Just 15 minutes north of Myrtle Beach, in a residential area of Little River, lies River Hills Golf Club, one of the area’s most impressive course designs. The course is a creation of well-known area architect, Tom Jackson, who studied golf course design under legends such as Robert Trent Jones and George Cobb, designer of the iconic par 3 course at the Augusta National Golf Club.Jackson described the course as: “Modern in concept, yet traditional in nature. River Hills is a pleasing blend of old and new design ideas unlike any other course on the beach.”
The course has played host to a couple of NGA Tour events over the years, with PGA Tour professionals such as Kevin Kisner, Ted Potter, Kevin Streelman, William McGirt Matt Every, Luke List, Scott Peircy and many more competing. It has also earned the honor of being named a Top 50 golf course in the Southeastern U.S. by Golfweek.
It doesn’t take long after you arrive to realize that you have discovered a real gem of a course. The beautiful rolling fairways outlined by tall pine trees may make you think you’ve suddenly stepped onto a course from the Northeast. Tees and fairways are 419 Bermuda and the greens are Champion Ultradwarf, grasses that fit the climate perfectly.
“The course, itself, was perfect,” said Jay from Albany, New York on Golf Insider. “Couldn’t have asked for it to be in better shape.” That’s just the way that General Manager and Head Pro David Spoone wants it. Passionate about his course and about delivering a great golfing experience, Spoone and his team will warmly greet you and your playing partners. "Fun course where no two holes are alike,” reviewed Jay, from Calabash, N.C. “Great practice area also! Very friendly staff inside and out! Would recommend no problem!”
River Hills features a driving range, practice green, and pitching area and before you tee off, you may want to plan on spending some time in the pitching area as you’ll need to be prepared to hit some fairway bunker shots and pitches to an elevated green. The first hole is a straight away par 4 into a wide landing area, where you will need to dial in your first crisp iron of the day into a narrow green guarded by bunkers on both the right and left side. While playing hole number four, you’ll want to take the time to check out the live oak with a pine tree sticking up from the middle, perfectly framing the crushed limestone waste area down the left side of the fairway. The uniqueness of these two trees together inspired the new course logo.
As you make the turn to the back nine, you’ll experience a great test of ball striking and course management with the par 5 11th hole. Nicknamed by some as the “eye of the needle,” this hole measures 572 yards from the championship tees. As you stand on the tee box and look out to the fairway, the reason for the nickname becomes evident as you try to focus on staying to the right of the creek that winds its way down the left side, all the way up to the green, which requires a precise tee shot. The signature hole at River Hills is the double dogleg left, par 5 17th hole, where you’ll experience two water carries on this beautiful hole. This hole will test all aspects of your game and is a wonderful challenge to all level of players.
“Great course to play,” added Jim from Holden, Mass. There is a wide range of holes. The Par 5 17th is a classic. The staff is very friendly and great to work with. One of the best deals in the Myrtle Beach area.”
A unique aspect you’ll find at River Hills is the change in elevations. The gently rolling hills and elevated greens throughout the course culminate on number 18, a great dogleg right par 4 to finish your round. From the time you tee off until putting out the final putt of the round, you will have experienced a change of elevation of 40 feet as you ascend this final hole. Leave it short, and you’ll need a lofted wedge from the grassy bunker area to an elevated green.
Swap stories and tally up your scores at the colonial styled clubhouse, where a full service pub awaits with outdoor seating overlooking the driving range and practice area. One of the best aspects of River Hills design is that you can create your desired playing experience. For single digit handicappers, the course will test your shot making abilities and require you to be accurate with your driver off the tee so you can take advantage of having a short iron in to the narrow greens. For recreational golfers, the course offers many tee sets to choose from, including a new set of forward tees, so no matter your handicap or skill level, River Hills is a must play on your next Myrtle Beach golf trip.