Many families expect a beach when they get to Myrtle Beach, but our family prefers a Myrtle Beach golf vacation. The beach is there, of course. The Grand Strand is that famed Atlantic coastal area of South Carolina that encompasses 12 happy communities. Expect to find lots of resort hotels, condominiums and restaurants. It’s been several years since a 1.2-mile-long boardwalk was built to replace one damaged in a 1950s hurricane, yet Myrtle Beach has never been more popular.
But we’re talking about golf. Golf is a huge sport in a region where 54 of more than 100 Myrtle Beach golf courses allow children ages 16 and under to tee off free with parents. Many also provide steep discounts all summer to young learners.
Golf is the New Beach in Myrtle Beach
Just check out the expert rankings for The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach and the Caledonia Golf & Fish Club on nearby Pawley’s Island.
In fact, seven of the Myrtle Beach golf courses are among Golf Digest’s “100 Top Courses” as well. Play during non-peak hours and green fees can be as low as $50 or $60. During special events and holidays, when kids golf free with parents, the green fees may be as low as $35 per pair. That makes a half-day golf outing in Myrtle Beach’s crisp, ocean-misted air a total bargain.
No one in the family has to be an expert golfer, because Myrtle Beach is also a great place to learn the sport. Many of area’s pro’s are well known golfers. Check out Ted Frick of the Classic Swing Golf School, who relishes the opportunity to do Junior Golf Clinics and Family tournaments. Classic Swing, founded in 1992, is one of the area’s most elaborate practice facilities with lights for night play. Located at the Legends Resort facility, Classic Swing was selected by Golf Magazine as the “Most Affordable Top 25 Golf School” in America.
Watch why Frick himself was honored as the South Carolina PGA Section “Teacher of the Year” in this video.
Myrtle Beach Mini-Golf Isn’t Only for Pint-Size Golfers
Serious golfers don’t take minigolf very seriously, but mini-golf fans do. That’s why the golf capital of the South (the locals actually call it the “Golf Capital of the World”) hosts the U.S. Pro Mini Golf Association Tournament each year.
The host course is Hawaiian Rumble whose centerpiece is a fantastic volcano which erupts in flames approximately every 20 minutes.
This course, selected by the USPMGA as the number one miniature golf course in the world, hosts the South Carolina State Open this Apr. 23, 2022. Hawaiian Rumble has two sister courses – Hawaiian Caverns in Myrtle Beach (home of the US Open each May), and Hawaiian Village in North Myrtle Beach. At all courses, golfers are greeted with a warm “Aloha” and a lei to get into the island spirit.
Apres Myrtle Beach Golf Games
Recover and relax after the greens by taking the family to Dolly Parton’s Pirates Voyage dinner theater, something that’s sure to be good after-hours entertainment for the kids. Alternate that with Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament and The Carolina Opry.
For older children, plan a night game of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, a Class A affiliate baseball team of the Texas Rangers. Teens learning how to drive? Make an investment in an afternoon at the NASCAR Speedpark, where they can take out go-karts and practice their skills.
And the Myrtle Beach Skywheel is fun for all ages any time. Refurbished to mark its 10th anniversary, this 76-foot-tall Ferris Wheel has climate-controlled gondolas that showcase Atlantic Ocean views all year round.
Experience Authentic Local Black Culture
The country’s only African American historical living farm is Freewoods Farm. You’ll be amazed at this 40-acre living history farm that recreates rural life in the late 1800s. Like many small Southern farms owned and/or operated by African Americans between 1865-1900, everything was done by hand. Watch as workers use historic tools and plow the land with mules. Chores like making soap and syrup are done in buildings of the period. October visitors help harvest sweet potatoes by hand. Visit in November to chop sugar cane, strip and grind it to make syrup. Call ahead to check their Black History Month programming at 843/650-2064; 843/650-9139.
Golfers get hungry and there’s nothing more satisfying than a truly good meal. Go local by trying the famed Southern Low Country cuisine available at many restaurants. Derived from the Gullah cooking done by Blacks in the Carolina Low Country around Charleston, it uses products available from the marshy land in these parts. Low Country cooking features shrimp, fish or chicken, spiced with tomatores, onions and green peppers, then slowly cooked with rice or grits on the side. Expect to find other dishes flavored with spices, beans and locally grown peas, served with tomato sauce or gravy.
Dining Off the Greens, Away from the Strand
For off-green and off-beach outings, plan time to visit Brookgreen Gardens, an enormous landscaped garden known for its collection of outdoor sculpture and native wildlife. Your tiniest travelers will especially like a walk around quiet Murrell’s Inlet Marsh, where you can admire boats in the marina or stop for a seafood meal at this pleasant outdoor mall.
With all the fishing found along the coast and waterways, this region is also known for its Calabash cooking. This style of cooking fresh seafood — lightly battered and deep fried to perfection — originated in South Brunswick County, in the tiny town of Calabash. Kids just love it.
At Little River Marina on the Intracoastal, there are lots of fishing boats and indoor/outdoor seafood restaurants. Another popular place for dinner is the 2nd Avenue Pier at 2nd Avenue North and Ocean Blvd, serving continental fare and seafood, along with good local microbrews. The outdoor deck with its view of local fishermen is fun in nice weather.
Trip Planning Details for Myrtle Beach Golf Goers
Is everyone in the family a full-size or mini-golf player? Whether they are or they’re not, a beachfront resort is perfect for any family vacation.
Myrtle Beach is a destination that prides itself on being inclusive. Consider the dozen sensory-friendly resorts which have passed certification to welcome guests of any age on the spectrum to their facilities.
One of the newest options is Landmark Resort, which is debuting a huge waterpark this summer. Three curling slides topping 40 feet are located opposite the 500+ room condominium rental resort.
Kingston Resorts is another option with four units in a 145-acre, Hilton-managed beachfront resort on the Grand Strand. The 255-suite Embassy Suites, as well as the Kington and Royal Palm Condo towers full of condominiums and villas, offer many types of activities. At the Hilton Myrtle Beach property there are indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a Caribbean-themed waterpark, fitness club, tennis courts, variety of restaurants plus the new Blackdrum Brewery. Yes, there are 80 golf courses nearby.
Take your family to one of the six oceanfront resorts with more than 1600 guest rooms at Sands Resorts. Each hotel’s inclusive package provides free activities such as golfing and the Diamondback Adventure Camp (adjacent to the Diamondback Golf Course) in their rates. Golf instruction, driving range practice and full rounds of golf are available to parents and teens. As the weather warms up, enjoy the waterpark, weekly fireworks at Ocean Annie’s in the Sands Ocean Club Resort, and magic shows and an inflatables playground at Ocean Dunes.
For more information about lodging and activities, visit the Myrtle Beach tourism office.
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