LITTLE RIVER, SC – Frequently, I’ll add a closing remark to a golf course review by encouraging the reader to add the subject course to their list of must plays. In the case of Heather Glen Golf Links I’ll encourage you to begin your list with this golfing masterpiece.

In 1987 Golf Digest awarded Heather Glen their coveted #1 New Public Course. Designed by Willard Byrd and Clyde Johnston the course continues to win accolades and has only gotten better with maturity.

The natural beauty of this course begins with the private drive to the clubhouse. Bordered by ancient oaks draped in Spanish moss and landscaped and maintained regardless of the season, the road leads to the magnificent 19thCentury British styled clubhouse.

The course itself is in a location that has allowed the creation of a magnificent visual work of art. There are no residences intruding and just a few well-buffered parallel fairways. Nothing has gotten in the way of Heather Glen’s natural beauty, the changing elevations, stately pines and hardwoods, streams and natural lochs.

There are three nines at Heather Glen Golf Links and we had the privilege of playing the First Nine and the Third Nine. The Course Rating/Slope on the First Nine are Blue: 72.4/130, White: 70.3/123, Gold: 68.0/118 and Red: 69.3/117. Slope/Rating on the Third Nine are Blue: 72.4/127, White: 70.5/126, Gold: 67.1/115 and Red: 69.3/117. At 6771-yards from the Blues, 6310 from the Whites, 5706 from the Golds and 5053-yards from the Red Tees the course will not punish you with length.

The course is very playable regardless of your skill level. Big hitters have plenty of opportunities to grip and rip. Players relying on shot making and accuracy will also find this one very enjoyable. Off the tee there are few hidden hazards, but those you see do come into play.

The starter provides a complimentary yardage book and the wise player will keep it close. There are a few yardage markers on sprinkler heads and blue, white and red stakes, but in the Scottish tradition the book is your caddie. I enjoy a course that forces the player to think through a round of golf. If your game is visual, exact yardage dominated or a combination of both, you’ll be challenged.

The layout of Heather Glen allows scoring opportunities on select Par 3s, 4s and 5s. Likewise others in each category can present a scoring challenge. Case in point the Par 4 2ndhole on Front Nine is a great risk/reward opportunity. Cut as much of the corner over the loch as you dare and you’ll have a short iron to a receptive green and a great birdie opportunity. The Par 4 7thhole on the Third Nine is deserving of its Number 1 Handicap. A tee shot to a narrow, well protected landing area is a must. Anything else and bogey is a good score. The finishing holes on both nines are really special and a true test of golf.

The course was in great shape. The fairways were a delight and the greens ran true. The course has been perfectly maintained and is ready for play in any season.

Do arrive in plenty of time to utilize the driving range and putting and chipping greens. Allow time after your round to enjoy the clubhouse hospitality and shop for some logo merchandise in their well-merchandised pro shop.

Simply stated, there’s nothing not to like about Heather Glens Golf Links and you will be sure to want to add it to your Myrtle Beach golf package.