Myrtle Beach more than a one-trick golf pony

For many guys, the idea of playing 36 holes a day in Myrtle Beach sounds like a prescription for golf nirvana. And it is a trip when you’ve been golf starved.

But after a couple of days, that second round of the day can lose its magic as late nights and many shots wear you down, and passing on that second round becomes an attractive option.

Even if you do cram as much golf as you can when you’re in Myrtle Beach, it does get dark eventually. Nor can you stop it from raining from time to time. It is an outdoor game after all.

In years past, Myrtle Beach used to be a one-trick-golf pony. Before or after golf, or instead of golf, your options were usually limited to drinking, playing cards, going to a movie, buying khaki slacks… or drinking.

After golf in Myrtle Beach, you can enjoy great good and tunes at the popular House of Blues.

Believe it or not, there is more to life on a golf trip than golf.

After golf in Myrtle Beach, you can enjoy great good and tunes at the popular House of Blues.

Now, you can get all the golf you want—after all, there’s more than 100 golf courses spread over about 60 miles known as the Grand Strand—and enjoy great restaurants, nightclubs that rock and others that samba, a wide array of shopping, a bevy of shows and entertainment, amusements

“The Myrtle Beach Area has evolved into a destination that offers something for everyone, from 60 miles of beautiful sandy beaches, to a wide range of accommodations, amenities, amusements, entertainment, shopping and a plethora of activities for everyone, including world-class golf. There’s so much more to do and see to complement golf,” says Kimberly Hartley of the Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors’ Bureau.

The evolution of Myrtle Beach includes how you get there. In the past, a trip to Myrtle Beach meant hop scotching around all day on planes, or a very long drive cooped up in close proximity with some guys.

For folks in Western New York or Southern Ontario, you can fly direct to Myrtle Beach on Direct Air out of Niagara Falls, N.Y., which features Niagara Falls International Airport, likely the only international airport in the world which services one airline and provides free parking.

And now you can get on a plane in downtown Toronto and the next stop is Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This modern miracle is brought to you by Porter Airlines which is flying don’t-stop-till-you-pass-go-direct flights to golf mecca from February 28 to May 30 with departures on Thursdays and Sundays. One-way fares start at $179. Connections are available in Toronto from Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City and Thunder Bay.

“The announcement of Porter’s direct flight to Myrtle Beach was significant for the state and travelers from Central Canada, because it’s now so much easier to get there,” said Ian Cruickshank, travel columnist for The Toronto Star daily newspaper.

“I’ve been lucky enough to tee it up around the globe, from China to Ireland but one of my new favourites is Myrtle Beach. It’s got everything—some of the finest public layouts in the U.S., a night life that ranges from old fashioned fun to sophisticated dining, and the best family beach on the eastern seaboard,” Cruickshank says.

The soundtrack for the majority of golfers in Myrtle Beach today is not bagpipes or big band music. Golfers can rock out, eat, drink and rock out at the Hard Rock Café, which attracts a great mix of locals and visitors of all ages.

One of the greatest trends in Myrtle Beach has been the increasing number of venues with live music or shows. At the House of Blues, great beer and food perfectly complements an eclectic mix of quality musicians, including jazz, rock, roots and, of course, blues. Norah Jones, Hootie & The Blowfish and Chris Isaak have graced the HOB stage in Myrtle Beach.

Myrtle Beach’s great range of live venues includes The Alabama Theatre which features entertainers performing America’s favourite music including country, Broadway, and bluegrass, as well as artists such as Merle Haggard and Engelbert Humperdink.

For a variety of music, dance and comedy, there’s The Carolina Opry Presented by Calvin Gilmore. The venue’s specialty on select nights is Good Vibrations, in which the Opry cast turns out hits from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Gilmour’s Legends Concert pays tribute to entertainers such as Elvis, Frank, and Barbara.

For a country-flavoured extravaganza, don’t miss Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner & Show which features 32 horses and expert riders performing spectacular feats.

For more great entertainment choices, there’s also Le Grande Cirque at The Palace Theatre, the LIGHT laser-light show, Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, IMAX 3D Theatre, the Comedy Cabana, and Casino Boats from Little River, S.C. that feature gambling, dining and live-entertainment.

Especially for the family, there’s:

  • Alligator Adventure at Barefoot Landing–One of the largest exotic reptile parks in the world
  • Children’s Museum of South Carolina—An interactive environment where everyone is encouraged to touch, explore and play.
  • The Garden City Pavilion Arcade—More than 200 arcade games, and it’s not just for kids!

There’s also the Lowcountry Zoo at Brookgreen Gardens, MagiQuest at Broadway at the Beach (an interactive and technological experience), and five Ripley’s attractions (museum, aquarium, haunted adventure, mirror maze and 4D moving theatre), Freestyle Music Park (a musically themed amusement park), Myrtle Waves Water Park, and NASCAR SpeedPark (you can actually drive on seven tracks), and much more.

There are a number of fun festivals, the most notable for folks north of the border is the Canadian-American Days Festival in early March. For loading up on gifts for the folks who had to stay home, there are major shopping centres such as Barefoot Landing, Broadway at the Beach, Marsh Walk and more.

And if you find yourself with some energy to spare after an evening out, there’s always lighted golf at the Cane Patch.  Which is something good to think about along with your Myrtle Beach tee times.

About Tim O'Connor

Tim O'Connor is a golf coach, an award-winning writer, and speaker. Tim takes a holistic approach, coaching golfers in the physical and mental aspects of golf. He co-hosts the Swing Thoughts podcast with Howard Glassman, and is the author of The Feeling of Greatness: The Moe Norman Story. He plays bass in CID—a Guelph punk band!