I’ve made a lot of visits to Myrtle Beach through the years. In dozens of trips I managed to play most of the top golf courses but it’s easy for a few to elude you when there are about 100 to choose from. One such layout was the Tidewater Golf Club.
I first started hearing about Tidewater soon after it opened in 1990. At that point I co-owned a golf retail store and we had plenty of customers who had included the course on their annual golf trips. They came back with glowing remarks.
Well, it took a quarter century (Sorry, I was busy) but I finally made my way to North Myrtle Beach to see the handiwork of Ken Tomlinson.
He did well.
The greatest asset for Tidewater, as it is for most golf courses, was the land selected for the layout. In this case the parcel was marked by heavy forests pinched between waterways. Those waterways were accessible for the designer, not kept for housing exclusively, and the result are some the best holes on the layout – all bursting with great vistas.
I was fortunate to catch Tidewater in full bloom – the bright sunshine and warm temperatures that accompanied my visit allowed its full beauty to be showcased. Guided by a friendly member, his insight into the nuances of the course gave me an even greater appreciation for it by the time we reached the final green.
Part was through the round I asked him why he chose to play as a member at Tidewater. His simple answer, “It’s just fun.”
I couldn’t argue.
At 7,044 yard from the Black Tees, there is more than enough golf course to test the skills of even top professionals, although most amateurs would be wise to select from the five other options. While there is ample room within the corridors that Tomlinson created for the fairways, approaches can be daunting for those who have to play from a long way out. Several of the surfaces would be in the “severe” category as far as slopes are concerned but they have wisely been placed on holes where, if they choose the correct tee, the golfer will be approaching with a short club.
What stuck with beyond the beauty of several holes was the variety in holes lengths and designs. That allowed me to keep my brain engaged for the entire round as I had to plot my way through each of the 18 tests.
Few would argue that the early holes on each of the nines (3,4, 12, and 13) are the best you will find within the property. Almost every staff member indicated so before I teed off and I found their assertions to be justified.
All four of the holes offer expansive water views and the two par threes among them (3 and 12 which face in opposite directions from nearly common ground) are memorable one shotters where a par or better is sure to be the material for a post-round tale.
Turf conditions were stellar with the greens being a bright spot. Recently converted to MiniVerde Bermuda, the surfaces are blemish free and the ball rolls across them much like a pristine bentgrass surface.
To top all this off the staff were friendly, engaging and proactive – ensuring the needs of every player was taken care of in a timely and efficient fashion.
It may have taken me a long time to get to Tidewater Golf Club but I assure you I’ll be back in a hurry.
#4. At 430 yards this is the #1 handicap hole but its length is muted slightly by a rolling fairway that adds length to your drives. With the waterway to your left you must play a precise short approach to a green steeply sloped from back to front. It’s easy to make a bogey but you’ll be proud to make a par…or better.
/ Scott MacLeod @Flagstick