Golf

Waterway Hills Golf Club closing on Wednesday

Waterway Hills Golf Club, a 27-hole facility along the western banks of the Intracoastal Waterway near Restaurant Row in Myrtle Beach, featuring the unique aerial gondola ride to the clubhouse from the parking lot, will close Wednesday.
Waterway Hills Golf Club, a 27-hole facility along the western banks of the Intracoastal Waterway near Restaurant Row in Myrtle Beach, featuring the unique aerial gondola ride to the clubhouse from the parking lot, will close Wednesday. jlee@thesunnews.com

After 40 years, Waterway Hills Golf Club will be shutting its doors at the close of business Wednesday.

Course owner LStar Management said last week that it would be closing the course next Tuesday, but Waterway Hills assistant manager Julie Davis confirmed Tuesday that the course had just one day of play remaining. A reason for the early closing wasn’t disclosed.

Tee times are still available for the final day.

Waterway Hills has set itself apart on the Grand Strand by its aerial gondola ride from the parking lot on U.S. 17 South in the Restaurant Row area of Myrtle Beach to the clubhouse across the Intracoastal Waterway.

The 27-hole course opened in 1975 as Skyway Golf Club and its name was changed to Waterway Hills in 1984.

Its design is credited to Robert Trent Jones, whose only other Strand layout is the iconic Dunes Golf and Beach Club.

Waterway Hills opened in an era when area businessmen and families were rushing to open new layouts in a burgeoning golf market. It was one of 16 course openings from 1972-75.

Waterway Hills will be the fourth area course to close in the past two years – the third 18-hole course – joining the 2014 closures of Cypress Bay Golf Club, Heron Point Golf Club and the nine-hole Carolinas Golf & Country Club.

Though the golf business has been challenging, there wasn’t a course closure on the Strand between 2008-13. There were approximately 20 course closures from 2005-07, as homebuilders bought up large swaths of land prior to the housing market crash to drop the number of courses along the coast from Georgetown to Southport, N.C., to about 100.

LStar purchased the 181-acre Waterway Hills in March from a conglomerate of investors that included members of several area families, including the JW Holliday family.

LStar also owns the bordering Grande Dunes development and has discussed expanding it onto the Waterway Hills property with North Myrtle Beach city officials, though company leaders have recently said no redevelopment is imminent.

Strand Golf Management, which has been operating the course since April, has helped many of Waterway Hills’ workers find other jobs in the industry. Its employees include Guy Davis, who has spent 33 years at the course as superintendent and tram mechanic.

Longtime area golf professional Frank Coughlin is the course’s general manager and will remain general manager at Arcadian Shores Golf Club, the other course operated in the market by Strand Golf Management.

Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284 or on Twitter @alanblondin, or read his blog Green Reading at myrtlebeachonline.com

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