Story by Ian Guerin
For as many courses as the Myrtle Beach area has to offer, there are actually only a select few that can claim direct contact with the Intracoastal Waterway.
Some dip and dive around the jutting marshland connected to it. Others used the elevated land next to the Waterway as the perfect setting for a picturesque hole.
Either way, the following have something special to offer.
Arrowhead Country Club (pictured, right), Myrtle Beach
Although direct contact to actual holes is rather limited, those two holes include some spectacular views.
On the aptly named Waterway nine No. 5, all 407 yards are parallel to the Intracoastal. Cypress’ No. 4, a 355-yard par 4, includes a second shot that must cross a small inlet between the fairway and the green, which lies directly next to the Waterway.
As a bonus, the cart path after the Cypress fourth runs along the Waterway for several hundred yards, giving players another opportunity to enjoy the scenery.
The Norman Course at Barefoot Resort & Golf, North Myrtle Beach
Greg Norman wanted bump-and-run golf to come into play with his design at Barefoot. But most people forget about that real quick.
The course has several holes touching the Intracoastal, maybe none more picturesque than the par-3 No. 10, a 203-yard par 3.
A front left bunker tricks players into being more aggressive toward the green. However, a steep drop off sends plenty of shots into the drink.
Glen Dornoch Waterway Golf Links, Little River
The final two holes of each nine at Glen Dornoch couldn’t include much of a better view of the Intracoastal.
The par 5 No. 8 runs perpendicular to it, with seven deep bunkers protecting the green adding to the mix. The Waterway then runs up the entire right side of No. 9, which shares a green with 18.
On No. 17, Intracoastal marsh grasses dissect the hole when water levels aren’t high enough to do so. The dual fairway on 18 has more of the same in play, as it dares long hitters into going for the primary fairway. For the not-so-brave, a secondary one is available to the right as you wrap up close to the clubhouse - and a few feet from the edge of the Waterway.
Grande Dunes Resort Club, Myrtle Beach
One of the big reasons Grande Dunes Resort Club was able to attract the PGA Professional National Championship in 2014 was the Waterway and the Roger Rulewich Group’s design incorporating it. The 469-yard Par 4 at No. 9 includes some of the best views around; from the tee box, the bridge connecting the split property and the oversized marina (featuring the nicest boats to touch the Myrtle Beach area) are a quick turn of the ahead away.
The Waterway also comes into play on the back nine at the par-4 No. 10; No. 14, an inlet-guarded par 3 that slopes back toward the Intracoastal; and the par-4 No. 15.
Myrtlewood Golf Club – Palmetto Course, Myrtle Beach
Palmetto technically only has one and a half holes directly touching the Waterway. But between an inlet that creates a peninsula green on the par-3 No. 17 and the entire left side of the finale lining the Intracoastal, Palmetto visitors are left with the impression of so much more.
The 18th here is tricky for multiple reasons.
For starters, the water is running North to South - the opposite direction of how the hole plays. Combine that with left-side sand traps within reach with the driver and some undulation in the final yards of hole, and it is wise to play it safe here.
Tidewater Golf Club, North Myrtle Beach
It would be difficult for any course to boast the property borders present at Tidewater.
While 3, 4, 12 and 13 are lining the Cherry Grove inlet marshlands closer to the Atlantic Ocean, the final two holes of the front nine and the final three of the back nine utilize the Intracoastal as a backdrop. The par-5 eighth is parallel to the Waterway, and the 182-yard ninth leads you away from it.
After making the turn and getting through most of the back nine, your day wraps up at the par-5 No. 16, with its head-on views of the Intracoastal. The entire par-3 No. 17 and the first bit of the 450-yard par-4 finisher give you the lasting memories the Waterway views.
Ian Guerin is a DJ and freelance writer living in Myrtle Beach, S.C. His golf game ebbs and flows like the Atlantic, and he once did the worm after breaking 90 at a top-100 course. You can follow him on Twitter @iguerin.