Leopard's Chase Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.8

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Ocean Isle Beach, NC

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Leopard's Chase Review


Ocean Ridge Plantation is home to The Big Cats – 90 holes of championship golf at Tiger’s Eye, Lion’s Paw, Panthers Run, Leopard’s Chase, and Jaguar's Lair (open in 2010).  From sand traps to dunescapes, from pot bunkers to huge sand waste areas, from wetlands and marshes to water hazards and the gentle waters of the Atlantic, and from open forgiving fairways to tight twisting fairways, Ocean Ridge Plantation offers something for every golfer.  All of the courses were designed by Tim Cate and each have won several awards including: Golf Magazine declaring Leopard's Chase as the #7 "Best New Golf Course in America," Golf Digest including Tiger's Eye in the "Top 10 in North Carolina" and one of "America's 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses," and Golf Digest naming Lion's Paw among "The Best in the Myrtle Beach Area."

During our fantastic golf vacation to Myrtle Beach, we played Leopard’s Chase and loved it – very scenic with varied terrain, two very different nines, fun layout, elevation changes, forced carries, risk reward opportunities, marshes and wetlands, water hazards, and sand and more sand, and lots more sand.  In fact, I wonder if Myrtle Beach’s beaches have any sand left on them.  Make sure you practice hitting out of the bunkers before you head out for your round on Leopard's Chase. 

Leopard’s Chase is a challenging (slope of 140) track that is long (7155 yards) and tight and will test your skills at shot making, but if you pick the right set of tee boxes you'll have an enjoyable round of golf.  There are some very fun, unique, and interesting holes including an island green that is surrounded with a large natural sand waste area.  Leopard's Chase plays through 220 plus acres of natural coastal terrain, including preserved wetlands and a modest touch of native grasses and plantings. 

The front nine is a par 35 with 3 par 3s and only one par 5.  This nine is open, with lots of sand and sand waste areas, water, berms, dog legs, and more.  It’s a fun nine and an opportunity to score well if you can hit it straight and catch the narrow guarded landing zones, and avoid the bunkers and sand on the way to the greens. #3 for example is a very challenging par 5 576 yard dog right with a waste bunker along half of the right side of the fairway, three different water hazards, plus three strategically placed bunkers along the left side.  

The back nine is very different than the front – you’ll encounter a lot of forced carries over wetlands and marshs, tree lined fairways, big bunkers and waste areas, and a few very beautiful homes.  For example, #11 has a forced carry over a marsh to a fairly small landing zone with several bunkers, then another carry over a  marsh to another small fairway where you will need to carry the marsh once again to hit the green – long hitters and risk takers can try to carry the marshes but if you miss then par will be very difficult.   And #14 will test your skills as you need to carry a marsh then hit a narrow ridge fairway as it dog legs left to the green – miss the second or third shot and you’re down near the marsh, in some bunkers, or in the pine needle beds under the trees. This nine has some very unique and challenging holes.  #18 is an awesome hole with water on both sides of the fairways, a long sand bunker, a green next to a small pond that flows over a rock ledge into a lake – a Kodak moment and a hard hole to par.

The greens are bent grass and generally pretty big (30 to 50 yards deep) with slope, tiers, and undulation.  When we played they had just been aerated and were very slow (7 to 8) – normally they run 10 to 11.  They were in very good condition, held well, and were challenging for us to putt thanks to subtle breaks coupled with the slope and undulation.

The fairways were generally pretty tight, gently rolling and contoured, and have a small playable rough that was cut thin.  Six of the fairways have long narrow waste/sand bunkers littered with small trees, bottle brush, and other minor hazards – the good news is that Myrtle Beach golf rules allow you to drive in them and give yourself a small relief like you would in the fairway. 

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,155 74.3 140
Blue 6,165 69.8 130
White 5,458 67.1 117
Gold 6,645 72.1 136
Red 4,872 64.5 110

Course Information

Course Architect:
Tim Cate
Greens Type:
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Beware of water on 17 holes and the 78 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
8.8 out of 10
Fun to Play:
Front Nine Rating:
Back Nine Rating:


Approximate Weekend
$52.00 to $165.00

Service is fantastic - the staff is very friendly and helpful. The clubhouse has the basics - food, gear, and more. The practice facilities are adequate.



Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating

The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this:  links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course.  In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40.  We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking.