LITTLE RIVER, SC – It’s difficult to imagine a better piece of property for a golf course than the stretch along the Intracoastal Waterway that Glen Dornoch Waterway Golf Links occupies. Clyde Johnston’s design just flows with the natural terrain of the area.
On the final two holes on the front nine and the three finishing holes on the back nine, the beauty of the waterway is right there for the golfers enjoyment. However, with surprising elevation changes, natural marshes and wooded areas and only one well-buffered parallel fairway the course is naturally beautiful hole after hole.
You’ll definitely want your handicap to dictate what tees to play. The Black tees at 6890-yards and a slope/rating of 73.1/145 and the Blue tees at 6446-yards and 71.2/137 are definitely for the low handicap golfer and is a shot making challenge. For the 10-25 Handicap the White tees at 6035-yards and 70.2/127 will not present a distance obstacle. The Gold tees at 5617-yards and 68.5/1116 and the Red tees at 5002-yards and 70.6/122 are quite playable.
The true challenge that Glen Dornoch presents is the need for accuracy and shot making. Like all the Glens courses your starter provides a complimentary yardage book. It’s your caddie in print. It provides valuable carry and distance information for more than half the holes. You’ll need the guidance. Like all traditional courses the only yardage markers you’ll find are on a few sprinkler heads and fairway lining blue, white and red stakes.
The Front Nine at Glen Dornoch is quite playable and provides numerous opportunities to score well. Get off to a good start with great chances on the first four holes to make a statement. No. 5 is a great golf hole. Pay close attention to your yardage book. A par 5 is a good score and giving one back with a bogey isn’t all-bad. No. 6 will challenge your vision. Go with the correct yardage allowing for an uphill second shot. On No. 8 green look behind you to see if the Sun Cruz Aquasino offshore gaming ship is in port. On No. 9 don’t let the waterway and Number 1 handicap intimidate you.
As the front nine provides ample scoring opportunities, the back nine presents ample challenges to keep that score in place. The finishing three holes seem to garner the most attention, but each hole is remarkable. In fact I’m a mid-handicap golfer and it may just be my favorite nine holes! I like target and placement golf.
Both Number 10 and 11 require accurate drives and can easily punish an errant tee shot. Nos. 12, 13, 14 & 15 are each unique and require some shot making, but they’re only a warm-up for the finishing three.
No. 16 requires a blind tee shot and a long approach into a green that appears to be a postage stamp with the waterway in the background and marsh in the foreground. No. 17 is at the risk of oversimplification, just a beautiful golf hole. The wetlands and waterway setting are spectacular. To much club here puts you over a green that’s difficult to hold and into the marsh. No. 18 parallels the waterway, requires a drive over wetlands and an approach shot into a well-trapped double green. Did I mention the trees? If you’re playing in a large group, get in the first foursome, relax on the clubhouse porch and enjoy watching your buddies finish.
Play this golf course. It could very well be the highlight of your trip.