Golf in South Carolina
For golfers living in the Northeast, Midwest or wherever winter snow is a reality, the start of the New Year means planning getaway trips for groups of guys from foursomes to the hundreds. Traditionally, frustrated players sick of the white stuff dream of escaping to warmer climes where golf - and reasonably priced accommodations, food and off-course entertainment - are plentiful.
And where better to escape than South Carolina? According to Golf Digest, almost nowhere tops the Palmetto State.
That fact is reflected in the magazine's January issue in an article titled "What a Trip - The Best Places for Buddies Golf Getaways & What Makes Them So Special." Author Peter Finch offers his 36 best places - and South Carolina comes in with four of those, including No. 6: Charleston/Kiawah Island. Finch notes four top playing choices there: Kiawah's Ocean, Turtle Point and Osprey Point courses, plus Wild Dunes Resort's Links Course.
The article also displays price ranges, with Charleston/Kiawah coming in at four dollar signs, or among the top-priced options (based on relative expense for area green fees and accommodations). Bottom line: If you want to sample such design titans as Tom Fazio, Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus, you'll get what you pay for there.
But not all of the destinations are high-dollar affairs. Myrtle Beach, the home of reasonably-priced golf, shows up three times (for the north, central and south sections of the Grand Strand), ranging from three dollar signs (south) to two dollar signs (north and central).
Myrtle Beach's south section, tied for No. 26 on Golf Digest's list, offers high-quality golf courses - Caledonia, True Blue and TPC Myrtle Beach - at slightly lower cost, while the north (ranked 25th, with such choices as Tidewater, Barefoot Resort's Fazio course and The Legends' Oyster Bay) and central (tied for 34th with The Dunes Club, Grande Dunes Resort Course and Myrtle Beach National's King's North) coming in at two dollar signs - as inexpensive as any named by the magazine.
Golf Digest also breaks down selections by such categories as "best courses" (Charleston/Kiawah rank fourth of 10); "best value" (Myrtle Beach central and north rank 1-2, Myrtle Beach south is sixth and Hilton Head/Savannah are eighth); "best weather" (Hilton Head ranks ninth), "best food & drink"(Charleston comes in sixth); "best lodging" (Charleston No. 3, Hilton Head No. 10); "best nightlife" (Myrtle Beach central No. 5, Charleston No. 7); and "best for couples" (Hilton Head is seventh, Charleston ninth).
Elaborating on "best value," Finch tells of a group of 12 men who have visited Myrtle Beach every September for nine years. "They stay five nights and play four tournament rounds for about $750 a person," he writes, noting that price covers golf, rental home, "almost all food, beer and prizes."
Group organizer Jim McIntire tells Finch, "Myrtle Beach just makes it very easy and affordable for us." That's the main reason they keep coming back - and why Golf Digest ranks South Carolina golf among the best for buddies.
Golf Digest's rankings were based on input from its panelists, roughly 1,100 "avid golfers," who ranked each category on a 1-10 scale. To read the entire article, click here.