Story By Ian Guerin
It doesn’t take the Extreme 19th atop South Africa’s Hanglip Mountain for players to experience the highs and lows of golf.
Right here on South Carolina’s Grand Strand, several courses have made their mark with elevation changes of a variety of breeds. There are those who hugged fairways with oversized bunkers while some stripped them from side to side with extensive mounding. Still others built up around their proximity to sea level.
These are five of our favorites where paying a little extra attention to those changes - with your shots and driving the cart - will go a long way.
Arrowhead Country Club (pictured, right), Myrtle Beach
One of the few local tracks with holes along the Intracoastal Waterway made sure to involve some cliff-like scenarios most courses would love to have at their disposal. And while only two holes - the Waterway nine’s No. 5 and Cypress’ No. 4 - are parallel or adjacent to that water, the build up from the edge leaves plenty of other holes with an up and down feel.
That is present most on Raymond Floyd’s layout on the Waterway nine. It is there that elevated tee boxes end each hole, eight of which include significant mounding in the fairways.
River Hills Golf & Country Club, North Myrtle Beach
Maybe no course in the Myrtle Beach area includes this type of combination of water and elevation changes. Those two facets of the round present depth issues unlike any other, but River Hills also openly advertises that its 18-hole Tom Jackson design is significantly easier than it appears.
The environmental namesakes, to a degree, are also your safe zones. The mounding in the fairways steers you away from the water on half of the holes, and they frequently serve as the target areas off the tees. So stay close to the crests, and the scorecard may end up better than you’d expect.
Tidewater Golf Club, North Myrtle Beach
Right off the bat, players here are greeted by an opening hole in which an absolutely hammered drive off the tee box that sails straight as an arrow is temporarily lost. Two reachable mounds cut across the entirety of the fairway (with another two after that Dustin Johnson may toy with).
You may just want to go ahead and get used to that type of thing. Tidewater, one of the most decorated courses on the Grand Strand, is usually defined by its sandwiched location between the Cherry Grove Inlet and the Intracoastal Waterway. The elevation differences on most of its holes are realistically more to the point.
Tiger’s Eye Golf Links, Ocean Isle Beach
The oldest of the Big Cats’ conglomerate, Tiger’s Eye, served as a blue print of sorts of the group’s four tracks. Tiger’s Eye is an 18-hole cluster of dips, dives and chutes (sorry, no ladders). There is heavy fairway mounding on the par 4s and 5s, valleyed waste bunkers on 13 holes and undulated greens that ensure even the steadiest of putters is tested early and often. It all adds to a layout that somehow ends up feeling longer than its 7,000 yards from the back tees.
The Wizard Golf Club, Myrtle Beach
Standing on the far east side of the property, there are actually spots where - at least for those with tremendous eyesight - the west end of The Wizard Golf Club is able to be seen. Of course, some of that has to do with an open layout unobstructed by an overzealous addition of trees.
What fits The Wizard into this grouping, however, is that extensive mounding borders several of the holes, most notably along a stretch on the back nine. Fly your ball atop one of those, and take a few extra moments with your camera to get a panoramic of the majority of the course.