The two most photographed holes are a pair of devilish par 3s – the third and 12th – that play along Cherry Grove Inlet. Both are beautiful but challenge in different ways.
Water lurks on the third hole but the primary obstacle is a three-tiered green with nearly three feet of elevation change. Hit the right spot or a three-putt likely awaits.
The 12th hole presents a much more daunting tee shot. Just 145 yards from the white tees, No. 12 plays over water to a peninsula-like green. It’s a great hole with, arguably, the day’s most knee-knocking shot.
But it says here the course’s best hole is the par 4 fourth hole, a sweeping dogleg left that plays along the inlet. The downhill approach shot to a well-bunkered green is both visually stunning and intimidating. A better par 4 is hard to find.
While beauty is abundant, golfers can’t get caught admiring the course and lose sight of the task at hand, because Tidewater offers a significant challenge every step of the way.
A great combination of holes, Tidewater demands that players hit a variety of shots. From the white tees (6,323 yards) there are five par 4s that measure more than 400 yards, including the monster 433-yard fifth hole.
Conversely, there are four par 4s that play 350 yards or less, giving players a chance to score. But don’t take the short par 4s for granted. The 300-yard seventh hole is fraught with peril as a smallish green is fronted by wetlands and protected by bunkers that eat dreams of par. It’s a great test.
The nine inland holes at Tidewater are much more than filler between stunning views. They were thoughtfully crafted and every bit as enjoyable as their more scenic brethren, but, ultimately, the Tidewater experience comes back to the holes that play along the water.
The course, appropriately, finishes along the marshy waters of the Intracoastal with the formidable 410-yard, 18th hole, the hardest on the course from one man’s perspective. It’s an ideal conclusion at a course that comfortably takes its place alongside the nation’s best layouts.
“Our goal is to have people, when they leave here, go, ‘Wow, what a great day; what a great golf course,” said Archie Lemon, Tidewater’s general manager.
The Verdict: Tidewater fulfills Lemon’s goal. If it isn’t Myrtle Beach’s most scenic course, it’s certainly on the (very,very) short list. Beauty, great design and challenge are topped off by an unwavering commitment to customer service. A golf trip that includes Tidewater will be a good one.
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