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Players Club

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SOUTHPORT — Golf is such a mental game. Take water for instance, you can be standing there with just a trickle of wet stuff in front of you, and you're still thinking about not hitting your ball in the drink.

In today's hole 8 of the Dream 18, WRAL's Jeff Gravley went to Brunswick County to see if he can stay away from hidden water.

Three golf courses cover 3,000 acres of St. James Plantation near Wilmington. Jeff decided to drop in on the Players Club, which features water, North Carolina wetlands, and waste bunkers.

You'll see all three natural elements on the par 4, 12th hole, and the trio all can come into play.

"If you want to go with the aggressive mode you can hit a driver here, but the driver is going to open you up for trouble," says course pro Jim McDowell. "The smart play is to hit something 185 to 200 yards, that's going to leave you with roughly 145 to the green."

Jeff played it safe with a 3-wood that trims the top of the cattails off. McDowell pulled out the big dog, "The old philosophy was always tee it high and let it fly," he said.

McDowell nailed his drive almost to the green. Then he showed that he's not all brawn, he has some touch too as he hit a chip right at the hole.

Jeff was able to navigate his final 100 yards to the green, just in the wrong direction, but it was a greenie. Jeff's muscle memory got a little confused when he got on the green, and he pushed right pass the hole.

Just a little more bend in the putt, and McDowell would have been singing with the birds. Actually, they both winded up playing U.S. Open golf -- par, par.

"Four is a good score on this hole. You won't see a lot of 3s, but it is obtainable," McDowell said.

So consider yourself challenged on the 362-yard stretch of golfing real estate. Reporter:Jeff Gravley

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Mark Copeland, Photographer
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