Rivers Edge Golf Course Review
A True Memory Maker
By Mike May
When golfers talk about The Grand Strand, they are referencing the many golf courses in greater Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. But, many people may not realize that the Grand Strand actually extends north of the border into the Brunswick Isles area of southeastern North Carolina. This area is affectionately known as The Grand Strand North and this 'neck of the woods' has as many quality golf destinations as you will find south of the North Carolina-South Carolina border. The collection of golf courses in the Brunswick Isles is truly the proverbial 'diamond in the rough.' When you try them, you'll like them.
For golfers searching for the coastal golf experience in the Brunswick Isles, Rivers Edge (PlayRiversEdgeGolf.com) must soar to the top of the must-play list. This par-72 Arnold Palmer design - located at 2000 Arnold Palmer Drive in Shallotte, North Carolina -- actually overlooks the nearby tidal basin (Shallotte River) which impacts play on seven holes, while marshland, ponds, streams, and lakes (one of which is Palmer Lake) influence play on another nine holes. With six different tees (Gold, Black, White, Green, Blue, and Scoring), it won't be difficult finding your comfort zone at Rivers Edge.
"At Rivers Edge, no two holes are the same and the stretch along the (Shallotte) river was done in such a way that to replicate it today would be difficult, if not impossible," notes Jeff Pianelli, head golf professional at Rivers Edge. "And, the sunrise in the morning is one that reminds you of a movie scene."
When playing the seven holes along the Shallotte River, take the time to admire the beauty of what Mother Nature has created. It's all a part of the Rivers Edge experience, which can include local wildlife sightings of osprey, turtles, fox squirrels, and the occasional alligator. Fortunately, Arnold Palmer provided ample room on the seven tidal basin holes for golfers to find the fairways from the tees....and to find the greens from the fairways. If you veer too far off the beaten path, just drop another ball and keep playing. Consider it a lesson learned. After all, it's not the U.S. Open!
At Rivers Edge, the first four holes are inland, but water does come into play on each hole, especially Mr. Happy's Pond, which borders the 2nd green. At the 5th hole, a short par 3, you'll see the Shallotte River for the first time. While the 5th is not long, it does require a 100 percent carry from the teebox. It's a cool tee shot. Make sure that you don't under club at the 5th. After all, it's tough getting up and down for par from the bottom of the marsh. After disappearing into the countryside for the next two holes, you will re-emerge into the tidal basin for the last two holes on the outward half. The 8th is a splendid downhill par three with the tidal basin behind the green. The view from the 8th tee is special - part countryside and part coastal. It's a Kodak, er, selfie moment! The 9th is the only hole at Rivers Edge with a name: Arnie's Revenge. This par 5 features two shots over water with a narrow approach to a peninsula green bordered by the tidal basin on three sides. When it's played into a breeze, it's a son of a gun. If you play the hole conservatively, you can easily get a double bogey. If you play it too aggressively, a 'snowman' or worse is quite possible. One of the goals at the 9th is to successfully navigate your cart to Victory Circle, without losing your ball. Securing a par or better at Arnie's Revenge is a worthy achievement, to say the least.
"With the tidal change throughout a day, it is not odd to see different aspects of river life during your round," adds Pianelli. "What the design may lack in overall yardage, it makes up for in course strategy. Each hole offers a safe route or a risk/reward that can be chosen by the player. If you successfully pull off the game, you are rewarded for your efforts. Rivers Edge is definitely a place that allows multiple play without getting bored."
After playing and enjoying the front nine at Rivers Edge, you'll discover that the back nine is even better. The highlights of the inward half are your approach shot to the par five 11th hole, where Palmer Lake sits greenside; the commute along the 'river's edge' from the 11th green to the 12th tee; and the last four holes which are flanked by Palmer Lake. Arnold Palmer's creativity in designing those four finishing holes leaves you impressed and begging for more. The views across the Shallotte River while playing 15, 16, 17, and 18 are worth of the price admission, as they say. On the 17th, Palmer utilized the breeze, an uphill tee shot, and a crescent-shaped fairway to build a terrific par 5 that actually measures less than 500 yards from the tips.
Rarely will you find a coastal golf course that finishes the front and back nine in such a profound way. If you have an up-and-down day at Rivers Edge, but secure a par at Arnie's Revenge and finish strong on the last four holes, your Rivers Edge experience will be a true memory maker.
Revised: 09/28/2016 - Article Viewed 33,690 Times
- View Course Profile
About: Mike May
Mike May is a Wellington, Florida-based freelance golf and sportswriter, who is also a 25+ year public relations and communications executive in the sporting goods industry. He is also a veteran high school soccer official, an experienced high school basketball coach, an avid athlete, a part-time personal trainer, and a passionate golfer who is forever in pursuit of Old Man Par. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America.
Contact Mike May:
GolfTrips.com - Contributor