35 years for any event is amazing but especially an amateur competition that draws over 3,000 golfers to Myrtle Beach. Four rounds of golf in four days determined the winners of 66 flights who would compete on Friday for the grand championship. After each round, beach time was a welcome reprieve before all the fun of the Largest 19th Hole at the Convention Center.
Myrtle Beach has battled some storms but always comes back and this year is no exception. Fortunately, they escaped the worst of Florence but still had rain and wind impact. Over 70 courses are open in great condition to maintain Myrtle Beach’s status as a worldwide golf destination.
The old term hillbilly Riviera is unfair given the grand strand of beach that beats many around the world, for the walkability and cleanliness. It is actually the melting pot of America attracting wealthy Californians, Europeans and families from all parts seeking affordable beach time.
Granted, there are some very cheap ocean front accommodations. There are also luxury beach front homes that are super for sharing with golf buddies. The Caravelle Resort fits in between with beach balconies available to watch and hear the wave action. The main pool and lazy river or lawn host djs, live music and fire shows. The Cabana bar serves Endless Summers (not too sweet rum concoction) in sand pails and spicy beef skewers that place you in Jamaica. For convenience, there is a laundry room, kitchens, store, arcade and fitness rooms plus a spa next door. What else do you need? Beach chairs and umbrella? Rent a pair for $40 per day, set up by the lifeguards or beach stores advertise them for $4-10. Leave them behind for the next guest.
Myrtle Beach has entertainment, dining and shopping options for everyone but is most renowned as the Golf Capital of the world for the many courses in short distance, designed by all the greats. The 66 flights of golfers competing in the World Am were paired by gender, age and handicaps. We played at Hackler’s (due to reopen soon from storm damage), Pine Lakes, Panther’s Run, Heritage Club, Shaftsbury Glen, Carolina National, and Crestwick. All the varied designs were scenic and well-conditioned but gave us an understanding of the Tour Champions pros’ pain in Eastlake when their balls disappeared in the rough.
Stealing from Forrest Gump, golf is like a box of chocolates at the event. You never know with whom nor where you will play. The 19th hole was fun as newfound friends introduced partners, shared stories and laughed. The Golf Channel emceed as players and guests partook of the open bars and taste of the town with samplings from different restaurants each evening. Over 70 exhibitors displayed the latest in golf ideas and live bands summoned us to the dance floor. Contests were held including a winning $25k hole in one. For us, an extra day at the beach instead of the final round was a perfect consolation prize at the 35th World Am(azing) event in Myrtle Beach. We highly recommend participation in the 36th.