Tale of two Myrtles: Which part of the Grand Strand is right for your golf group?

By Travel ArticlesJanuary 27, 2012, 1:55 pm

The Grand Strand, a 90-mile stretch from Pawleys Island, S.C., that sneaks into North Carolina, offers so many choices to golf groups that it can be a little confusing to figure out where to tee it up.

It offers up so much more than just Myrtle Beach at the epicenter. The Grand Strand's main city houses the most hotels, bars and restaurants as well as Myrtle Beach Airport, where your group will most likely arrive. But head just a few miles in either direction, and the vibe -- and golf -- becomes decidedly different.

So should you point your compass north or south?

This is no Civil War. Bob Seganti sells the Southern experience of Pawleys Island through Caledonia Golf Vacations, a package that includes the Caledonia Golf & Fish Club and True Blue Plantation. Seganti, the director of golf at True Blue, said he doesn't see any rivalry with his counterparts running courses in the North.

'We truly believe from an ownership point of view, that a rising tide raises all ships,' he said. 'If they (golfers visiting Myrtle Beach) don't find us (on the first trip), they will get us next time.'

Myrtle Beach-area golf pros use the word 'co-opetition' -- cooperation mixed with some competition -- to describe life in a destination jam-packed with courses, all represented by one marketing entity, Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday. Here are some points to consider if your group is facing the 'North vs. South' dilemma.

Ranking the golf courses

Seganti joked that the only time the north and south regions might truly compete would be if they formed a softball league. He said 'the quality of the golf is the same' between the two areas. But he did add this subtle hint: 'I wouldn't hesitate to put out best three against their top three.'

His point is valid. If you go strictly by course rankings from Golf Digest, the South holds a slight edge. The magazine ranks Caledonia and True Blue first and third, respectively, on its list of the best courses along the Grand Strand. Pawleys Island is also home to the Heritage Club (ranked seventh) and Pawleys Plantation (13th).

The North can't stack up with that star power at the top, but if you want to dig a little deeper, the region extending from North Myrtle Beach to Shallotte, N.C., delivers more depth. The North has more four-star courses (24) and more courses that have earned 'top 100' magazine honors (six) than either the central or southern sections of the Strand.

Tidewater Golf Club (ranked fourth by Golf Digest) and three highly regarded courses at the Barefoot Resort & Golf -- the designs by Tom Fazio (12), Pete Dye (14) and Davis Love III (16) -- all reside in North Myrtle Beach. Toss in North Carolina to the mix -- home to River's Edge in Shallotte (sixth) and two top courses at Ocean's Ridge Plantation, Leopard's Chase (15) and Tiger's Eye (19), in Sunset Beach -- and that's six of the top 20 courses of the Grand Strand in the North stacked up against the four in the South. (For the sake of fairness, we'll throw the highly regarded TPC of Myrtle Beach in Murrell's Inlet in with the South as well).

The truth is, they're pretty evenly divided.

Two different golf experiences

The difference between the North and South lies in what type of golf you like.

Pawleys Island drips of the Deep South. Large oaks draped with Spanish moss rule the day at Caledonia. Caledonia and True Blue are built near more marshy areas, where alligator sightings are more likely. They give off the Lowcountry vibe more than any other place along the Grand Strand.

Back in the North, the Ocean Plantation courses feel more like Pinehurst. Pines and pine needles frame the fairways. There seems to be fewer forced carries over water hazards and wetlands. North of Little River, S.C., the terrain starts to roll out some decent elevation changes, especially at courses like Glen Dornoch Golf Course, River Hills Golf & Country Club and Tidewater. The courses at Barefoot Resort tend to be a well balanced mix of both locations.

The cost

If there is one deciding factor, it could be price. The top golf courses near Pawleys Island tend to be a slightly better bargain during peak season (going off of rack rates published by Golf Digest and an Internet search of a major Myrtle Beach packager).

The Internet search for an April weekend during peak season revealed that even though the southern region has the most expensive course (Caledonia), it is probably the better value when comparing high-end courses. A round for two players at Caledonia on a Saturday will cost $188 per person, followed by the TPC of Myrtle Beach ($167), True Blue ($142), Heritage Club ($117) and Pawleys Plantation ($98). Adding those five up brings the total trip to $712.

The cost of the four Barefoot Resort courses -- $187 per person -- pushes the price of the North up significantly, while the North Carolina golf courses help balance those higher green fees out. Leopard's Chase G.C. would cost $130 per person, followed by Tiger's Eye ($118) and River's Edge ($90). Playing the three highest-rated Barefoot courses, plus Tidewater ($161) and Leopard's Chase will cost a golfer $852 for five rounds. Playing just one Barefoot course and the four others, however, adds up to only $686. It's all how you package where you play.

Life after golf

Pawleys Island might boast two of the best dining haunts on the entire strip -- lunch at the clubhouse at Caledonia and dinner at Frank's or Frank's Outback, two different experiences under one roof. Still, the North wins the dining category for its overwhelming mix of restaurants and bars. The Barefoot Landing, outside the Barefoot Resort in North Myrtle Beach, houses a handful of choices for golfers, notably The House of Blues and Greg Norman's Australian Grille.

Seganti said the smaller scene in Pawleys Island attracts a different audience than the North.

'Why bigger groups stay up north is there are more restaurants,' he said. 'Groups the size of 22 to 38 people want different things. There are more options, nightclubs, more hustle and bustle. We are more popular with mixed groups of men and women. That would be the biggest difference. We pride ourselves in being more laid back.'

North vs. South: The verdict

Here's the final tally. The South holds slight edges when it comes to the 'best' golf experiences and the 'better' value. The North offers a little more depth, yet holds a big advantage when it comes to the convenience of more restaurants and things to do off the golf course. This, my friends, could be called a push. When it comes to Myrtle Beach, no matter where you go, golfers are the ones who ultimately win.

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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry