 in South Carolina. There are many matches that are decided here and I've seen just about every number you can think of on someone's scorecard as they left this hole.
I like to say hello to as many players as I can that visits us here at Cheraw State Park. I can tell you that almost all of them want to share their experience on the 17th hole as we talk about their round. I know that means it left a good impression, regardless of whether it provided a good score. And I hope it gave them both.
So our hole No. 17 is our Hidden Gem. There are other holes here that may get more attention (our great par 5 closing hole is often cited as one of the state's best) but for those that play here, they know the importance and enjoyment of our 17th. I hope you come visit and get to experience it for yourself.
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