* The Golf.com World Amateur Golf Championship will be played this August 26th to 30th over 60 Myrtle Beach courses. Participants play four rounds over four courses, with a fifth round reserved for the championship. Each entrant also receives the "My Pro To Go" smartphone app and one free lesson from a GolfTEC Certified Personal Coach.
Registration for the championship opens on April 3 at an early-entry cost of $450 (the fee jumps up to $550 on May 15). As soon as contestants have registered and paid, they receive a special code allowing them to qualify for a free "My Pro To Go" lesson as soon as they're ready. For more information go to worldamgolf.com or call 800-833-8798.
* A new terminal is expected to open at Myrtle Beach International Airport this year. The project doubles the size of the facility and includes the addition of multiple new gates. Seven airlines currently provide non-stop flights to Myrtle Beach from 25 cities, with the expansion expected to increase the number of flights.
* The miniature golf courses in Myrtle Beach almost outnumber the regulation-size versions. You can play layouts with exploding volcanoes, waterfalls and fire breathing dragons. If you're good enough, enter the U.S. Open Pro Mini Golf Tournament (prominigolf.com/usschedule.html) held in May at the Hawaiian Village Miniature Golf Course in North Myrtle Beach.
Travelin' Joe Says
"Drive time can cut into golf time. If you're planning a 36-hole day, book side-by-side courses, such as Caledonia/True Blue, the Legends or Barefoot Resort. You'll often find deep discounts for a second round (same course or companion course) as well."
From the Expert
"Course conditions here are at the very best starting around March 1st and lasting through April.
"In terms of pricing, from about March 7th to Memorial Day is the high season. The fall is second highest, while summer brings the lowest prices. It gets toasty then, but if you get out around 8 or 9 in the morning you can find some tremendous bargains.
"The premium courses are almost 50 percent off in the summer. You do have to deal with some heavy traffic, but using Route 31, which runs parallel to Route 17, will help you avoid most of it.
"From the best course down south — Caledonia — to Ocean Ridge Plantation in the north, that's a 90-minute drive easily. Off the course, there are two huge entertainment areas (Broadway at the Beach and Barefoot Landing) worth visiting, and there are water sports galore, with charter fishing, jet skis, parasailing, etc."
-Bill Ganz, Golf Sales Manager, Marina Inn at Grande Dunes
"Caledonia was designed by the late Mike Strantz, and his artistic designs contain a lot of visual elements. One of these, the extensive use of waste areas, provides a unique challenge to the visiting golfer and is found on numerous courses in the Myrtle Beach area.
"The waste areas are very firm sandy surfaces and are often used as cart paths. Playing a greenside shot from this surface causes many problems for the average golfer. When they open the clubface like normal, the additional bounce on their wedge works against them, leading to many skulled shots.
"The two things you need to adjust are to square the clubface and strike close to the ball. Doing so successfully will make the shot go further, so you should plan for that, but hopefully the ball will stay on the putting surface!"
-Marc Guertin, PGA head professional, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club