River Oaks is Getting Better Every Day

March 4, 2015

River Oaks is an oustanding value trip. River Oaks has always enjoyed a prime location, just minutes from the airport and downtown Myrtle Beach, which made it attractive to golfers. The facility went through a period where it struggled with conditioning, but that slide came to an emphatic end four years ago when new management brought renewed commitment to the course.


The result has been the restoration of River Oaks’ reputation as one of the Myrtle Beach area’s leading value courses. In recent years, two of the three nines – Fox and Otter – have undergone major renovations, led by noted architect Craig Schreiner, who engineered the overhaul of Pine Lakes.


Both nines received new greens, cart paths and bunkering, in addition to an extensive tree removal project that opened up the course and significantly enhanced conditioning. The impact of the project was as immediate as it was obvious, and the increased number of golfers provided validation for the quality of the work.

But River Oaks wasn’t finished. The course went on to add a new practice putting green and build a patio on the back of the clubhouse. The patio has proven very popular as it is the perfect place to enjoy a drink or maybe even listen to live music after a late afternoon round.

You heard me right, River Oaks will occasionally have live music on the patio, which speaks to the golfer-friendly vibe they are successfully creating.

“We're about a fun, relaxed atmosphere,” general manager Scott Taylor said. “We don’t want to be uptight. We want folks to feel comfortable and we do our best to achieve that.”

With the success enjoyed by the renovation of the Fox and Otter nines, River Oaks has started the process of overhauling the Bear nine. Nearly all of the bunkers on the Bear course have been renovated and new cart paths are next on the agenda. New greens are on the horizon as well.  

Speaking of changes, River Oaks has numbered its holes 1 through 27.

The Fox (holes 1-9 on your scorecard) is the easiest of the three nines. The most enjoyable hole is the 340-yard fifth, a straightaway challenge. The short par 4 forces you to layup off the tee and the approach requires a carry over water to a green with significant left to right and front to back undulation (towards the water). It’s a short hole that is long on potential trouble on a nine that otherwise offers many chances to score.

The Otter features the most challenging of River Oaks’ green complexes. The putting surfaces are smallish in size and full of undulation, so your putter needs to be working on holes 10-18. The only dogleg on the nine is the par 5 17th, and it’s a nearly 90-degree right turn with water in elbow. If your ball stays dry, a strong finish should await.

The aptly named Bear nine is listed as holes 19-27 on your scorecard and is the toughest stretch on the course. The fairways, having not yet benefitted from the full tree removal project the other two nines enjoyed, are tighter throughout, highlighted by the 27th hole.

The slight dogleg right has water that comes into play on the last 220 yards of the hole. Players with as much nerve as they have length can go for it in two, but most of us must play three quality shots to reach the green. It’s a great finish.

The Verdict: River Oaks offers a convenient location, an inviting atmosphere, a reinvigorated golf course and great value. That’s a winning combination. Based on the layout and its player-friendly nature, River Oaks is an outstanding choice for a day of arrival or departure round during your Myrtle Beach golf vacation.