Story by Ian Guerin
Your driver’s license is from Pennsylvania or West Virginia or Alabama or Nebraska.
But for a few days, you’re lapped in Myrtle Beach golf luxury. What better way to play the part of a local than to act like one. It’s not as difficult as it may sound. Making use of a few tips can be all the difference between a herky-jerky links vacation or one that runs smooth from beginning to end.
Take heed, and then take advantage of the knowledge that residents have been utilizing for years.
The key to locking down the best courses isn’t always about money. Sure, a huge budget can do the trick. Frequently, however, being smart about your personal tee sheets can lead to some unexpected dividends. After planning your rounds in advance sets your foundation, a few phone calls after your arrival can keep you moving in an upward direction. Additionally, more often than not, a pro shop employee at your Monday check-in may be able to give you an opening at a course under his ownership’s umbrella for Tuesday or Wednesday. Last-minute cancelations always need to be filled. When that happens, a replay or discounted rate can be arranged. The worst they can say is “No.” And you’re in the same spot without losing more than a minute or two of your time.
One of the best parts of golf-laden Myrtle Beach is the abundance of equipment, shoe and apparel shops. The big-name national brands are available at the mega stores dotting the landscape and the mini-storefronts nestled amid the outlets (most notably at the Tanger Outlets off U.S. 501 just west of Myrtle Beach and U.S. 17 on the north end of the city). At any of the above, replacing a putter, snagging extra balls or finding some tested clothes will come at a fraction of the price as the not-so-competition-driven shop in your hometown. Let the market here be your friend.
Whether you’re looking for a couple hours watching a show or want something a bit more interactive, the best bet in Myrtle Beach is to use common sense. When it comes to availability, convenience or pricing, chances are luck will accompany an early or mid-week show. Trying to get into the likes of the Alabama Theatre or the Carolina Opry on a Friday or Saturday isn’t always feasible, especially on late notice. Instead, use the weekend to search out options off the beaten path. Festivals are almost always prevalent year-round. And since you’re likely on the course during the day, that big patch of sand next to the Atlantic Ocean tends to be less busy in the late afternoons and early evenings.
With only a few exceptions, the vast majority of establishments that sell alcohol in the state of South Carolina must sell food. Sure, there are places that feel more like bars, and there are others that are more known as restaurants. But what the Grand Strand has done - arguably better than anywhere else in the state - is blend food, drink and entertainment as a whole. A 7 p.m. dinner can move seamlessly into a 9 p.m. band performance featuring any number of the area’s highly talented acts which can then transgress into an 11 p.m. nightcap. The joints along Murrells Inlet’s Marshwalk have turned this into an art, rolling the dinner, drinks, tunes and just about everything in-between all into one.