Cry Me a River – Honest Review of River Club, River Hills, River Oaks, and Rivers Edge

The Grand Strand area offers four courses with the ever so creative term “river” in their names. I get it. Golf courses need names that sound prestigious – so golfers want to play there – and descriptive – so golfers know to expect water. But when you have four “river” courses in a confined, vacation area, it’s easy for visitors to get confused on which River course is best. That’s where we come in. We’re not afraid to tell you which courses are best and which ones you should only play as a last resort. So here we go. Will any of Myrtle Beach’s River courses truly make you cry tears of joy or sadness?

Three Tears of Joy

River Club, River Hills and Rivers Edge are winners that will mostly make golfers happy around every bend.

Approaching its 30-year anniversary as one of the favorite courses in the Myrtle Beach area, we can’t find too many flaws with River Club. The course features four sets of tees, but the big hitters might be disappointed to see it only plays 6,677 from the tips. What most will simultaneously appreciate and be frustrated by at the same time is the amount of water on this course. It truly lives up to its name, with all but four holes featuring at least some water. The par-5 18th hole is a true gem with water protecting the entire right side of the hole and the green.

If you enjoy doglegs, River Hills may be one of your favorite courses, because it features a lot of them. True to its name, the course offers changing elevation throughout – a rarity for courses in the typically flat Myrtle Beach area. River Hills winds through mature trees, presenting a beautiful, but at times, difficult layout. The par-5 17th hole is double trouble as it features a double dogleg and two water hazards to carry.

Arnold Palmer carried over his magical touch on the course to course design at Rivers Edge. The course is just across the North Carolina border, a short drive from Myrtle Beach. The natural beauty of this course is breathtaking, as it takes full advantage of the picturesque marshland. Most holes feature hazardous water and bunkers. All holes feature pro-worthy Paspalum greens. The course features five sets of tees to accommodate all levels of play, and it plays 6,909 from the tips. The 9th hole is a spectacular, long par 5. It features a fairway divided into two by the marshland leading to a long, narrow green.

One Tear of Sadness

River Oaks is certainly a playable course. It just doesn’t compare to the other River courses in the area. 27 holes of heavily wooded golf with plenty of water are to be had at River Oaks. It’s a classic course design with nice golf holes. For most places, River Oaks is a perfectly designed golf course for the weekend golfer, but when you’re looking for a truly special golf experience, you’d probably play the other Myrtle Beach Rivers. If you’re spending a week at the Beach, maybe play River Oaks first, as a place to warm up your game to the coastal course style.

In the end, there is a lot more happiness than sadness on the Rivers of Myrtle Beach. Come on down. Just don’t forget your paddles.

(posted 1/27/15)

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