When you start pondering your next golf get-away, Myrtle Beach should always be one of the first places to think about—particularly if you haven’t had a chance to get down there before. With more than 80 golf courses to choose from within an hour’s drive, great food and fantastic beaches for when you need to cool out, MB is truly a golfer’s paradise.
And while you consider your options, take a good look at the Waccamaw Golf Trail. South Carolina offers many of the finest public courses in the country, and the Waccamaw Trail includes some of the very best.
In addition to Jack’s great track at Pawley’s Plantation Golf & Country Club and TPC Myrtle Beach (a fantastic Tom Fazio layout), the Waccamaw Trail also includes two amazing courses laid out by Mike Strantz—Caledonia Golf & Fish Club and True Blue Plantation.
Although Mike Strantz passed away tragically at only fifty years of age, he left us with some of the greatest courses in the world, including Tobacco Road in Sanford, NC (perennially ranked by Golf Digest among the Top 100 public courses in the U.S.) and Royal Kent in Providence Forge, VA (ranked year in and year out among the best in Virginia).
In 2000 Strantz was named one of the “Top 10 Greatest Architects of All Time” by Golfweek Magazine, and the Waccamaw Trail includes two of his best. Caledonia is a Strantz masterpiece that is always ranked among the Top 100 Public Courses in the country by Golf Digest, and True Blue ranks among the premier courses in SC every year.
All of the courses on the Waccamaw Trail are excellent, so if you add this group to your bucket list, you’re guaranteed to have a trip that brings a smile for years to come.
It’s true that over 80% of golf in the USA takes place near home. Yet, at least 8.2 million golfers enjoyed the sport as part of business or leisure travel at the last count.
So, if you’d like to try something new when it comes to golf, you’re in good company. What’s more, your first golf trip could lead to many in the future if you follow these planning tips.
1. Get a Group Together
Golfing with friends is always better than going it alone. Get your golfing companions on board and get their input and ideas to help you plan your getaway.
The magic number for any trip is always a number that’s divisible by four. Most golf tour organizers swear that eight is the magic number of players for any trip.
It’s a manageable number for arranging flights, tee times, accommodation, and meals. You’ll also manage to play a variety of combinations when it comes to arranging your golf outings.
Arranging the Invitations
Start your planning at least 6 months in advance, as few people will have prior engagements that far ahead.
You want to avoid both hurt feelings by forgetting someone as well as disasters due to people pulling out at the last-minute cancellations. So, it’s best to send out one bulk invitation.
Write up an email with the main details of your trip such as the date and possible destination. Send it to at least 20 people, stating that the first seven people to respond get the spots.
That way you don’t have to choose who goes and who stays. If you end up with more than eight players, you can always put a couple of them on standby in case of cancellations.
2. Getting Organized
Once you’ve got a bunch of like minded people together, figure out between yourselves who’s going to be responsible for which details of the trip.
It’s difficult to get everyone to agree, so set up some ground rules from the start. If you find yourself in charge of this band of brothers, take charge and delegate when needed. Your enthusiasm will soon wane if you’re left doing all the work.
3. Pick a Destination
There are hundreds of excellent golfing hot spots all over the USA. All of these have their merits, but for starters, you should choose one that’s closest to home.
Some of the country’s most popular golfing destinations include:
Alabama (Robert Trent Jones golf trail)
If you’re traveling during the wintertime, be sure to choose a place where you’re likely to enjoy the best golfing temperature instead of freezing cold conditions, wind, or rain.
Florida or California are better choices for winter golfing. Many golf courses in snowy parts of the USA close during the colder months anyway.
4. Choose Your Courses
Choosing golf courses should be easy with so many fantastic ones available, but often this mind-boggling variety is what makes it so difficult.
While it’s always nice to tick the major signature courses off your bucket list, you can still have a lot of fun at lesser-known golf clubs. Getting into the top courses is sometimes difficult due to high demand.
You’ll have a better time if you choose courses that are in line with the skills and experience of the players in your group. That way everyone gets to enjoy a successful round or two.
As soon as you’ve decided on a few courses that you’d like to play, book your accommodation. During busy periods you could end up having to travel miles to your chosen course if you don’t book early.
Stick within your golf trip budget but avoid cheap choices. Often you’ll get better value by booking everything through a golf tour agent.
Research your accommodation just as thoroughly as you did your golf courses. You’re bound to come across some hotels that offer group packages for golfers at a discount.
While it’s common to share rooms during a golf trip, everyone will enjoy themselves a lot more if they have their own. When you’re playing, eating, and socializing together all day, it’s good to have somewhere to escape for a little peace and quiet. Having your own space means you won’t get tired of each other’s company by the end of the trip.
Plan your meals carefully so you can afford at least one splurge at a fancy restaurant or a night out on the town during your golf trip.
Another option is to rent a house close to the courses you want to play and take turns cooking. A house offers a lot of freedoms that don’t come with a hotel or B&B accommodation.
6. Plan as Much in Advance as You Can
Apart from your accommodation, you should book your golfing experiences well in advance too. Traveling during the week will make it easier to get a slot on the busier courses, but you should still book ahead to guarantee yourself a game on the day.
You may need to reserve a golf cart or a caddy in advance at some courses. There’s no harm in arranging your meals at the halfway house beforehand either, if possible.
If you’re going to be eating out, call the restaurant long before you arrive so they can set up one table for your whole party. Many restaurants can’t accommodate large groups at short notice.
7. Packing for Your Golf Trip
You don’t want to worry about laundry during your golfing getaway, so pack one golfing outfit for each day.
Be sure to check the dress code of each course beforehand and pack accordingly. Don’t forget to let your teammates know if you come across any important information about how to dress appropriately for each course.
You’ll also need some casual outfits for relaxed times as well as some smarter gear for meals or evenings out.
Above all, make sure your golf bag’s packed with everything you need for your games. You can never have too many extra balls and tees. Most golf courses have a store onsite which stocks the basics as well as the latest clubs, shoes, and golf bag designs.
Get More From Your Golf
You need all the help you can get when planning a golfing adventure away from home. You’ll find our website is full of useful information to help you plan your first golf trip or even your next game.
You can read more of our blog for extra tips, or look up golf courses, golf ratings, and golf routes on our site.