Story by Ian Guerin
The Happy Hour conversation from Columbus or Toronto or Glens Falls or wherever else sounded like a great idea. Later on, you green light a trip to Myrtle Beach, and you and your buddies are going to have an iconic visit to South Carolina that includes daily golf.
But where do you start? How do you make sure the visions in your head come true (the realistic ones, anyway) and earn memories deserved of this type of trip?
We’re here to help. Consider this your how-to guide for planning your Grand Strand golf vacation, a road map of sorts to help you set up and then execute the links pilgrimage you’re looking for.
1. MAKE THE MOST OF THE CALENDAR
Step one of any good vacation is to recognize where you’re heading and getting into that locale’s state of mind. With Myrtle Beach, the transient population and annual visitors may make that a little more difficult to guarantee, but it isn’t impossible. Instead, look for the key trends. If huge crowds and high temperatures aren’t for you, the summer months best be avoided. If you have a fear of motorcycle backfires, May will send you into convulsions. On top of that, certain golf courses shut down for special events or aeration or repairs, but they are all pretty good at posting those well in advance. Do your research, and remember that Google can be your best friend, or ask one of our local Myrtle Beach golf experts – we’re always happy to help.
2. SNAG YOUR CREME DE LA CREME COURSES EARLY
Be it Grande Dunes or Caledonia or King’s North or Dunes Club or Tidewater, tee times at certain places are just harder to get because of popularity. If you have designs of playing any of the courses almost universally considered to be the area’s best, it makes sense to lock those down first. On top of better tee times, it also increases your chances of finding a better deal on them.
3. VARY YOUR COURSE STYLES
As much as you’d like to park yourself at only the area’s premier tracks during your visit, it isn’t a realistic approach for most players, either because of cost or time constraints. So after you book your high-end favorites, sprinkle in any number of the slightly lower-tiered tracks that will keep your momentum going without making you feel like you walked onto some underwhelming nine-hole municipal.
4. UNDERSTAND THE MARKET
One of the biggest talking points from local service industry workers relying on the golf money flooding into the Myrtle Beach area is a tipping, or at times, a lack thereof. The budget for your annual trip to the Grand Strand should include taking care of those doing just that for you. An extra dollar or two adds up in a hurry. While it can be the difference in a profitable day for them, it could mean a stroke-saving piece of advice on the course, a traffic pointer or a local’s perspective on a tourist trap bar for you.
5. SPEND MONEY TO MAKE MONEY
If most of your rounds are on the south end of the Grand Strand, getting a $49-a-night room near the North Carolina border isn’t economical in terms of money or daily travel. If push comes to shove, grab something centrally located, as that’s where most of the post-golf action will be, too. Speaking of, don’t overlook those gimme food savings. The number of restaurants offering a discount to golfers is now in the dozens, if not more. And since you need to eat (doctors continue to recommend it to nearly all their patients) it makes sense that you take advantage of those couple dollars in savings when they are basically being given to you for nothing more than carrying that morning’s scorecard in your back pocket.