Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Self entitled – “Where the World Comes to Golf”. Now I get it. Had the pleasure of being treated to this self-inflicted frustrating game a couple weeks back annnnnnd was reminded of how golf should be experienced. Fellow hackers – IF, you have not been to Myrtle Beach for golf, go. IF, you believe the local courses in this mid-atlantic region are acceptable, go to Myrtle Beach. IF, you want to spoil yourself………IF, you want to challenge yourself……..IF, you want to actually play golf, go to Myrtle Beach.
I was down there for a “work seminar” and golf. We arrive at Myrtle Beach airport, it’s 80 degrees and sunny, second week of May. We are in Myrtle Beach airport waiting for luggage and on the carousel comes 16 golf bags. A group of guys from Ireland had just landed and it appeared they were just a little fired up. I’m not so sure if it was to hit the links the following day or to hit the nearest pub prior to check-in. When we were on our descent to the airport, I saw ocean, beach, trees, commercialism and golf courses. When we drove to our accommodations, I saw more golf courses. We checked into our room, I go out on the deck, I look across the Intracoastal Waterway, another golf course. Ya got the picture?
There are around 100 golf courses in the area. Green golf courses. Affordable golf courses. The rates do vary with time of year and prestige of name. For the most part you are in the $40-$60 range and the courses are in mint condition. You are hitting off of carpet and putting on a pool table. It didn’t hurt either, that we got to experience some Chamber of Commerce weather. Acquaintances of mine have been going for years, the annual “guys get-away long weekend” deal. Once again, now I get it.
The “style” part of this adventure was due to a few perks: 1. it wasn’t my ticket. 2. didn’t have to take clubs on trip. 3. played at one of those “prestige name” courses – The Norman Course at Barefoot Resort. Yes, that would be Greg Norman. We were supplied balls and clubs. The rental clubs were better than my clubs here at home. They were not cut to my size, they were not tailored to my swing, the grips were not the specially selected ones it took me 2 hours to pick out. It all didn’t matter – the clubs were better than my “home boy” sticks. Complimentary driving range. Complimentary taxi…….. to the driving range. The driving range balls were better than the “eighteen pack” I get at Dicks.
The course was immaculate. Before I go any further, I did check when I got home, this was a $100+ course. Now in my book, there isn’t a golf course on the face of this earth worth more than $2/hole. And I will stick by that. When it comes down to it, golf is golf. A club, a ball, a fairway, a green, a cup. Next hole, please. The deal in Myrtle Beach is, the $40 courses are $100+ here in Maryland. I have played on courses from$12/round to $200/round – my score does not really change. I am your classic 86 – 96, bogey golfer (I count all strokes and putt out). I play ten times/year if I’m lucky. This course was top notch.
The course was intimidating. You know that feeling when you look down the fairway and you see more sand than fairway. The cool thing about the fairway sand though, was you could drive the cart in it! It was like 1/2″ of powder and the a hard base. Better being in there, than in the rough. The rough was zoysia, it engulfed your ball and if you weren’t aggresive, you left your wrist in the rough with your ball. In the fairway you were golden.
On the greens, it was approach short and roll up. A little hard (pool table), but truer than true, once you got the speed down. Now I know why those boys on the tour look so good on the green. We all had trouble with putting, but man, it felt really good to actually “putt” instead of “club” of “push” the ball. The sand around the greens was sand/powder mix. You actually played a sand shot, not a “rock” shot or use your putter because it was rock hard.
The play was “at our own pace.” Nobody in front of use, nobody pushing us – on a Saturday late morning/early afternoon. Yeah, try that around here. And then of course, there was the beverage/snack/cigar cart gal - Jenny, Jenny, who can I turn to? “867-5309/Jenny” – Tommy Tutone. We did spend money, even when we were full up. Then to top it off, a guy we were playing with, had one of the best rounds of his golfing career.
100 courses – each in competition with the other, great weather, golf the way it is supposed to be played. Head south fellow hackers. Treat yourself – you deserve it.