Story and Photos by Ian Guerin
RAVINE’S NO. 6 FULL OF TROUBLE
The amount of land Waterway Hills sits upon wouldn’t exactly be described as expansive.
That meant Jones had to get creative with his design. Players, however, feel that pinch on a difficult sixth hole on the Ravine Course.
On the 338-yarder, you’re asked to hit your tee shot over a small patch of trees and a small stream. Clear that, and a sand trap lies what would be directly ahead. Go to the right, and a thick tree line gobbles up golf balls. Go left, and a handful of trees and a small pond can blow up your score card in a hurry. You also can’t go long, because of a near-90-degree dogleg left.
Don’t be ashamed if you need to take a drop.
Or two. - Ian Guerin
Waterway Hills Golf Club has divided itself from the other 80 or so Grand Strand golf courses in more ways than one.
While it is well-known for being the only golf course in the Myrtle Beach area where a gondola ride is separates the parking lot from the club house, it is also one of seven area courses with holes lining the Intercoastal Waterway. Then, add in the fact that it is one of just two Robert Trent Jones designs in this part of South Carolina.
Still, take all of that out of the equation and there’s still something intrinsically great about this 27-hole course located on the north end of Myrtle Beach. Few have been able to combine the forgiving yet not-so-kind type of golf found here.
From one shot to the next, the biggest test of Waterway Hills is the struggle for consistency. Welcome to a typical Jones layout.
For as wide open as it can appear at times, seemingly harmless trees dot this course and lend themselves to plenty of backward or sideways shots simply to get back into position.
The three golf courses – Ravine, Oaks and Lakes – play as long as 6,488 yards from the championship tees (combining the Lakes and Oaks courses), or at 6,363 from the tips on the Ravine and Lakes. The standard tees measure in at an average of 6,000 yards, by no means a hefty distance compare to most.
Regardless of which nine you’re on, the quality of the turf from start to finish is immaculate. The trouble spots are few and far between.
It allows players to focus on a course that will provide enough difficulty on its own. But make no mistake: there are scoring possibilities, even when playing it safe.
Doing that requires you to get into solid position off the tee, especially on the par 4s. The middle of the fairways can lead to plenty of mid- and low-range irons to the greens. Miss left or right, though, and it’s a different story.