This Robert Trent Jones design has a unique way of getting to the clubhouse. An aerial tramway takes you across the Intracoastal Waterway where you are greeted by someone sitting in a booth to assist in unloading the gondola. Of course the return to your car is also by the same tramway but it just seemed quicker leaving the course.
The promo for this facility talks about “being greeted in the parking lot by a member of the Waterway Hills staff who will assist in getting you and your clubs onto the tramway.” Well, that didn’t happen! We had an early tee time and arrived about an hour prior to give us plenty of time to practice on the range and putting green.
We unloaded our own equipment and carried them to the loading area for the tramway. No one there and a chain still hung across the entrance way. Several employees in their blue shirts from across the waterway saw us standing at the tramway but didn’t even acknowledge our presence. We waited almost twenty five minutes before an employee, Julie, who worked in the snack bar arrived for work.
She said, “Someone will be here to help you in just a minute.” Wrong! Julie climbed into the gondola, grabbed the radio which was sitting on the seat and told the people on the other side to bring her over. We stood waiting while they chatted and kept going about their business.
Finally the clubhouse sent a gentleman over to help us load up the gondola and head to the clubhouse. Remember, this was twenty five minutes after we arrived. This gentleman stated someone didn’t show up for work this morning so they were running late. Not my problem. The employees saw us standing there and Julie could have taken us along when she left.
When we finally arrived in the gondola, we were greeted by two men in blue shirts. Both appeared to hate their jobs, at least for the time being anyway. No smiles, no cordial greeting, just a “go into the clubhouse and sign in.” We felt as if we should have gone to play elsewhere but thought it might take another twenty five minutes to get back across.
Upon entering the clubhouse, another annoyed employee greeted us. Her first statement was, “We don’t have a beverage cart today (Friday at a resort mind you) so get something to drink and eat before you start. Better grab something at the turn as well.” Because this facility has three nine hole tracks and wasn’t sure where we would be starting, I asked her, “Where will we be starting?” Her sweet response, “Ask the guy out there. He’ll tell you where.”
After I explained my reason for asking was due to the fact we didn’t want to get anything until we were ready to tee off. I was wondering if we would be coming back by the clubhouse prior to starting. Another sweet response, “Yeah. Give this ticket to the starter.” I had laid a yardage book on the counter when I first started our friendly conversation (always get a yardage book). Her keen eyes never saw it until I stated I want to buy this. Again, “Okay.”
Notice a trend here? When I asked the starter where we could get the range balls using the token we purchased, he just walked away. When I repeated the question he pointed to a green shack near the range and said, “Just put it in the machine over there. Balls will come out.” Really? They will? Gee, I’ve never seen one of those machines before!
I asked where would we be starting and that was like poking a stick in a lion’s cage. “He’ll tell you over there.” It seems everyone here expects someone else to answer your next question. Finally the time to tee off arrives and we were paired up with a nice father and son. So far, these two gentlemen were the friendliest people this side of the waterway.
A little bit about the course since we did play eighteen holes. We played the Lakes nine and the Ravine nine. Only a couple of small lakes located mainly on the par threes and one big ravine on the other nine, hence the name. Course condition was average at best although the greens were decent. Playing the Ravine nine, there always seemed to be an adjoining hole with people hitting your direction. Not the safest nine I’ve played.
When our round was complete, everyone was now smiling and eager to get us back across the waterway. The staff wanted to help us leave and now someone was quick to take our clubs to the car. This was the friendliest time at Waterway Hills.
After playing in Myrtle Beach for over twenty years and playing most every course at least once, I now realize why I had not played Waterway Hills during all these years. The Golf Gods kept me away because the staff was probably the least friendly of any course in Myrtle Beach. I now can say I played Waterway Hills and rode the tramway across the waterway. I also can say I was happy to get back across the waterway to my car.