River Club is surrounded by several of the Myrtle Beach area’s most prominent courses – TPC Myrtle Beach to the north, Caledonia, True Blue and Pawleys Plantation to the south – and as a result, the Tom Jackson design flies under the radar. But smart group leaders have always had River Club near the top of their list. Here are five things you need to know about one of Myrtle Beach’s most underrated layouts
— A quick glance at a course map reveals there is water on 15 of 18 holes at River Club, but don’t be alarmed. Architect Tom Jackson often used water to enhance the layout visually without seriously threatening golfers, unless you hit a ball far enough off line that it deserves be to be lost. The layout is playable, regardless of skill level.
— The fairways are generous, so players feel good swinging the driver and there are enough risk-reward challenges, highlighted by the par 5 18th hole (top photo), to heighten your interest throughout the round. The closing hole, a dogleg left that plays around water, is one of the area’s most memorable. Played traditionally, No. 18 is a 493-yard par 5, but there is a sliver of land that juts out into the water. Hit the approximately 40-yard deep piece of real estate and your approach to the green could be as short as 175 yards, setting up the possibility of an eagle putt. Misfire and a watery grave awaits your ball. The choice is yours.
— If you want to play fast greens, River Club is the place to go. Golfers can expect the greens to be rolling at 10 on stimpmeter and even higher some days. Put another way, you will only have one person to blame for putts that come up short.
— Success at River Club will likely rise and fall with your iron game. The fairways are open, so avoiding the water or sand that often guard greens is the key to posting a score you will want to tell your buddies about.
— The scariest shot of the day is the tee shot on the par 3 14th hole (pictured right), an island green. The hole plays 149 yards from the white tees and there is plenty of room to hit the ball, but there is a mental hurdle to be cleared on any island green (as the diver who retrieves golf balls from the water can attest). Conversely, the par 4 fourth hole, playing just 339 yards, should be a stress free challenge (if such a thing exists on the golf course).
To clear something else up, no, River Club doesn’t play along the nearby Waccamaw River.
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