When many golfers think of Myrtle Beach, courses on the Atlantic Ocean first spring to mind. But there's another body of water flowing through the Grand Strand, the Intracoastal Waterway, which can hold its own when it comes to world-class golf on the waterfront.
Running from the Carolina state border to the port city of Georgetown, SC, the local leg of the Intracoastal Waterway parallels the coast from Little River to the Lowcountry, merging with the Waccamaw River and other tributaries en route to Winyah Bay. Along this scenic stretch of water, several award-winning golf courses have been built to take advantage of the unique landscape and incredible views.
Golfers can enjoy championship golf while witnessing such spectacular sights as birds of prey diving for dinner, amazing sunset views from the high-above river bluffs, and yachts sailing up and down the Waterway. Imagine if you could trade in your golf cart for a water taxi and take a tour of the top five layouts on Intracoastal Waterway (listed from north to south):
* Glen Dornoch Waterway Golf Links: This Donald Ross and Clyde Johnston collaboration winds along a half-mile stretch of the northernmost point of the Intracoastal Waterway, offering wonderful views of the wetlands and woodlands in the small fishing village of Little River. Glen Dornoch gives golfers a trans-Atlantic taste of Scotland with a links-style layout that spans 6,890 yards from the back tees. Glen Dornoch is known for having some of the toughest finishing holes on the Grand Strand, which makes the visit to the castle-like clubhouse for post-round drinks overlooking the Waterway even more rewarding.
* Barefoot Resort & Golf: Sail a little south to North Myrtle Beach to one of the most impressive golf complexes on the Grand Strand. Barefoot Resort & Golf features four courses designed by some of the best players and architects in the game with layouts that bear their names – Dye, Love, Fazio and Norman. The Dye Course, named for famed golf course designer Pete Dye, features natural white sand along the Carolina Bays and challenging fairways that border the Waterway within in the 7,343-yard layout. The Norman Course, the handiwork of legendary golfer/designer Greg Norman, sees seven holes that sit along the Waterway and plays at approximately 7,000 yards.
* Grande Dunes Resort Club: A spectacular bridge crosses the Intracoastal Waterway to the prestigious Grande Dunes clubhouse and layout, which was named National Golf Course of the Year in 2009 by the NGCOA. This award-winning, links-style layout continues to draw rave reviews from vacation golfers and club members alike. Designed by the Roger Rulewich Group, Grande Dunes features elevated bluffs that overlook the Waterway, which diverts to create some unique water hazards. Covering 7,618 yards of scenic waterfront property, the Grande Dunes offers golfers a unique experience that includes views of boats sailing in and out of the adjacent Grande Dunes Marina and the luxurious clubhouse.
* Myrtlewood Golf Course: Two of the most popular courses on the Grand Strand sit just downstream from Grande Dunes. Featuring 36 holes spanning the Palmetto and PineHills layouts, Myrtlewood provides a fun environment and an affordable experience. While the PineHills Course also cuts through woodlands and wetlands, the Palmetto Course runs along the Intracoastal Waterway and is considered one of the most commonly replayed layouts in Myrtle Beach.
* Arrowhead Country Club: Located on the southern side of the Strand, Arrowhead offers 27 holes of championship golf with spectacular views of the Waterway. This collaboration between Raymond Floyd and Tom Jackson yielded three nine-hole gems – The Cypress, The Lakes and The Waterway. The latter, of course, features the best views of the Intracoastal, but each one presents a unique challenge. If 18 holes aren’t enough and 36 are too many, Arrowhead is a great place to play 27 without duplication.
Be sure to check out these top Intracoastal Waterway courses during your Myrtle Beach golf getaway, or build your customized package to hit them all. The only thing missing is the floating golf cart.