By Ed Travis
When golfers have had enough of finger-numbing temperatures and knee-high snow has lost its charm, the country’s warmer climes beckon, calling you, your clubs and your buddies. And it’s the lure of warmer temperatures, green grass and real golf, not the three-layered, temporary-greens, frozen ground variety that sneak out to play when the temperature at home gets above freezing.
That’s what Myrtle Beach offers in the late winter and early spring – the warmth of the sun on your face and a gentle breeze at your back as you try to reach a par 5 in two.
Myrtle Beach is the “Golf Capital of the World” for good reason, the entire area is a golf Mecca where more than a million players pilgrimage each year. There are many reasons for those pilgrimages. Here are five of the best.
1. Accessibility. So, reason number one to book a spring golf trip to Myrtle Beach is the accessible location and the fine spring weather. Eight airlines fly into Myrtle Beach International Airport, which serves the entire coastal area, or the Grand Strand as it is known, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines with nonstop flights to 30 cities. Driving is a viable option as well since Interstate 95 is less than an hour away.
Spring temperatures are perfect for golf, averaging in the 70s and even for an early tee time only a sweater maybe needed for a few holes.
2. Depth of Options. Golfer’s delight in the wide variety of Myrtle Beach courses with the opportunity to play designs by the game’s best designers – Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Rees Jones, Pete Dye and Arthur Hills. The concentration of 100 courses in the area means there is something for every golfer regardless of playing style or experience.
A fine example may be found at TPC Myrtle Beach, which gives players a taste of what it like to play on a “Tour-caliber” layout. Designed by Tom Fazio and awarded five stars by Golf Digest, the TPC has a challenging layout routed through stands of Carolina pines and oaks with extensive saltwater marshes providing picturesque hazards.
3. Variety. The variety of golf in Myrtle Beach makes it a much more favorable getaway option than, say, the flatness of Florida. On the Grand Strand, holes play near the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, and at places like Pawleys Plantation, are carved into the tidal marshlands. At some courses you play through towering pines and at others through the centuries-old, moss-draped oaks that add both character and challenge. At a place like The Dunes Club (pictured, above) or Pine Lakes you get the character of a classic design, with the latter course having opened in 1927. And at places like Long Bay, Nicklaus gives you a thoroughly modern feel. If the work of Palmer is more to your liking, Myrtle Beach National’s King’s North is among his best work.
4. Accommodating. Myrtle Beach has been doing golf trips for decades, so they’ve got it down. Myrtle Beach Golf at MBN.com offers a stable to top-shelf courses, packaging expertise no matter what your group size, and Southern hospitality par excellence. Tee times in Myrtle Beach may be booked separately or as part of a package. In the spring season there is a range of packages available. Stay-and-play deals offer accommodations at a variety of hotels, resorts or condominiums and greens fees for every taste, timing and budget.
5. Nightlife. Someone once said, “Man cannot live by golf alone.” Accepting that for face value, the sun does eventually go down which provides the ideal opportunity to try one of the fine restaurants specializing in seafood, although there is just about every type of cuisine in Myrtle Beach.
If your stay coincides with Monday After the Masters, the charity pro-am sponsored by rock band Hootie and the Blowfish, this event is a must-see with celebrities paired up over 18 holes with PGA Tour stars. Or there are fishing charters, boats for hire from jet skis to kayaks plus Chicago Cubs farm team baseball, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans who play at TicketReturn.com Field.
All these are great reasons but in the end the absolute best reason to play spring golf in Myrtle Beach are the lasting memories you will take home.