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Do YOU have enough balls to take on The Gambler at King’s North in Myrtle Beach?

The Author: NMBG Staff
Published: March 9th, 2012
Last Updated: October 5th, 2022
Gambler Hole, Kings North Myrtle Beach

You’ve got two options for the Gambler at King’s North, an easy 4 strokes or a tricky 3. It’s your call.

One of the most requested golf courses in Myrtle Beach will be getting a make over this Summer 2012. This Arnold Palmer and Francis Duane design is one of three courses at Myrtle Beach National. The Myrtle Beach National Kings North opened in 1973,  with Palmer himself being apart of the initial design, the course went under a complete refurbish in 1996. “The King” himself handled the majority of the changes. At that time, the course received new Crenshaw Bent Grass greens. The Green areas also where increased in size and undulations where added for difficulty.

Bunkers were also added.

For example, the 18th hole is called “the Bullseye” and has over 40 bunkers on the finishing hole.  Mounds were added to contour fairways and bulk heads were added to holes like the par-3 4th hole called “The Island Green”. As you may suspect, this green is now completely surrounded with water. These changes made by Arnold Palmer led Myrtle Beach National – Kings North to receive the 1996 Myrtle Beach Golf Course of the Year award and also the South Carolina Golf Course of the Year.

With the South Carolina climate and newer grass technology the National Golf Management team has decided to install new Champion Bermuda Greens. This grass is some of the best you can get for the Grand Strand area do to its drought tolerance and ability to grow on different mixtures of soil types.  Champion Bermuda grass is also and the most important provides great putting surface and is less expensive to maintain than bent grass greens. The course will close on June 25, 2012 and reopen August 31st, 2012.

Let’s not stop there. There was another significant change to this Par 72 layout in 1996….

It’s the Gambler

Kenny Rogers Song Lyrics Gambler Golf Course

This sign resides by the Par-5 Gambler golf hole at King’s North in Myrtle Beach.

Legendary Country Music Singer Kenny Rogers, came to Myrtle Beach to help open the Arnold Palmer redesign and  turned the par-5 6th hole into one of the most famous hole in Myrtle Beach Golf History. Rogers named the hole “The Gambler” after his hit song, which one won him a 1978 Grammy Award for “Best Male Country Vocal Performance”.

This par-5 hole is called “The Gambler” because it gives golfers two options to play the hole.

If you go with the first choice, you hit it over the water on the drive to a landing area with three fairway bunkers. This is the safe shot.  Your second shot will be a layup down the fairway. Third shot is to the green.

Now, get ready for option #2. You tee off and strike the ball over the water, but now you are aiming for a island fairway that is about 100 yards long and 50-yards wide.  So you better make sure you are a good shot, or you’re going to be going through balls like nobody’s business. You have to then hit over the water again on your second shot to get to the green.  So you’re on the green in two shots putting for Eagle. This second option gives golfers their “Gamblers” chance in the game of golf.

This hole sets the golfer up for a chance to ask himself one question.  Before your opponent “hands you a bottle, and you drink down your last swallow” you will need to decide to go for it in two or bail out and still try to make birdie or par with 3 shots.

SO, the question is, “Do you know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, or know when to run?”

No other hole in the Myrtle Beach area has as much meaning as this hole.  Maybe I can clarify what Rogers means by this famous saying. There is a sign at the tee box with these exact song lyrics, PLUS, his spike marks are also on display in concrete.

The Explanation with Match Play

“Know when to hold them” – One of the best strategies is to play your game until your opponent makes a mistake.

“Know when to fold them” – It does not matter how many strokes on each hole you lose by, you are only down one if you lose the hole. Of course you do not want to lose any hole as the gives your opponent momentum, however you live to fight another hole.

“Know when to walk away” – If your opponent gives you a two-footer and says “thats good”, it’s a great time to pick your ball up and walk away, even with a push!

“Know when to run” – There is always a time when its time to step on the gas, no matter if you’re winning or losing! On the home stretch on the front 9, The Gambler is the perfect “turning point hole” for the match.  This is the time where you need to run with your match, building a lead for the back nine (to make your opponent ‘dormie’),  or get back in the Match for a chance to win!


So in closing, I also want to mention King’s North is now #7 on our Top 10 Golf Course’s in Myrtle Beach  and is also the PRIDE of National Golf Management, and there is no doubt in my mind it will be voted #1 after the re-open.

As always, fairways and greens,


P.S. Hope you enjoy the video below.


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