Myrtle Beach is golf heaven. It’s also beach heaven. The two don’t have to mingle, although lord knows they do. The brahs who decide to take a break from the sun, sand and oil, to chop a ball around a golf course, knowing full well they stink at golf and don’t belong. The golfers who’ve lost the ability to talk to babes, while gaining the ability to hang a gut over their waistline. It’s a mess and folks should just stick with what they know.
I still chuckle when I think back to our first trip to MB as an extended family. Initial plans called for a trip to Outer Banks, but we couldn’t get the points to work out. My poor mother-in-law, thinking I’d be stumped for things to do, said “We’re going to Myrtle Beach. Too bad there’s no golf down there.” I could hardly contain myself as I explained that there were 90+ courses in the vicinity and that I’d be just fine between the hours of 6 and 12 each day.
In 2013, a smaller brigade headed back to the strand for a week of vaycay. The weather started off pleasantly, then gradually got worse until we felt that we had teleported back to Buffalo. For me, however, the heavy stuff stayed away long enough, although a different element was able to frustrate me: the double tee. Nothing like cruising through nine holes then hitting the back-up of slow-birds who teed off first on the back nine. Twice I was able to play the front in under two hours while taking copious photos, only to slam into an impenetrable forest of duffers. On both occasions, I abandoned play and elected to finish shooting the photos in lieu of golfing my ball.
Golfers come in many shapes and sizes, but what distinguishes them is their notion of what a golf course is or should be, and what makes it. Elitist golfers despise carries over water hazards, even though they can fly the ponds with no problem. Golf should be played along the ground, they say. Populist golfers love sand, the wet stuff, marshes and local wildlife, since golf should be as challenging as possible, even if it costs them two dozen balls and seven hours of their day. These populists struggle to break 120 on a school playground, yet continue to seek out the back tees on the area’s most challenging layouts.
I’ve written before that the best thing about Myrtle Beach is Interstate 31, also known as (but called by no one) the Carolina Bays Parkway. It runs from route 9 in the north, in Cherry Grove, to route 544 in the south, just below Myrtle Beach proper. It allows you to get where you want to go, faster than you thought you could (but be safe.) The second-best thing about Myrtle is the variety. A few years back, I played five courses. In 2013, I played five more. The next time I go, I plan to play Caledonia, one or two of the Barefoot courses, World Tour and one or two more.
At one time there were over 100 golf courses up and down the strand. That number is much smaller today, but the incredible variety continues. The deals continue. Just stay away from the beach. Here’s a link back to the index of Unrepeatable-Year monthly posts.