Leopard’s Chase was the latest big cat to be released at the impressive 72-hole Ocean Ridge Plantation residential development when it opened for play in 2007. Lion’s Paw, a Willard Byrd design, was first to appear here in 1991, followed four years later by the Tim Cate-designed Panther’s Run.
The same architect – a former associate of Byrd – completed the Tiger’s Eye course at the start of the new millennium, before returning shortly after to set out Leopard’s Chase, the longest and toughest of the facility’s four 18-hole layouts. A fifth course, Jaguar’s Lair, is currently under development and scheduled to open in the near future.
Highlight features on Leopard’s Chase include the peninsula green on the 190-yard 4th and the large fairway bunker that threatens on the 425-yard 5th. On the back nine, the fairway flirts with a couple of wetland areas on the par five 11th and waterfalls frame the home green on the par four 18th.
Leopard Chase is in NC, but is considered to be part of the Myrtle Beach golf strip. While Myrtle Beach as a whole has embraced quantity over quality, Leopard’s Chase is on the higher end of the quality curve. There are water elements on just about every hole and to score you absolutely positively need to be getting off the tee.
The first hole is a welcoming hole unless you hook it into the water hazard left, as I did. Short slight dogleg left with water down the left side from about 200 yards in and fairway bunkers right. Consider laying up. The 2nd hole is a short Florida par three. Water carry and sand greenside left. The first par five is a big bender right. The tee shot is over a small water hazard that should not come into play. However, just over the bunker a long serpentine bunker traverses the right side for about 300 yards with a water hazard right of that. Thus, favor the left, but be cognizant of the fairway bunker on the outside elbow, the landing area and left of the green. Good hole. The 4th is a island green par 3. Bunker right, don’t be a hero, play for the middle. The straightaway par four 5th looks more intimidating than it is. Fairway bunkers right, favor the left off the tee. This is also an island green but this time the green is surrounded by sand. The 6th is a longer par 4, water carry with large fairway bunker left. Right is safer off the tee, but this will force your approach over bunkers. The 7th is a long par four and the number one handicap hole. Another water carry with fairway bunker right. This time left is safer off the tee, but you will need to carry the bunkers on the left side on your approach. The 8th is a mid-length Florida par three. The front ends with long par 5. Water on the left and fairway bunkers right. As you get closer to the green the fairway narrows and the green rests right behind a water hazard.
The back starts with a dogleg right. Water right and a long waste bunker all the way down the right side. Choose carefully how much you want to cut off. There are fairway bunkers thru the fairway and I did not choose wisely. The 11th is a strange par 5. If you hit a decent tee shot, definitely reachable, there are fairway bunkers right and left. This hole is split into three sections by two ravines. If you cannot go for it you will be forced to layup to the effective island fairway. Additionally. The green is elevated and protected by two bunkers front left. I consider it a target par 5. Not my favorite. The 12th seems boring after 11. Straightaway par four with a long fairway bunker down the right side and fairway bunker left. A guitar pick green with a narrow front. The par three 13th is rated the easiest on the course. The 14th is a par five dogleg left. The bend is left so hit your tee shot as far and as straight as possible. There is a gaggle of bunkers left and one right on your second shot. The 15th is a demanding par four. The drive is over water with fairway bunkers on both sides. The further left you are off the tee the more you will need to contend with the water hazard. This redan green has bunkers in front and back. The last par three is the longest with a front right bunker that is not user friendly. The 17th is the longest par 5 with left and right fairway bunkers. Water hazard right and additional bunkers left and right. The 18th is an awesome finishing hole. Dogleg left with water right and left along with a long waste bunker on the right and fairway bunker left. The approach is just about all carry.
One of the better courses in the area.