Little River, Big golf reputation north of Myrtle Beach with Glen Dornoch, Heather Glen, Tidewater and more
For golfers coming to the Grand Strand who want to spend as little time as possible in the car without being in the epicenter of Myrtle Beach, there are two options I would suggest over the rest: Pawleys Island or Little River.
Little River is about a half hour’s drive north of Myrtle Beach, just past North Myrtle Beach below the North Carolina State line.
Here’s what’s great about Little River: the land rolls a little more than just about everywhere else. There are great natural elevation changes of up to 50 feet, and the Intracoastal Waterway offers some fantastic scenery on courses like Glen Dornoch and Tidewater. Tidewater doesn’t technically have a Little River address, but for all intensive purposes it’s a Little River golf course with marsh and waterway holes and land with a good deal of character just minutes from the rest of the Little River courses.
I also just played Heather Glen last week, and like its sister course Glen Dornoch Waterway Golf Links across the street, is a great blend of scenery, rolling land and shot-making. The greens here are small, placing a premium on your short game.
There is also River Hills. I haven’t played it yet, but Tim McDonald’s review of it is pretty positive and boasts 40 feet of elevation change itself. It’s a Tom Jackson course from 1988 and I like Jackson’s River Club design further south.
I’m a sucker for some good elevation change, But that’s just the Michigan in me I suppose, where every course has at least a handful of elevated tees and greens (although you won’t get the sniff of salt water in your nostrils like at Tidewater).
Little River is also the only real place to gamble in the Grand Strand. There are two river boats that leave daily from the docks in town and feature Vegas-style table games and slots. I haven’t been on it. Actually I don’t even know anyone who has been on it. They don’t have an enormous marketing presence, at least where I am…but gamers can rest assured they don’t need to go to Las Vegas or Biloxi to get their blackjack fix.
No matter where you stay in the Grand Strand, you’re never more than ten minutes away from a great golf course, but I like the collection of Little River especially. You’re also less than a 20 minute drive from multi-course resorts Ocean Ridge Plantation and Barefoot Resort.
Pawleys Island on the other hand, is a good 50 minutes south of Little River and boasts the finest collection of upscale courses in the Grand Strand, many of which border each other. Stay tuned to TravelGolf.com next week for a feature on the lowcountry courses of the Waccamaw Golf Trail down around Pawleys.
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