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Story by Ian Guerin
Spring golf is big business in Myrtle Beach and its surrounding cities and towns.
The tourists start to return in droves and the tee sheets start to look a bit more like the owners would prefer. Planning a trip to be a part of that, though, isn’t cut and dry.
Which courses would you like to play? What kind of hotel do you need? Where do you want to eat? What clothes should you pack? What’s your budget?
Those are the five biggest questions that need to be answered before your golf vacation can begin.
ROUND AND ROUND
How you package your courses is easily the most exciting part of the planning phase. The designs and their designers, the prestige of some and the challenge of others - it all goes into what can be the fantasy draft of sorts for scheduling the trip. Finding great courses isn’t all that hard with so many to choose from. But getting them lined up in an orderly fashion can add to the overall experience. Mix and match those courses, find some great variety among all the styles to choose from and test yourself on different levels
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY
One of the appeals of Myrtle Beach has always been its ability to allow those looking to stretch their dollar further than other seaside locales. Just like any vacation, though, the wallet can open quicker and wider than you’d hoped if you’re not prepared. That obviously goes for the courses, where some of the top dogs are charging three and four times what some mid-range options will. It also goes for hotels, in-town commuting, food and sunburn relief (for the out-of-practice beach goers). If you’re not the Monopoly Man, make a budget, include a small pot for last-minutes purchases and stick to it.
WEATHER SPECIFICS MATTER
A running joke among locals revolves around the weather. A person on one side of the Intracoastal Waterway will send a picture of doom and gloom clouds to a friend on the other. The latter will respond something along the lines of “We’re at the beach,” or “Hold on; putting on 14.” Point being, a significant storm or weather pattern that is affecting one portion of South Carolina’s northern coastline - especially during a frequently rainy part of the year - may not be sniffed by another. So find the area code of your hotel and all the courses you plan on playing, punch them into your favorite weather app and ensure you’ve got the most reliable information on what to wear and plan for at your fingertips.
STAY, THEN PLAY
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Maybe no portion of a golf trip to South Carolina’s Grand Strand can improve the trek or put a damper on the whole thing quite the hotel choice. Start out by deciding how much time you’re gonna be spending in the room. Is this simply a bed for 7-8 hours each night or a meeting place for pre- or post- dinner conversation and cocktails? Does an oversized pool sound like a nice complement to the beach? And what kind of view do you want (there is a difference between “ocean view” and “oceanfront”)? Not all hotels are created equal; nor are their rooms.
FOR THE FOODIES
The Internet has blessed us with mass amounts of information, available with only a few key strokes and clicks on the laptop. It’s also shown us just how crazy some folks can be when rating restaurants. When choosing which stops you’ll put on the agenda, we recommend searching out numerous Web sites and pooling what you find before making a choice. Someone on Yelp may have had a server finishing up a shift after a long week and torn the place to shreds; another reviewer on Trip Advisor could have loved the staff and food but not the location. You may also find that certain sites only steer you to large chains - it’s an advertising trick used to supplement costs that some sites utilize. Keep all of that knowledge in the back of your mind and come to your decisions with the patience that decent meals deserve.