My group traveled from Michigan for a week of golf in the Myrtle Beach area. I can say with complete confidence that this was not only the worst golf experience of the trip, but also of my entire life.
First, the staff at the club (and maybe also the owner of the club if the tone is being set from the top) need to take a few business classes and learn how to run a successful golf course. When you are a golf course in a resort-focused area like Myrtle Beach, it's all about building customer loyalty and treating your customers with class and respect. The staff at this club are clueless about this.
Let me take you through our day at the course from the very beginning. My father, two friends, and I all played together on Thursday 7/21. Upon arriving at the course, we were immediately scolded by the cart staff and starter for attempting to share one bag of clubs on one cart. My father and I are both left-handed, and in order to save money on shipping golf clubs on our airline (this can cost $70-$100 total), we decided to pack an extra putter and wedges and share the rest of the clubs. We played at several courses prior to playing Sandpiper, and none of the other courses had an issue with this. This includes top-notch courses like Founders Club, which I would highly recommend. Sandpiper proceeded to charge us $20 for a rental bag that we told them we wouldn't use and didn't need. This was completely ridiculous and unnecessary, as my father and I are both single-digit handicaps who have played in several tournaments. My point is that it was obvious the course wasn't dealing with hacks. All Sandpiper said was that this was their course policy.
Let's move on to the obnoxious group of starters that work at Sandpiper. Our tee time was 9:09 a.m. that morning. At 8:51 a.m., we attempted to go their golf range to warm up for 10 minutes before we proceeded to the first tee. The starter scolded us for attempting to do this, and said that we didn't have enough time to go to the range and needed to go to the first tee 18 minutes ahead of our scheduled tee time. Needless to say, we proceeded to the first tee only to see 2 twosomes and one foursome backed up on the first tee ahead of us.
Thirdly, let's move on to the rangers/marshalls on the course. On the third tee, we asked the starter why the two separate twosomes that were playing ahead of us were not paired together. Again they quoted course policy and said that they would not ask two twosomes play together in order to improve the pace of play, if those twosome requested to not be paired with a different twosome. Maybe they should research USGA rules and note the section that talks about pace of play and adjust their course policy to be consistent with that.
And lastly, let's talk course conditioning. It was simply terrible. The tees, fairways, and rough were all burned to the point where they was brown. The greens were green, but were slow and shaggy. For a course that claims to be a semi-private country club, I would have expected much better conditioning.
In conclusion, I'm really not sure how this course was voted Myrtle Beach Golf Course of the Year in 2010. It's impossible for the course to be objectively named to such a high honor. Trust me - as a person who goes on 2 golf trips a year, DO NOT visit Sandpiper Bay. It was the worst golf experience of my life.