Story by Ian Guerin
As much as we’d like to say the golf is the prime attraction to South Carolina’s Grand Strand, we’re not naive enough to think that big body of water to the east plays second fiddle to anything.
But when the temperatures cool and the Atlantic Ocean loses some of its luster to the sane among us, the links start to pick up some of the tourism slack. It just so happens that many of those golfing options have crafted themselves with plenty of water of their own.
Be it locations near the Intracoastal Waterway, area rivers or overflow zones, or simply a creative touch when it came to the architecture, certain tracks can’t help but to be defined by the water-heavy hazards throughout their acreage.
HEATHER GLEN GOLF LINKS
A 27-hole property, Heather Glen doesn’t really ever ease up when it comes to ponds and streams. The first nine has three forced water carries and three more larger bodies up the left side of various holes. The second nine has six more holes where water is significantly in play (as well as another small stream just in front of another tee box early on). The third includes seven such holes, including three where sliver streams force their share of layups despite otherwise wide open fairways.
MAN O’ WAR GOLF CLUB
Dan Maples’ course is buried in the middle of the area known as Carolina Forest, but built around an 80-acre lake, Man O’ War stands out as an oasis of sorts. Water is visible from essentially every hole, and it is part of shot selection on more than two-thirds of the course. Bridged cart and walkways are the name of the movement game, a nice touch considering just how many golf balls players may chew through on a round here.
MYRTLEWOOD GOLF CLUB, PINEHILLS COURSE
The first hole at PineHills is about as dry as it gets, with a slightly doglegged right par 4 giving players an opportunity to stretch out a bit on the opener. Don’t get used to that luxury. Starting with No. 3, thirteen of the remaining holes have water either close to the edges of the fairways or greens (or both). Very few, if any, of those could be considered an afterthought in terms of strategy and shot selection.
The Tom Jackson Signature Course took the offshoots of the nearby Waccamaw River that once boasted the properties’ standing as a former rice plantation and then added several more man-made hazards, leading to the aptly named River Club moniker. Water is visible on 14 of the 18 holes, very much in play on 12 of those, and must be carried - either off the tee or approaching the green - on seven. Essentially, there is little reprieve from it.
TRADITION GOLF CLUB
By the time players get to the 14th and 15th holes here, where water protects the greens, they’ll remember exactly what type of course they were playing on throughout the front nine. Unlike some of the others on this list, in which the final few holes are cut around ponds, the majority of Tradition’s water is located throughout the first half of the course. It is there that seven of the nine holes are set with those hazards dictating your results.