Plan your next trip with our new Dream Weekend series, combining picks from golf expert Joe Passov and the editors at GOLF.com and the travel gurus at Travel & Leisure. We’re bringing you the best recommendations for golf courses, hotels, restaurants, and sightseeing–so you can focus on your round instead of your itinerary. Now on the tee: Myrtle Beach.
Dubbed the “Grand Strand,” Myrtle Beach is a popular destination for families and buddies trips alike thanks to a bevy of courses that can fit any budget. With almost 100 local tracks to choose from, there’s something for everyone. We take you through an ideal weekend in this South Carolina city with a blend of the top-ranked courses in the area and a low-key standout.
When you land at Myrtle Beach International, you know you’re in for a golf-filled weekend – there’s a course directly across the street from the runway. Since most of your golf will be situated north of the airport, we’re heading south for the first round of the weekend. Take the 45-minute drive down to Caledonia Golf & Fish Club where you have two options on where to play, and you can’t go wrong with either. Caledonia is the highest-ranked public course in the area, coming in at No. 29 in GOLF’s Top 100 Courses You Can Play. It’s a Mike Strantz design that packs top-notch golf into its small 125-acre plot and just exudes the South Carolina charm you expect. Oaks, Spanish moss, a plantation-styled clubhouse: it’s all there. Across the street is a similarly highly-rated course – True Blue, another Strantz design, comes in at No. 77 in GOLF’s rankings. True Blue isn’t quite as tight but presents more of a challenge at the greens, which force creativity and patience in order to get up and down. Whichever course you choose, you can’t go wrong.
After making the short trek back to Myrtle Beach proper, check in at the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes. Depending on your group, there are options that range from guest rooms to three bedroom suites. This is a solid, central location for the rest of the weekend and offers plenty of discount packages throughout the year while still feeling like a high-end stay. After a long day of travel and golf, you’ll need an ocean view and seafood. Enter Sea Captain’s House. Situated in an oceanfront beach cottage that was almost torn down in the 60s, Sea Captain’s provides South Carolina favorites like Shrimp and Grits to go along with seafood favorites like pecan crusted grouper and sea scallops. If you want to hit the Ripley’s Believe It or Not or the Aquarium, don’t. We’ve got a big day tomorrow.
Travel and Leisure Tip: Opened May 15, 2010, the 1.2-mile boardwalk revitalizes downtown. The traditional raised wooden boardwalk in the northern end is lined with shops, while the southern end has a path that undulates between sand dunes. Marvin McHone, owner of Marvin’s Bar & Grill, says, “They did it right—it’s a classic.”
Buckle up: Barefoot Resort has four golf courses to choose from, and you’re playing two of them today. The quartet of designers isn’t lacking star power (Pete Dye, Tom Fazio, Davis Love and Greg Norman) which makes for a tough decision on which track to play. Our rec? Play the Love-designed course for sure – it’s ranked 85th in our Top 100 public course rankings – and toss a coin on the second. The Dye Course is a traditional Dye layout and requires precision in all facets of your game. The rumpled surrounds frame green complexes beautifully. The Norman Course offers more options for birdies, but does necessitate a solid tee game thanks to some tight fairways. This course uses the original vegetation throughout the 18 holes. The Fazio course is sprawling and brawny. Waste bunkers galore can wreck scorecards as well as the water hazards that front each par-3.
Peaches Corner started serving hotdogs back in 1937 and is still family owned and operated. Located right on the beach next to the Myrtle Beach Skywheel and the main drag, Peaches is nice way to get the Myrtle Beach experience and a cheap meal. The classic foot long hot dog is topped with mustard, chili and onions is only $3.99. Burgers, chicken sandwiches, pit smoked BBQ are complemented by the cheap beer offerings. It’s all deliciously old school. (Don’t check the Yelp reviews – you’re there for the experience!)
Travel and Leisure Tip: Visit Molten Mountain mini golf course. The exterior of this course is a volcano that erupts every 30 minutes, shooting three fireballs 50 feet in the air. Visitors playing the holes inside can hear the volcano when it erupts and watch as rocks fall around them. There’s a par 3 hole that challenges you to hit the ball over a lava stream.
We’ve splurged a bit so far with some of the highest-ranked courses in the area, so for this final round of the trip, we’re heading to an under the radar course. The Heathlands Course at The Legends is one of the first designs by acclaimed architect Tom Doak. His genius and creativity is on full display, especially on the 16th hole. This long par-4 has a creek that splits the fairway in half where the hero shot towards the left side is rewarded with a shorter approach into a widely sloping green. After a long weekend, the wide fairways and large putting surfaces will be welcome, but two putts aren’t a given here. Only a 15 minute drive away from the airport, this is a fantastic way to put a bow on your weekend in Myrtle.
Travel and Leisure Tip: Family in tow? Check out Palmetto and Palm Water Parks at Dunes Village Resort. With elephant figures squirting water from their trunks and bright car-rafts for tykes traveling down the Lazy River, Palmetto caters to the younger set. Resort guests pick up speed at the Palm Water Park, though, with its raucous Wild Winding Waterslide, and they accelerate even more on the Speed Slide. Still, Palm reveals its lighter side with a yellow-and-orange Silly Submarine full of holes and spraying water