Local’s Corner: River Hills Golf Club Delivers Big Experience

Myrtle Beach is home to 90 golf courses, all attracting varying degrees of attention from a media (both social and traditional) that likes to focus on the shiny new object, but the strength of the market is rooted in the quality of its “middle class.”

In other words, layouts like River Hills. Tucked away in Little River, the Tom Jackson design is located north of Myrtle Beach. The course doesn’t enjoy a high profile or a prominent location that naturally draws people to the facility.

All River Hills does is provide Myrtle Beach golfers with an outstanding experience complemented by tremendous value. The layout, the conditions, the service – River Hills delivers on all accounts and does so in relative anonymity.

If your next golf vacation includes a round at River Hills, here are five things you will want to know:

— There is a premium placed on driving the ball. The garnet tees (equivalent of white tees) play 6,401 yards, there is water on 13 of 18 holes, and fairways are lined by pine trees. Throw in several doglegs and you must control the ball off the tee. The course isn’t overwhelmingly difficult, but it is challenging and having a good day with the driver is a vital first step.

— The greens at River Hills aren’t small but they are often longer than they are wide. Put another way, missing short tends to be better than missing right or left. Once you arrive on the putting surface, you can expect a smooth roll with moderate undulation. You don’t have to be Ben Crenshaw to putt well at River Hills. Find the line, deliver a confident stroke and good things will happen.River Hills Golf Club

— Water factors into eight of nine holes on the back nine and 14, 17 and 18 (pictured right) are home to dramatic doglegs. Did I mention the final nine play 100 yards longer, making it the tougher of the two sides? You better be playing well heading down the stretch.

River Hills complements a really good golf course with a clubhouse that was completely overhauled in 2019, including a new restaurant and a revamped (and significantly upgraded) menu. Whether you enjoy a cold drink on the patio or watch a game inside while eating the fried green tomatoes and blackened shrimp appetizer, it’s absolutely worth stopping in the River Hills clubhouse after the round.River Hills Golf Club

— Which hole will you be talking about afterwards? The money here is on the par 5 17th (pictured right). The 491-yard dogleg left has water running along the port side before it dissects the fairway and runs along the right side over the final 130 yards. A well-placed 220-yard drive leaves 120 yards to clear the water that interrupts the fairway, but if your ball strays too far right (we won’t talk about going left), a much more daunting second shot awaits. Par here is an outstanding score and the 17th is the type of challenge that can help decide a match.

River Hills doesn’t attract a lot of attention, but that’s not a reflection on the experience.

Local recommendation: Play it without thinking twice.

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$99 early am
$99   am
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$64 late pm
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