From New York to Washington State (not to mention across all of Canada), phone lines are buzzing and keyboards burning as snow-challenged golfers research, plan and orchestrate getaways to sunny destinations.
The veritable “Golf Capital of the World” – Myrtle Beach, S.C. – should be on the short list of every have-clubs-will-travel type this season. The golf is affordable, the hospitality unrivaled, and the seafood so fresh you can hear the Atlantic Ocean if you put your ear to it.
Many readers may think “been there, done that” but with120 golf courses and 60-plus miles of beaches, dining and entertainment on the celebrated Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach is sure to produce a memorable golf trip without breaking the bank.
No other locale in the golfing world showcases the handiwork of such a wide array of acclaimed course designers. Myrtle Beach boasts a virtual “all-star architect team” – Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Pete Dye, Tom Doak, Robert Trent Jones, Rees Jones, Greg Norman, Davis Love III, Mike Strantz, Dan Maples – the list goes on and on.
For those seeking to add a notch to their “Top 100” resumes, some of the best public access courses in the United States can be checked off: Caledonia Golf and Fish Club, Tidewater Golf Club, Dunes Golf Club and Grande Dunes.
Additionally, Barefoot Resort in North Myrtle Beach may be the only property in the world that has both a Pete Dye and Tom Fazio-designed courses on site. Add in layouts from Love and Norman and one would be hard-pressed to find four 18s of this caliber in one spot.
Born into a family with roots in golf course construction dating back to the 19th century, Dan Maples is another architect whose name carries great weight in the Carolinas. A trio of his “can't-miss” courses is located on Myrtle Beach: Mystical Golf's The Witch, Man-O-War and The Wizard.
The area presents literally dozens of mid-level daily-fee and value-oriented tracks that are perfect destinations for a long weekend with the guys or quality time with a significant other.
The Eats, Beaches and Beers
Myrtle Beach is second-to-none when it comes to post-round fun and there are plenty of off-the-beaten-path suggestions for those who want an authentic Carolinian experience.
For breakfast by the beach, head to Sea Captain's House Restaurant for their renowned crab cakes benedict or traditional Southern fare like country ham and pecan waffles. Searching for the best beachfront burger joint? Look no further than River City Café for a fun, rustic atmosphere and one-of-a-kind, run-down-your-chin, made-to-order patty.
To experience the slow-paced South Carolina life, the Greater Grand Strand is home to one of the oldest and most unique towns in the state, Little River. Known for its fresh seafood, fishing charters and annual blue crab festival, it is also home to two Las-Vegas-style casino gambling boats and Jet Ski rentals.
Head a little further south to the quaint fishing village of Murrells Inlet to experience Myrtle Beach like a local. It used to serve as a gateway to some of the area's major rice and indigo plantations, and no area of the Grand Strand has managed to retain the majority of its original character like the Inlet.
The Hot Fish Club has it all and remains a favorite gathering place for discriminating locals. Open Wednesday-Sunday, stop in for happy hour at the gazebo bar, crack crabs on the back porch and wind down the evening with nightly performances by the area's best rock and country bands.
Hang Up Your Visor, Kick off Your Spikes
For accommodations, Myrtle Beach Seaside Resorts is the operator of the area's premier vacation rental properties with six oceanfront and ocean-view condo-hotels in North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach. All properties feature breathtaking views of the pristine northern region of the world-famous Grand Strand. Units are spacious one to three bedrooms, and all lodging options provide easy access to golf, dining, shopping, sugar sand beaches and other area attractions. Through its knowledgeable golf desk, Myrtle Beach Seaside Resorts is able to completely turnkey golf vacations for any size group to meet any budget.
Shed those unwanted and unnecessary strokes from your golf game by working on your putting, just steps from your accommodations at Ocean Creek Resort. The on-site putting green is located adjacent to the Greens Villas and is accessible to all guests of Ocean Creek Resort.
So what are you waiting for? Get moving on planning your winter escape to Myrtle Beach before the snow starts to fly – you won't regret it.
Numerous airlines offer direct flights to Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR) from more than 20 cities in the U.S. and Canada. The Grand Strand is within a half day drive of Southeastern population centers like Atlanta, Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, and a day's drive from Washington D.C., Philadelphia and other East Coast and Midwest metro areas.