A New Day Dawns At River Oaks Golf Plantation
A $2 million renovation project has River Oaks Golf Plantation in top form.The birth certificate says River Oaks Golf Plantation is 23 years old. Anyone that has been to the course during the last month will tell you the 27-hole facility is the closest thing Myrtle Beach has to a new golf course.
Located less than 10 minutes from Myrtle Beach International Airport, River Oaks - home of the Fox, Otter and Bear nines – has always enjoyed the benefit of a great location, but under previous management, the Gene Hamm/Tom Jackson design fell into disrepair, struggling with course conditions.
Those issues are a thing of the past.
Architect Craig Schreiner, who spearheaded the renovation of Pine Lakes Country Club, led the effort at River Oaks. He oversaw a project that included the installation of new Champions bermuda greens, new cart paths, new bunkers and drainage, and the removal of more than 2,500 trees.
The greens at River Oaks, which celebrated its grand reopening on October 21, are in superb condition, rolling fast and true. While players spend more time on the greens than any other part of the course, that’s not the only aspect of River Oaks that has enjoyed an upgrade.
For people who aren’t familiar with the layout, the impact of the tree removal won’t be as noticeable, but it’s no less significant. Previously, River Oaks was perceived to be a tight facility that, in many instances, discouraged players from using a driver. That’s no longer the case.
The impact of the tree removal is perhaps most apparent n the first hole of the Fox nine. The 536-yard par 5 used to offer little leeway off the tee, but with the removal of scores of pine trees, mostly along the right side, the hole is open off the tee, allowing players to swing away.
The tree removal had the greatest impact on the Fox, eliminating the shade that made it difficult to grow grass in spots, and giving players more latitude off the tee, particularly on holes 4, 5 and 6, doglegs that were previously claustrophobic.
River Oaks also installed new cart paths and bunkers throughout the Fox and Otter nines. With a planned clubhouse renovation and expansion in the next 18 months, River Oaks management is committed to continued improvement at the facility.
On the course, players at River Oaks enjoy three nine hole layouts that offer different experiences. The Otter is a tournament style course that allows players to bomb away off the tee with no concerns about tricked-up holes or the need to layup.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t decisions to be made. The par 4, seventh hole on the Otter is a dogleg right that has a lake along the right side. Players can be as aggressive as they want off the tee, but the more they challenge the lake, the more difficult the drive becomes.
The Otter’s primary defense is its greens, which have quite a bit of undulation.
The Fox course is an open layout but there is a premium placed on positioning off the tee because of the doglegs.
The Bear course wasn’t renovated, in part because it didn’t need as much attention. Without the tree removal, the Bear has a tighter look, but it’s a straight-forward layout that allows players to hit driver.
“Come out here and give us a chance,” said Scott Taylor, who is overseeing the course for Signature Golf Group. “We’ve priced the golf course accordingly to reintroduce it into the market so people can see what we’ve done. This is a brand new River Oaks.”
The Verdict: Taylor is correct, this is a new River Oaks. The course’s turnaround over the past year couldn’t be more dramatic. From tee to green River Oaks is in outstanding condition, and it offers great value. Give River Oaks a try, it’s a decision you won’t regret.
5 Things You Need To Know About River Oaks Golf Plantation
River Oaks Golf Plantation is plays like a "new" Myrtle Beach golf course.River Oaks golf course has undergone a more dramatic change in the last year than any golf course in Myrtle Beach and possibly the region. Signature Golf Group took the reins of the 27-hole facility and course conditions, value and customer service have become the top priorities.
If you haven’t seen the “new” River Oaks, which had its grand reopening on October 21, here are five things about the facility and the recently completed renovation you need to know.
2. The New Greens Rock!: River Oaks installed new Champions bermuda and the results have been dramatic. The greens are in impeccable condition this fall and are very fast.
3. The Things You Don’t See: Beyond course conditions, the biggest changes at River Oaks involve things you no longer see. Specifically, more than 2,500 trees were removed as part of the project and the benefit has been two-fold. For players, the tree removal has opened the course up. What was once regarded as a narrow track, now allows golfers to hit the driver without fear that every stray shot will be lost in the woods. Secondarily, the room created by the tree removal allows for more sunshine and air to circulate through the property, which helps improve course conditions.
4. A Familiar Face: The architect who spearheaded the work at River Oaks Golf Plantation is a familiar one to Myrtle Beach golfers. Craig Schreiner, who oversaw the redesign project at Pine Lakes, led the work at River Oaks, and he now has two quality Myrtle Beach courses to his credit.
5. What’s Next at River Oaks?: The recently completed renovations at River Oaks won’t be the last. Signature Golf Group plans to expand the clubhouse at River Oaks in the next 18 months. The new clubhouse will feature an expanded grill room and banquet facilities, providing golfers a comfortable post-round option to enjoy a meal or watch a game.
The 3 Best Holes at River Oaks Golf Plantation
River Oaks Golf Plantation is one of many Myrtle Beach golf courses that offer great conditions and value.River Oaks golf course, located in the heart of Myrtle Beach, celebrated its grand re-opening last month and the facility bears little resemblance to the layout golfers played in recent years. The course is much more open, new bunkers have been installed and, in some places, there is additional movement in the fairways.
With the changes in mind, we asked Signature Golf Group’s Scott Taylor, who is overseeing the course, to tell us the best hole on each of River Oaks’ three nines – the Fox, Otter and Bear.
Here are the 27-hole facility’s three best holes, according to Taylor:
Fox Course, No. 3, 189-yard, par 3: One of two spots at River Oaks that overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway, No. 3 at Fox is a scenic par 3 that challenges players to avoid sand (both waste and traditional green-side bunkers) and find the proper side of the green.
“It’s a great little par 3,” Taylor says. “The green has a pretty severe slope from front to back, which makes it fun to play. You have to check where the pin is and play accordingly.”
Given the hole’s proximity to the Intracoastal, it’s also important to keep an eye on the wind.
Otter, No. 4, 521-yard, par 5: Water, sand and an undulating green combine to make No. 4 the Otter’s best hole. Water runs along the right side of a hole that has a little dogleg right.
Long hitters will have the opportunity to go for the green in two, but it’s a risk-reward shot. The water will collect shots that slice, and the green is surrounded by five bunkers. To further complicate matters, the green has a ridge that runs through the middle.
“The green plays a huge role in the outcome of your score because of the slope,” according to Taylor. “Just hitting the green doesn’t guarantee a good score.”
Bear, No. 9, 547-yard, par 5: The longest and arguably most difficult hole at River Oaks, No. 9 on the Bear Course, a dogleg right, has plenty of water. The approach shot is one of River Oaks’ most scenic as players that want to challenge the green in two are required to hit over a large lake into a green that is flanked by bunkers on both sides.
Show this hole the respect it deserves and play it like a three-shot par 5. If you get greedy, this Bear can certainly extract its pound of flesh.
What is your favorite hole at River Oaks Golf Plantation?