Myrtle Beach, A Golf Capital of the World
There are many, many golf resorts in the United States but there is only one Golf Capital of the World and that is Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The title may be somewhat self proclaimed but is well deserved nonetheless. The 60 mile stretch along the northern coast of South Carolina up into North Carolina is known as the Grand Strand and is dotted with over 100 golf courses.
There has been some attrition in golf courses over the past few years due to the economy but those that remain provide a smorgasbord of golf course variety unrivaled anywhere.
From modest and playable layouts to world class designs by the likes of Tom Fazio, Pete Dye, Tom Doak, Jack Nicklaus, Robert Trent Jones, Sr and his son Rees Jones, the Myrtle Beach area truly provides something for all golfing interests and abilities.
What was originally a summer resort taking advantage of the incredible 50 miles of sandy beach on the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean the Myrtle Beach area grew into an unparalleled golf mecca by originating a cooperative amongst the lodging providers and golf courses.
The convenience of one stop shopping where your accommodations book tee times and rooms for one set price has been a huge success in attracting visiting golfers.
Not only is it convenient to book golf trips, the value is incredible. Depending on your tastes in lodging and golf courses, the traveling golfer can stay and play, depending on the season, for short money.
For instance, at the oceanfront Sea Mist Resort where we stayed on a recent visit, it is possible (late April to early May) to get a room (double occupancy) for three nights, play four rounds of golf with cart, get free breakfast, a welcome cocktail, a seasonal oyster roast and a $10 voucher towards dinner for only $248 plus taxes.
Are you kidding me?
On our visit we took advantage of a tremendous triple play at three courses known collectively as Mystical Golf. Owner, developer and impresario Claude Pardue built these three courses with distinct differences in mind but there are several things in common at all three and those are- great service, superb playing conditions and excellent values.
Another common factor amongst the Mystical courses, The Wizard, The Witch and Man-O-War is they were all designed by Pinehurst, NC based architect Dan Maples. Maples learned the trade from his father Ellis Maples who worked with Donald Ross at Pinehurst for many years. Maples is also known for his other Myrtle Beach area designs such as the Heritage Club, Oyster Bay and Sea Trail.
Each of the three courses possess their own look and feel. The Witch, located on Highway 544 near Conway is a unique and special place. It is built amongst 500 acres of woods and cypress swamps with miles of wooden bridges through the wetlands connecting the various holes. While playing you are out alone in nature and it is just an exceptional experience.
The Wizard and Man-O-War are built side by side in the Carolina Forest area off Highway 501 a few miles northwest of central Myrtle Beach.
Taking 500 acres of essentially flat and wooded land, Maples and Pardue had the vision and the resources to carve two different style layouts out of the terrain. One thing you will find on both courses is water, lots of it, but it really doesn’t come into play unless you are way off line.
The Wizard is evocative of a Scottish links course built low to the ground with openings in front of the greens to accept run up shots. The course is replete with stone arch bridges looking much like the famous Swilcan bridge at St Andrews in Scotland. The clubhouse is even built like castle ruins.
The Man-O-War course has the look of an old style Carolina layout similar to something you would find in Pinehurst. Lined with towering Loblolly pines and playing easily along the land, Man-O-War has water that is more in play than the Wizard and possesses bentgrass greens comparable to any private club. It is unusual to find good bent greens this far south but with the proper construction and maintenance, Pardue and company get it done.
To top off the Myrtle Beach experience is true Southern hospitality. Everyone is genuinely friendly and helpful and sincerely happy to have you visit the area.
For more information log onto SeaMistGolf.com or call 800-896-0306 and for more information about The Witch, Man-0-War and The Wizard, visit www.mysticalgolf.com, or call 843.282.2977.Written by Wayne Mills
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