On this edition of Tee It Up Grand Strand we take a look at how to play the Bear Nine at River Oaks Golf Plantation. River Oaks is a unique 27 hole design that provides the ideal experience for visiting and local golfers alike. Designed by Gene Hamm and Tom Jackson, all three nines were intended to challenge golfers of all skill levels. Each were named for animals found in their natural habitats when the course was developed – Fox, Otter, and Bear. It is time to go across the bridge to the Bear Course!
The first hole on the Bear Course is the 19th hole of the 27 holes at River Oaks. It is a 348 yard par 4 from the white tees. It is a very slight dog leg left with water running down the 2nd half of the hole along the right hand side through the green. A solid tee shot leaves a short to mid iron shot to an open green with just one bunker shot left of the putting surface. A good hole to start with.
The 20th hole is a challenging 484 yard par 5 with water and trees lining both sides of the fairway. Water guards the right hand side of the fairway through the landing area off the tee. The cart path dissects the fairway and narrows it as well. A safe second shot is required to have a chance at birdie. Avoid the water that is now along the left side of the fairway when setting up the approach shot. A short iron or wedge is in order on shot number three. Hit it to the center of the smallish green for the safe play. Par is a good score on this tough hole.Water is the main obstacle on the short par 3 22nd hole. Even though it is only 120 yards long the green is a peninsula surrounded by water. Be sure to select the proper club when teeing off. Just aim for the center of the green and walk away with a par.
The short par 4 25th hole is just 294 yards long but it is not an easy hole to play. The fairway is cut short by water which requires less than driver off the tee. The approach shot requires a confident stroke to carry the water to the putting surface. Par is a very good score here.
A fantastic par 5 is the final hole on the Bear Nine. At 470 yards this severe dogleg right around water is great challenge and great hole. The tee shot needs to favor the left side of the fairway if there is any hope for hitting the second shot into position for a possible run at birdie. The approach shot should be a short iron or wedge which is good because we have to navigate sand traps on each side of the green. A birdie is possible due to the length of the hole but par is a really good score to end the round.