Story by Ian Guerin
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | The Intracoastal Waterway running through South Carolina’s Grand Strand got a bit of a dubious distinction during the fall of 2018 when levels rose following the impact of Hurricane Florence. Months after the initial hit, the holes that were designed to display the section known as the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (extending from Virginia to the Florida Keys) are still at full strength and ready to delve into their perplex layouts. Six Grand Strand courses have at least one hole along the body of water. But these five holes are nothing short of brilliant.
BAREFOOT NORMAN COURSE NO. 10
The first of two par 3s that will qualify for this list falls at Barefoot Golf & Resort’s track designed by Greg Norman. His 10th hole here gives players every bit the view of the Intracoastal from the tee box - serving as a grand distraction to everything else this one has to offer. Three bunkers lie to the back left of the green, with another on the front left - all placed seemingly prophetically by the Shark. Most are so worried about the drop off on the right side of the green toward the water that they aim more the other direction. And believe us when we tell you that hitting out of a trap with the water beyond the green then does a number all its own.
GLEN DORNOCH WATERWAY GOLF LINKS NO. 18
The buildup to the finisher at Glen Dornoch is pretty awesome as it is, with an elevated tee box on the par 3 forcing players to carry the marsh to a protected green. Set just behind that is the Waterway prepping for its largest impact here on No. 18. The entirety of the last hole plays parallel to the Intracoastal and as long as 455 yards from the back tees. Most players on this par 4 will have no choice but to lay up off the tee to a split fairway, cross another section of the marsh grasses and then carry back toward the green. The wetlands are no joke - either time.
GRANDE DUNES RESORT CLUB NO. 14
The second applicable par 3 to make the cut here is - much like the Norman option above - a bevy of distractions. The biggest difference at Grande Dunes Resort Club is the dammed mini-pond taking the place of the native grasses used at Barefoot. The elevated tee box down into the green inspires more than its fair share of mishits - both into that pool and well beyond the green. Duffs are so common that the cheat sheet for the hole includes the proper drop zone among its three-sentence description. Those who find the massive bunker on the front right can be initially annoyed, only to find that it a Roger Rulewich Group effort created it to save you from losing a ball into the thick Waterway grasses.
MYRTLEWOOD PALMETTO NO. 18
For good reason, the neighboring developments on the other side of the Waterway from the final hole at Myrtlewood Golf Club’s Palmetto Course have used their sight lines of the course to promote their properties to potential buyers. The slight rise from the water provides a clean touch to the anti-symmetry between houses and golf. What’s more, while the Intracoastal runs north to south here, the tee boxes face north, giving the impression of longer distances and a deeper challenge. Those who take it slow, however, can navigate their way back to the clubhouse nicely, snap a great photo of their group on the green and then snag a post-round beverage or snack with a heck of a backdrop.
TIDEWATER GOLF CLUB NO. 8
The impression that Tidewater’s dueling property lines will leave - between the Intracoastal and the Cherry Grove Inlet - are going to leave you with plenty of memories. But for our money, we’re taking the eighth hole here as the creme de la creme. The tees on this not-so-long par 5 (nicknamed “Harbor Watch”) range from 295 for the women up to 485 from the championships. But even the biggest of hitters have little room to work with courtesy of the marsh off the Intracoastal riding the entire left side of the hole. The potential for a hook from a righty is nothing compared to the bunker configuration circling the hole like a crazed question mark.