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Story by Ian Guerin
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | As the fall golf seasons dips some, those looking for wide-open tee times and relatively tame temperatures take advantage of what South Carolina’s Grand Strand golfing mecca has to offer. Those who do a little research first can also pack their off-course calendar, as well. In and around Myrtle Beach, four tried-and-true events have carved out a niche of their own in attracting locals and visitors alike. What’s more, with so many local golf courses to choose from, all of them are a drive and a chip away from a great round.
INTRACOASTAL CHRISTMAS REGATTA
For more than three decades, Little River has helped kick off the holiday spirit nearly a month prior to the Winter solstice by prominently displaying what gives the town so much of its personality. On Nov. 24, 2018, that tradition will continue with the 34th annual Intracoastal Christmas Regatta. The event delivers a massive boost for the Toys for Tots program while putting on a water-riffic show unlike the high-and-dry environments around the country.
Course Pairing: River Hills Golf & Country Club is all about the water, so why not mix it with the festivities of the Regatta later in the day.
NIGHT OF A THOUSAND CANDLES
Each year, tens of thousands of visitors flock to Brookgreen Gardens to witness what Travel & Leisure Magazine once dubbed the "Best Christmas Lights in South Carolina”. More than 4,500 hand-lit candles join forces with traditional holiday lighting to illuminate of the most historic and beautiful properties around. Take note that this is an 11-night production between Dec. 6-22. Get your tickets early.
Course Pairing: True Blue Golf Plantation has everything players would want in a design, and it’s high-end feel would put you in the perfect mood for a stroll through Brookgreen later in the day.
BEACH BALL CLASSIC
Not too many places in the country can feature the type of basketball that has been played between Christmas and New Years in Myrtle Beach since 1981. The Beach Ball Classic high school hoops tournament has in the past featured the likes of Kobe Bryant, Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Kenny Anderson prior to their NBA careers. Since 1994, it has been housed in downtown Myrtle Beach at the Convention Center.
Course Pairing: A few short blocks away from the current home of the tournament is a course with plenty of history of its own, Pine Lakes Country Club. Myrtle Beach’s first course opened in 1927 and is still going strong today.
NEW YEARS EVE ON THE MARSHWALK
Fireworks have become nearly as big a part of New Year’s Eve as the Fourth of July. Watching them take place of the water of the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk is an experience altogether memorable. After several hours of food and drink specials with live music in each restaurant, patrons are invited onto the half-mile-long boardwalk for the light show to take place overhead.
Course Pairing: Just up the road from the Marshwalk is the thinking-man’s course at Indian Wells. Gene Hamm’s design here allows players to ease up and save up not only for the entire round, but the rest of the day’s activities, as well.