Story By Ian Guerin
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | Selecting the right Myrtle Beach golf courses to play can be a crap shoot, especially if you don’t know the local market. The existence of 90 or so local courses in a relatively small amount of space can be confusing when it comes to researching them for personal taste, but also which course personalities will fit what you’re looking for. Frankly, we’d be naive to think some of that doesn’t change with age. Younger golfers tend to steer themselves toward one type of course. The same can be said for those who brought the family on vacation, not to mention those with professional responsibilities wrapped around a quick 18. Anomalies happen, so we recognize that this list isn’t for everyone. But we’ve also had enough time in the market to realize when patterns fit.
Bachelor parties and buddy trips taking advantage of the Myrtle Beach scene is a near staple, especially in the fall and spring during the peak golf seasons. And more often than not, those trips are centrally located. Aside from some of the normal off-course options, inside city limits or just across the Intracoastal Waterway is also a great spot to find some fantastic playing options that are adept at catering to larger parties. The Myrtlewood Golf duo (Palmetto and PineHills), World Tour Golf Links and River Oaks Golf Plantation know how to treat large groups using golf as a backdrop right.
BIRDIES FOR THE THIRTIES
Wife, kids, job, mortgage. There’s no harder time in your live to carve five hours out of your day for getting to a course and getting through 18 holes without wondering if the phone is going to ring like the Dickens. Even if you’ve left the best part of your life behind for a few days, that cellular tether is always right there. That means you’re looking for quicker options, and the Grand Strand has plenty. The likes of Burning Ridge Golf Club and Wild Wing Plantation are close to enough the peak traffic areas, as are the Legends trio, while also providing relatively quick rounds more often than not.
There’s a fantastic misnomer about the game that turning 40 means your skills start to dip considerably. Pfft. Maybe for the pros. In truth, the average player who played consistently in his 30s is going to find the next decade of his or her life treat them even better when it comes to golf. People in that age group have abandoned the delusions of grandeur while simultaneously recognizing their strengths. That positions them well to take on some of the tougher courses the area has to offer. Along the Grand Strand, that means setting up tee times at Pawleys Plantation, Prestwick Country Club and TPC of Myrtle Beach.
The mid-life crisis has come and gone. Now, you’re more interested in what makes people tick. If that’s the case and curiosity is pushing you to try new things, the history of Myrtle Beach’s golf scene is right up your alley. The first course - Pine Lakes Country Club - opened in 1927 and served as the birth place of Sports Illustrated. Willbrook Plantation still serves as the final resting place for slaves of yesteryear. And several courses are eternally tied to the likes of Nicklaus, Palmer and Player. The multimillion-dollar industry comes with some perks, both past and present.
They dropped the grandkids off for a few hours, but you’ve handed them back and you’re ready to take advantage of your ultimate leisure time - on the links. Still, maxing out your window - be it early in the day or late in the afternoon - is also a matter of feasibility. Taking on the toughest courses Myrtle Beach has to offer may not be a wise move. Besides, you’re here to enjoy it. Courses like Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, the Grand Dunes Resort Course and Dunes Golf & Beach Club are going to throw every bell and whistle at you without necessarily destroying a score card (if you keep one anyway). Best yet, they don’t skimp when it comes to the look they offer from the senior tees.