Golf's East Coast Mecca Is A Must-See

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

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Myrtle Beach100+ Golf Courses. The common misperception is that all 100+ courses along the Grand Strand are right on top of each other. Not the case. (It’s not named the Grand Strand for nothing.) From the southern chunk of North Carolina to Georgetown County 20 miles south of Myrtle Beach, the Grand Strand (or as numerologists call it, Hwy. 17) stretches over 60 miles with golf courses that range from the sublime high-end daily fees to cheap munis. It seems there’s literally every type (and price range) available for all kinds of budgets and skill levels. Penny-pinchers will gravitate to courses like Azalea Sands and Diamond Back, while those looking to tackle best-conditioned tracks, such as Barefoot Resort and The Dunes, will pay considerably more. One constant remains: to find the best deals, buy a package.

Waccamaw Golf Trail. The 12 courses that make up the Waccamaw Golf Trail wind their way through old rice plantations, massive moss-draped oak trees and the black waters of the Waccamaw River. One of the highlights is the 18th hole at Caledonia, Mike Strantz’s low-country gem. The second shot requires a short mid-iron over some serious agua to a green guarded by numerous sand traps. If that doesn’t put a lump in your throat, the dozen or so onlookers relaxing on the nearby clubhouse porch will. Chances are, they’re wagering whether your ball gets wet, sandy or lands on the green stuff.

World Amateur Golf Championship. In 2006, more than 3,000 participants from every state and 21 countries flocked to Myrtle Beach for the 23rd annual World Amateur Golf Championship, a four-round, good-natured net golf tournament. Competitors play four rounds of golf (on four different golf courses) and gain admission to the PGA Tour Superstore at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach, site of the world’s largest 19th hole. Hey, where else can you mingle with 3,000 other people who love the game as much as you do?

Willbrook PlantationGlory Days Alumni Golf Classic. Can’t get enough of your buddies from college? 2007 marks the inaugural year of this four-man, 54-hole Ryder Cup-esque event, which pits alma maters against each other. More than just a chance to relive your glory days, there are some serious bragging rights to be won, plus you can tailgate, down a couple cold ones and win some cool prizes. May 16-20, 2007.

Golfapalooza/Monday After The Masters. Think Masters and you immediately picture Augusta National, azaleas and Amen Corner, but for a lot of people without passes to that hallowed tournament (and for some who do have passes—John Daly made a cameo last year), there’s Golfapalooza, a blowout event that broadcasts the tournament on a jumbotron and features a massive golf equipment demo and competitions. Come Monday, Hootie and the Blowfish host the Monday after the Masters Pro-Am Charity Tournament. No jacket required.

Broadway At The Beach. In recent years, most of the nightlife in Myrtle Beach has gravitated to this city walk. Bars, restaurants, stores, cinemas, the Palace Theatre and a wave park for the kids dot the landscape that crisscrosses waterways stocked with ravenous koi. Even KISS, the heavily made-up heavy metal quartet, has its own coffee house.

Barefoot Landing. Located along the Intracoastal Waterway, this shopping complex brings to mind an old fishing village. Hey, can you name another mall with a 27-acre lake in the middle of it? Tired of polite waiters? Go to Dick’s Last Resort, a cheeky joint where they treat you like aÂ…well, rudely. Greg Norman’s Australian Grille doesn’t serve shark, but they do make a mean slow-roasted prime rib. Sink your teeth into the 18-ounce “Shark Cut.” Barefoot is also home to Myrtle Beach’s House of Blues, home of Golfapalooza and Hootie and the Blowfish’s Monday after the Masters Jam.

Coastal Federal Field. Longing for the days when athletes played for the love of the game? You know, presteroid/premultimillion dollar contracts? Check out the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Advanced Class-A Affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. What’s more, they play in an intimate (6,000 capacity) ballpark that was rated the number-two ballpark in the country at the Class-A level. If the seats look familiar, it’s because they’re from the old Fulton County Stadium.


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