Bob Gillespie



Syracuse to Glen Dornoch: Worth a 14-hour drive

Posted 4/4/2011 4:41:00 PM

Pete Lukeas and Joe Hawelka are both car salesmen (Lukeas sells Chevrolets, Fords and Dodges; Hawelka, Cadillacs and Infinitis). Both love golf. And lately, both Syracuse, N.Y., residents have been sick of winter, snow – and no golf.

What started as late-winter whimsy turned into a four-day Myrtle Beach holiday, one requiring 14 hours for each driving leg of the trip. On a bright, cloudless March Sunday at Glen Dornoch Waterway Golf Links, fatigue was beginning to set in – but not a lack of enthusiasm.

“Joe’s stepbrother owns a timeshare at the Sands Ocean Club,” Lukeas said of the clinching argument to come to Little River. “We left on Friday, stopped in Emporia, N.C., to watch the Syracuse (basketball) game and got here early Saturday.”

For their last of three rounds, Lukeas, 60 and “about a 20” handicap, had shot a 103; Hawelka, 40 and a 15-handicap, finished with a 99. On Monday they’d be back on the road for Syracuse – but with stories to tell.

Their golf blitz began Saturday at Arcadian Shores. Sunday morning, they played early at Heather Glen Golf Links before making the one-minute trip across U.S. 17 North to Glen Dornoch. A Glens Golf Group replay deal made their final round a $44 bargain and, both agreed, the highlight of the trip.

“This is the nicest course I’ve ever played, and I’ve played in Orlando and all around Florida,” Hawelka said. “And the hospitality – from bellhops, waitresses, everyone – is unbelievable.”

Designed by Clyde Johnston as a tribute to legendary Scottish architect Donald Ross, Glen Dornoch (rated four-and-a-half stars by Golf Digest) features spectacular terrain, 35-foot elevation changes and wonderful views, notably the par-5 eighth hole with its green set against the Intracoastal Waterway, the par-4 ninth playing entirely along the Waterway on its right, and the exciting three-hole finish.

The par-4 16th plays to a elevated landing area, then down across wetlands to a well-guarded green; the par-3 17th features a tee shot partially obstructed by trees to a narrow green flanked by six bunkers; and the par-4 18th offers alternative tee shots: safely to a right-hand fairway, but requiring a long-iron approach, or 230 yards over wetlands but offering a wedge shot into the green.

Lukeas said he had called ahead to a friend in Little River. “He said, ‘If you play anything, you’ve got to play Glen Dornoch,’” Lukeas said. “And he was right.”

Was it worth 28 hours roundtrip to learn that first-hand? Hawelka grinned. “I already want to come back,” he said.

Glen Dornoch Waterway Golf Links
U.S. 17 North, Little River
(800) 717-8784 or (843) 249-2541