Story by Ian Guerin
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | If there is a single goal in mind when helping you plan out your Myrtle Beach golf trip, it is to make it as efficient and fun as possible. From which courses to package to where to eat to what off-course entertainment options are there for your post-round enjoyment – they’re all part of the grand scheme. But we’d be lying if we told you that finding that golf nirvana was a one-way street. Amid your family or buddy trip to South Carolina’s Grand Strand, there are several things that are directly in your control that will add to your experience while decreasing the stress of those trying to help.
DON’T BE LAX WITH YOUR TIME
Ask any starter at any course up and down the Strand what annoys them the most, and nine times out of 10, the answer will be players showing up late for tee times. Many golfers believe that if they miss theirs, they can simply squeeze in later. However, that depends entirely on another group showing up early. Want to risk your booking on someone else’s timeliness? Didn’t think so.
Several factors can help you ensure your scheduled round goes off without a hitch. Since we’re talking time, let’s start chronologically. If you’re not a morning person, maybe a 7:30 a.m. tee time when your body is in vacation mode isn’t the best idea. Is someone who normally hits the snooze button four or five times really going to enjoy sleep-walking through the first few holes of a course?
Whether you’re up early or not, it’s also key to knowing the geography. How long will it take you to get from your hotel or rental condo to the course? And if you’re doubling up and getting in a second round in the afternoon, how far apart are those two courses? An 8 a.m. tee time at the first and a 1 p.m. at the second when they’re 45 minutes apart won’t work. Lastly, do you prefer to hit a bucket of balls or roll 30 putts before hitting the first tee box? If so, give yourself the necessary time on-site to accomplish your routine. All of that will keep your starter happy.
DON’T FLY BLIND
It’s a solid practice to familiarize yourself with not only what your designated course has to offer – practice facility, early morning breakfast options, etc. – but also its in-house rules. Do they mind if you pack a lunch? Are they ok with denim (hint, most aren’t) or metal spikes (See: Denim) or shirts without a collar (that rule is fading some, thanks to higher-end shirt selections)? Speaking of apparel, some clubhouses are flush with gear. Be it a last-minute weather change or the fact the right stuff didn’t make it into your suitcase, know what is and isn’t offered.
Among the easiest components to pre-planning is one in which every course is playing with the same set of rules. South Carolina state law prohibits bringing your own alcohol onto the course. Trust us when we tell you that no property is going to risk a fine against their liquor license, so you can load up your previously purchased 12-pack.
DON’T DRINK YOURSELF BLIND
Speaking of the adult beverages, cracking a couple beers during the round is one thing. Getting sloshed is another. Frequently, those funny YouTube videos of dudes crashing carts or attempting the Happy Gilmore-style swing that is almost inevitably shanked into the woods are alcohol induced.
Trust us when we say no one ever woke up the next day after one of those rounds feeling real proud of themselves. Practicing some moderation on the links will allow you to make the most of your time on the links, regardless if you paid three figures or less than the price of a quickie oil change. And keep in mind, if you’ve paced yourself during the day, you’re going to be able to make the most of the other end of the candle. Just the same – and this goes back to our timeliness suggestions – showing up to your early morning round when you’ve been out all night pounding shots rarely works out well. If you’ve got plans for an intense bar hop, don’t schedule it the evening prior to the crescendo of your golf package.
DON’T STIFF THOSE HELPING YOU
Bag-drop staff, clubhouse grill employees, beverage cart workers, restaurant servers and hotel bell hops live where you vacation. That doesn’t mean they are doing it out of the kindness of their hearts. They have bills to pay just like you, and in many circumstances, they are busting their tails to ensure visitors’ experience are that much better while making the bulk of their paychecks. We don’t expect you to open the wallet extra wide for bad service. But what you’ll find is that kindness is rewarded. Those who factor tipping into the budget for the week and execute it are often the ones who find out about the lunch and nightlife spots that might not be as heavily advertised. They might get a few extra pieces of advice about the course or have a heads up about a good place to play during that “off” day later in the vacation.
Even players who get nothing extra in return know they’ve done the right thing, and karma is never a bad thing when golf is part of the equation.
DON’T LOSE YOUR PATIENCE
Even though the city of Myrtle Beach has a full-time population of roughly 30,000 people and Horry County is south of 350,000, those numbers can easily double or triple or more in any given week. Translation: This isn’t a sleepy sea-side town, nor has it been for four decades. You won’t be the only person driving or flying into the area when you arrive. Nor will you be the only person checking into your hotel, approaching the clubhouse for your tee time, going out to eat or trying to snag a beer at the bar.
Losing your cool because you stood in line for an extra couple minutes will get you nowhere. On the contrary, a little bit of understanding will go a long way. Because, well, who wants extra stress on their vacation?
Ian Guerin is a DJ and freelance writer based in Myrtle Beach. You can follow him on Twitter @iguerin and Facebook facebook.com/IanGuerinWriter/