Myrtle Beach proper is the focal point of so many golf trips and so much attention. Outstanding golf, oceanfront accommodations and enough nightlife to make John Daly blush are powerful lures.
Heading south, Pawleys Island is home to some of the nation’s best layouts and a casual charm people love.
The further one heads north, the definition that defines other parts of the Grand Strand begins to fade, particularly on the other side of North Myrtle Beach, but that doesn’t mean the area is any less attractive.
If you are considering a golf trip that straddles both sides of the North Carolina/South Carolina state line, here are five things you need to know:
● The North Strand and Brunswick County, N.C., in particular, were at the heart of the Myrtle Beach golf boom that began in the mid 1980s. The result of that explosion is an area, once you travel north of Tidewater, that is more known for its volume of courses as opposed to one acclaimed designed that serves as a foundational property.
● While the northern end of the Grand Strand lacks an anchor layout, that’s not a reflection on the quality of the golf experience. There is an argument to be made it’s home to the area’s largest cluster of outstanding courses. Designs like River Hills (pictured right) and Glen Dornoch (top photo) are followed by Thistle, Crow Creek, the Pearl, Sandpiper Bay, the four Big Cats at Ocean Ridge, and Rivers Edge a little further up the road. You will never be more than a pitching wedge away from a layout you’d like to tee it up on.
● The bigger question is whether you want accommodations to be based that far north. There are legit options, including condos at Sea Trail, a 54-hole facility, but off-course activities are limited. On the plus side, restaurants such as Chianti South and Parson’s Table, both in Little River, are outstanding and the good times of North Myrtle Beach are never far away.
● If you like the golf experience up north but want a little nightlife, you can get from the middle of Myrtle Beach to Long Bay, a Jack Nicklaus design that is a treat to play, in less than 30 minutes. Highway 31 has been a boon for travel, making the trek to Brunswick County a stress-free one.
● Many golfers travel to Myrtle Beach from points north, making the multitude of courses located on highways 9 or 17 ideal for a day of arrival or departure round of golf. Even if your trip is more centrally located, courses like Long Bay and Aberdeen Country Club are perfect venues to begin or end a vacation.
While the spotlight often shines elsewhere, the North Strand is chocked full of golf courses that will enhance any trip.