Spring isn't too far off and once again a lot of golfers will be making the trip to Myrtle Beach. For first time Myrtle Beach golfers, here's some Do's and Don'ts
DO check out the first part to my Favorite Courses in Myrtle (http://3jack.blogspot.com/2008/11/my-top-10-suggested-myrtle-beach-golf.html)
DO check out the second part (http://3jack.blogspot.com/2008/11/my-top-10-suggested-myrtle-beach-golf_25.html)
DON'T expect the rates to go down because of the economy. Unfortunately, the courses set their rates ahead a year in advance. You could get some lower rates in the summer and fall because usually the courses get less business and they are not completely booked up and you can call in. But in the spring time, the courses are usually fully booked and you can get on unless you made a tee time way in advance.
DON'T expect the courses to have less play. People want to golf and probalby made these tee times months and months in advanced. And even with the economy, there's still a lot of people that will play golf in these tough times.
DO expect the courses to be in fantastic condition. This is Myrtle's peak season and the courses expect top notch conditions from their grounds crew. People get fired when the conditions do not meet the coure's expectations. Also, the one thing that usually causes problems in Myrtle Beach course conditions are heat and rain and it's just beautiful in the spring without a whole lot of rain (most rain happens in the fall in Myrtle).
DON'T book an early morning tee time unless your 100% confident that you have no problem getting up in the morning as well as the rest of the players in your group. You miss a tee time in Myrtle, you likely won't get to play AND you still get charged for the round. You're better off scheduling a tee time in the afternoon, getting there in plenty of time and still allowing you and your group to go out at night, have a good time, and be rested for the next day of golf.
DON'T act like you own the place because you paid the greens fee. Courses can have up to 250 players booked EVERY SINGLE DAY and if your group is taking 6 hours to play, you're essentially screwing over everybody on the course that day.
DO expect 90% of the courses to be double teed. If you can still book a tee time and do not want to tee off #10, call the course and see if they can schedule you to tee off #1 instead. Caledonia Golf & Fish Club has a particular problem with this since #9 is a 100 yard par 3 and #18 is a beautiful, picturesque par 4 over water. One of these holes is a great finishing hole, the other is a lousy finishing hole. So if that's important to you, then just ask the pro shop if you're teeing off #1 or #10. The courses HAVE to double tee because it's the only way you can really get 200+ golfers out there playing every day. If they didn't double tee, then the rates would go way up and you would have to book tee times even further in advance.
DO tip the bag boy. $1 a bag ain't bad and they'll even wash your clubs for you if you're not a complete ass.
DON'T expect to haggle prices, even on replays. The people working in the pro shop simply cannot change the price for you.
DO know what you're getting into with replays. Know that you're going to have to obviously play in the morning if you want to play a replay, meaning you will have to get there on time. And also know that you and your group probably hasn't played golf in awhile and even with carts, it can just make for a long day. People get tired and then to make matters worse they go out later that night and are dragging their feet the rest of the trip.
DON'T buy equipment or golf balls at the pro shop. The PGA Tour Superstore and Golf Dimenions have far better prices. The only thing worth buying in the pro shop is apparel that has the course's name on it, if you're into that sort of thing.
DON'T expect a driving range at Caledonia, perhaps the most popular course on the Grand Strand. They have a net and people get frustrated that's all they really have. You can go to True Blue across the street and use their range without a problem, but you better pay close attention to your tee time.
DO get good directions, even drive by the course the day before you play it, while you stay there. Again, you miss your tee time and you're likely screwed.
DO stay at a condo if you can, even if it's not on the beach. You can save a ton of $$$ by cutting down the times you eat out in half and instead cook your own food.
DON'T book two tee times on the same day (one in the morning, one in the afternoon). Too tough to hope that play is moving quick enough to make the afternoon tee time. I've seen plenty of golfers do it, but too many times it doesn't work out.
DO check out the driving range over at The Legends. Best driving range I've ever been on.
DON'T go to those Eagles and Wings shops. They're all the same and they're all junk.
DO promptly flip the bird to anybody in those shops who tries to say that because you touched a shirt or whatever, you now must pay for the shirt. It's illegal and it's garbage. Of course, you shouldn't be there in the first place.
DO go to Villa Romana. Fabulous italian food.
DON'T act like you're playing in the US Open. It's alright to focus and want to play well, but there's no need or reason to have to read putts like Bernhard Langer from 7 different vantage points. Slowing up the entire course really, really sucks.
DON'T think that because you're playing behind women that they are slow. A little secret, female golfers in Myrtle Beach are by far the FASTEST players on the Grand Strand. They know exactly how far they hit the ball and will hit it to about 10 yards behind the group in front of them every single time. It's almost uncanny. Usually the people that slow up the course is that group of 12 that decide to play for some money.
DO try to take it all in. The golf, the beach, the restaurants, the nightlife, the weather, etc. I lived in Myrtle Beach for nearly five years and I would move back there in a nanosecond if I could. As fun as it was to live there, it's even more fun of a place to visit. So enjoy.