The Indian River Golf Club in West Columbia, South Carolina is fashioned after a Scottish Highlands-style course. The golf course was built by golf course architect Lyndell Young and is part of the Indian River community. Indian River opened for play over 26 years ago and is owned by Sunbelt Golf Development.
This 18-hole championship layout offers golfers four sets of tees and can play anywhere from 4,336 to 6,502 yards. With a course rating of 71.9 and a slope of 137 from the back (Gold) tees, Indian River will give most golfers just about all they can handle. At 5,960 yards (69.4/130), the White tees will challenge most men and still let them leave with a little bit of dignity! Seniors will have a great time at 5,464 yards (66.2/109).
Indian River Golf Club is quite unique. As you make your way around the course, you’ll experience over 200 ft. of elevation changes and beautiful views of Lake Frances. Mature oak and pine trees frame the boundaries on a number of holes and deviating the slightest off the fairway can quickly bring them into play. You’ll find a lot of mounding on the fairways and their peripheries as well as around the greens. This can lead to the dreaded uneven lie and also make for some interesting up and downs. Many of the fairway bunkers have large lips which limits how far you can advance the ball, making pars a lot tougher.; even the bunkers around the green will be a challenge. But what sets Indian River Golf Club apart from other golf courses in the area are the greens. Massive Tif-eagle greens with lots of undulations, false fronts and a good deal of speed.
Before your round, get loose and hit a few balls on the full length driving range. Be sure to hit a few putts on the practice green too, you’ll want to have the speed down before heading out there and putting for real!
There are several memorable holes at Indian River Golf Club, starting with Number One. The first hole is a short par 4 and immediately takes driver out of your hand, unless you can carry it over a creek about 225 yards out. Trying and failing can get you off on the wrong foot. Better to play a tee shot of about 200 yards and leave yourself a short iron or wedge approach shot, slightly uphill into a large, well undulated green.
The last three holes on the front side can make or break your round. Number 7 is the course’s #1 handicapped hole and also its most memorable. Play your tee shot out to the left of this 559 yard dogleg right. If you’re a longball hitter, you could conceivably cut the corner of the dogleg an get home in two, but to me, the risk greatly outweighs the reward. Playing your layup shot out to the left around the tree line will set up a downhill approach shot into the green with a beautiful view of Lake Frances in the background. In the event you hit it over the green, there’s a bunker that should stop your ball from going into the lake.
Number 8 is an interesting par 3 that plays 135 yards over water with a deep bunker guarding the right and another guarding the left. There’s also more sand between the water and the green and a lot of mounding around the green. It’s a fun little hole. The par 4, 9th hole plays 364 yards and features the first significant carry over water, although it’s less than 150 yards from the White tees. The fairway bunker on the right can come in to play as can the one on the left and the woods further left if you push it too far. Your approach shot plays uphill to a green that you don’t want to miss left.
The back nine has its share of unforgettable holes as well. Number 12 is a 434 yard par 5 that doglegs right and offers an opportunity to go for the green in two with a good drive down the left side. Even more appealing, the second shot is played downhill to a green protected by a large bunker on the right that sits well below the putting surface. The green slopes significantly from back to front with a top shelf back right. In the event you have a right side pin placement, getting it close in two could be a tough task. With all of the mounding in the fairway, you could be playing from a tricky lie.
The 14th hole is ranked the toughest on the inward nine. At 410 yards from the White tees, it’s a long par 4 that doglegs to the right. You’ll need to play your tee shot down the left side, but anything pushed left of the fairway will most likely find some trees. The large fairway bunker on the right shouldn’t come into play for most golfers, however the trees that border the right side of the fairway have hindered the approach of many golf balls. The green is elevated with no bunkers around it; just a lot of mounding. Par or better here is an accomplishment.
Two of the final three holes are par threes. Number 16 is a good looking 156 yard par 3 that plays downhill to a very large green with water on the right and devilish bunkers on the left and in back. Hitting the green in regulation is the easy part. Putting across the ridge on the left side is when things start to get interesting. At 338 yards, Number 17 is a short par 4 that begins with a totally blind tee shot. If you’re playing the course for the first time, as I was, you may have to guess at whether the hole goes to the left or right. Fortunately, I guessed right – literally!
Your round at Indian River Golf Club ends with another challenging downhill par 3 that plays 159 yards over a creek. It also usually plays into the wind and a lot longer. The long, narrow green ids fronted by a sand bunker right. A fitting end to a fun round of golf!
Inside the clubhouse, you’ll find lots of logoed apparel from top companies as well as a wide assortment of balls and gloves. The Grill is open Wednesday through Sunday and offers up homemade barbeque; some of the best in the area. They also serve a lot of your usual clubhouse grub: burgers, fries, wraps and hot dogs, as well as adult – and kids – beverages.
Indian River currently has over 100 members, a number that has doubled in the past 18 months thanks to the much improved course conditions and congenial staff. Memberships include all monthly dues, range balls and greens fees and are as low as $935/yr. for a single or $1155/yr. for a family. They also offer senior and military discounts.
Last Word: The Indian River Golf Club is a course that will challenge any golfer, regardless of their ability. Course knowledge is everything out here as there are many blind shots. Knowing the greens and where to approach them is vital as well if you want to score well. It’s a course that relies on accuracy and distance control off the tee, accurate approach shots and a good short game. Miss a green and you can easily be chipping over 10 yards straight up a hill. If you don’t hit it hard enough, you may find it back at your feet.
Indian River is not a course that is easy to walk, although I saw several players do just that. One I spoke with had over 13,000 steps in on his Fitbit and was only on the 9th hole.
The Indian River community is growing, which in turn means the golf club will be growing too; 23 new home are being built up near the driving range. Because of some minor conditioning issues, greens fees at Indian River Golf Club are less than $30, regardless of when you play. As management continues to make changes and improvements to the course, these rates are only going to go up, so right now it is a tremendous value. To book your next round or outing at The Indian River Golf Club, give them a call at (803) 955-0080.