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Story by Ian Guerin
There are folks who still need to be sold on a Myrtle Beach golf vacation. And there are folks who have already been here.
Throughout the years, South Carolina’s Grand Strand has fine-tuned nearly every part of its biggest draw not named the Atlantic Ocean. The courses have found ways to polish the tiniest of detail in an effort to impress the players who make their way onto the grounds. On top of all that, they’ve found a way to do it earlier in the year than much of the rest of the country.
As you start preparing for the seasons to turn and getting a steady diet of links time, here are some pretty important reasons to get to Myrtle Beach in April, something so many others have already made a part of their annual routine.
This may seem like the “duh” update of the next few hundred words, but here is some food for thought. The entire coastline of South Carolina still has its share of chilly mornings during March (although you Northerners would probably laugh at that thought). But the fourth month each year brings an average high of 76 degrees. Even the first spots on the tee sheets each day are welcomed with more inviting temperatures. When an extra layer is still required, it is of the lighter variety, meaning getting out the door and onto the first hole takes a little less preparation than it did even a few weeks prior.
One of the undersold aspects of the Myrtle Beach golf scene is how many great instructional options there are adjoining some of the courses. The Dustin Johnson Golf School at TPC Myrtle Beach, Steve Dresser Golf Academy, the Golf School of Myrtle Beach and a number of others provide lessons as short as a couple hours, something that can be all the difference in working out a kink in your swing. With a little advanced planning, you can even schedule one of those mini sessions for the first day of your arrival and then put it to use for the duration of the trek.
Myrtle Beach didn’t become the golf mecca it is out of luck. And it didn’t accomplish its notable status in the game by pigeon-holing itself into one category. Courses here come in every price tag and level of difficulty. So whether you’re a frequent visitor to high-end courses or stick to something cheaper - or whether you’ve found a way to keep your game from going dormant over the winter months or feel rustier than the Tin Man at the beginning of Wizard of Oz - there is a place here for every level of golfer. With so many courses between the Jack Nicklaus designed Long Bay Club near the North Carolina border to Founders Club of Pawleys Island at the south end of the Grand Strand, what part of town you’re staying in won’t prevent you from finding the right fit.
If you look up “buyer’s market” in the dictionary, it might as well show a map of this area. With so much competition, most of the course owners have put a premium on the strength of their product. And more often than not, that strength is the condition of the course. It is camera-ready early in the round? Is rain from the previous day (that happens a lot) presenting too many soft spots in the fairway? Are bunkers sloppy or greens patchy? These are all things that matter to players, and superintendents, general managers and head professionals know this. So by April each year, nearly every track is playing to its ceiling. That goes from the high-end tracks such as Grande Dunes Resort Course and King's North to the more economical choices like Myrtlewood Golf Club.