PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. | Very few courses have the type of pop with their Par 3s to gain traction on the talking circles.
“We’ve got to play there. The Par 3s are awesome.”
You’ve probably never heard that. Instead, they’re accents to the longer, more memorable holes. At River Club, though, designer Tom Jackson made sure that his did some talking of their own.
With four cracks at it, he carved out four distinct short holes that require four different approaches.
In many ways, the first Par 3 during a round at River Club is much like most of the rest of the round. On No. 2, there is water smack dab next to the tee boxes. However, unless you’re a righty who can hit the ball between your legs (or a duffing lefty), that water isn’t a concern. It’s only there to accent the first part of the 164-yard hole, on with a a pair of greenside bunkers protecting the putting surface.
THREADING THE NEEDLE
Up on the 160-yard No. 8, (pictured right) water isn’t just a casual participant. The lengthy pond on the right traverses the entire hole from tee box to green. But that’s not all, a line of towering pines is also squeezing your visual from the other side. Let that serve as a tunneling effect, focus on the backside of the green and let ‘er rip.
No. 14 (pictured below) is probably going to be the highlight of the Par 3 trek for most players, even if a few of them plunk down. The short 149-yarder asks you to find the right club to fly the pond into an green that is protected by water for all but a few short feet way off the back. However, the target area is huge – big enough for four front bunkers and a mounded area behind the green that serves as a catch-all for those who muscle up too much.
At 158 yards, No. 17 is a little more into most folks’ sweet spots than the short 14th. It’s a big reason why it’s considered one of the easier holes on the entire course. Just the same, don’t get too lax here. Short is trouble. Left is trouble. Right is trouble. Deep? You guessed it: Trouble. Frankly, Jackson was banking on the idea that by this point in the round, you’re warmed up and have a great feel for the clubs.