River Club is a prime example of why Myrtle Beach is golf’s most popular destination. Tucked away in Pawleys Island, the Tom Jackson design doesn’t attract a lot of attention but if it shows up on your itinerary, a quality round awaits.
Here is a scouting report on a four-star layout guaranteed to please.
– There is water on 15 of 18 holes and more than 100 bunkers at River Club. The course must be impossible to play, you say? Think again. Much of the water isn’t immediately in play and with a course rating of 70.2 and slope of 127, this isn’t an inordinately difficult design, but if the water gets in your head, you will be seeing ghosts. Don’t turn into the Sam Darnold of your golf group.
– Spend a little time on the range grooving your mid-irons. River Club plays 6,240 yards from the white tees, so it’s of moderate length. The layout’s biggest challenge are the bunkers that tightly the guard the greens, which are relatively small by modern standards. There is little room to the run the ball up, so you will need to hit the green on the fly.
– Speaking of greens, being below the hole on the approach is of paramount importance. River Club’s putting surfaces aren’t exceedingly difficult but being above the hole is a recipe for a 3-putt.
– The finish to the front nine is the course’s toughest stretch, in part because the threat of water here is real. There is water on both sides of the seventh fairway, No. 8 features a peninsula green, and the ninth is the day’s longest par 4 at 394 yards. Buckle up and do whatever you can to survive this trio of holes.
– Conversely, River Club’s closing holes provide every opportunity to finish with a flourish. The 16th is a short dogleg left that should leave a wedge in hand for the approach, while 17 is a mid-length par 3 with little danger. Then comes the risk-reward par 5 18th, River Club’s signature hole. There is water everywhere up the left side and the adventurous can go for the green in two, but here is a little secret: played as a conventional three-shot hole, No. 18 isn’t a difficult. Take your par, possibly even a birdie, and finish with a smile.
After you play well at River Club, make sure you enjoy the view from the clubhouse restaurant, which is reputed to be the highest point in Pawleys Island and it offers a view of more than half the course.