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Picture Perfect: Tidewater Golf Club Reopens with New Miniverde Greens

October 01, 2014 by Chris King

Tidewater Golf Club, one of Myrtle Beach’s best and most honored courses, reopened on October 1 after an extensive greens restoration project.

The course, which plays along the Intracoastal Waterway and Cherry Grove Inlet, installed new Miniverde Bermuda grass greens as part of the project.

Tidewater didn’t merely install new greens. Management hired a company to study drainage and perform a soil analysis on each putting complex. The result was vastly improved drainage and a new, custom soil profile that ensures the course’s greens will have optimal conditions in the short and long term.

“We are extremely excited,” said Archie Lemon, Tidewater’s general manager. “At Tidewater, we have a beautiful layout; it’s second to none. Now our greens are back up to the standard we want them to be.”

Tidewater closed for the project on June 9 and also used the time to enhance the course’s playability and already dramatic aesthetics.

Among the improvements was the widening or lengthening of every fairway on the course. The notable expansions included:

  • The fairway on the par 5 eighth hole was lengthened by 60 yards, bringing it much closer to the tee boxes.
  • The landing area for the second shot on the par 5 16th hole was widened by 20 yards.
  • The 18th hole, one of the Grand Strand’s toughest par 4s, had its fairway widened by 10 yards in the landing area.  

“We’d all rather be playing from the fairway, and sometimes the difference between being in the fairway and rough can be night and day for golfers on holes like No 18,” Lemon said.

Speaking of expanded surfaces, the greens were restored to their original size, which netted Tidewater an additional 10,000-square feet of putting surface.

There was also an additional 3 ½ acres of sod laid on the course outside of playable areas, more than 400 trees were removed, and the bunkers all received new sand.

The project was spearheaded by Kris Spence Golf Design. Spence, who oversaw the renovation of Sedgefield Country Club, host of the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship, is renowned for his golf course restoration work.

Tidewater, which has been ranked among America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses, was the first layout ever named best new course in America by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine, and it raised the profile of the Myrtle Beach golf community upon its 1990 opening. Nine of the course’s 18 holes play along either Cherry Grove or the Intracoastal Waterway.

Tidewater’s most famed hole is the par 5 13th, which offers a view of the inlet and the Atlantic Ocean in the distance. The thirteenth is hardly the only memorable challenge at Tidewater. The fourth hole, a par 4 that plays along Cherry Grove, is arguably the most dramatic par 4 along the Myrtle Beach golf scene.

With new greens and pristine conditions, Tidewater is a must-play course this fall.

Five Unconventional Apps That Might Improve Your Focus and Golf Game

September 30, 2014 by Rick Limpert

Pomodoro is an unconventional app that could improve your focusSelf-improvement is something that we all seek, but in reality, it's a neverending quest.

Improving our golf game is much the same. Who doesn't want to hit it farther, straighter and make more putts?

In addition the training aids and the demo clubs, we can also use what is in the palm of our hands - our smartphone and mobile devices for some new age self-improvement. There are hundreds of apps out there that are all about improving our minds and indirectly that could improve our focus and shotmaking on the course.

By the way, September is also "Self-Improvement Month," so let's see if you can benefit from some of these free apps:

Sworkit
Want to start an exercise regimen, but can’t get to a gym? This easy-to-use fitness app takes you through workouts as short as five minutes that can be done anywhere. All you have to do is choose the part of your body you want to work on and the amount of time you have, and the app creates a custom workout using just your bodyweight. Get in shape for 2015 and beyond with Sworkit.
 

Pomodoro
A focus booster, Pomodoro helps you finish all of your tasks. Decide on a task to be done- maybe it's  yard work, organizing for tax season or spending time on the practice green at the club. You then, press the “Play” button to start a Pomodoro (recommended to set each Pomodoro to 25 minutes). After the 25 minutes is complete the app tells you to take a short break (3-5 minutes). Every fourth Pomodoro take a longer break (15-30 minutes). If you are ultra-busy, it's worth a try.
 

Lift
Maybe you just have a little trouble sticking to the game plan.

If your greatest challenge with self-improvement is sticking to a plan, the Lift app can help you with that. This simple app tracks how often you complete tasks that you assign yourself and rewards you with virtual check marks for being consistent. Lift gives you steps and milestones to make progress more manageable and provides coaching, progress tracking and optional reminders to help you stay focused and stay on track. Sounds like a great way to stay to track improvement on the course!
 

Mindfulness Daily
Maybe you need to incorporate meditation into your daily life? The Mindfulness Daily app will guide you through effective practices to reduce stress, improve performance and enhance sleep. This could improve your focus and concentration on the golf course. The app can also send you reminders throughout the day to pause for a couple minutes of deep breathing or guided meditation. It's worth a try.
 

DailyArt
Can looking at art improve your golf game? Some say it can. Art can take your mind off the matters at hand and can reset your brain. The DailyArt app delivers one piece of classic art to you each day to enjoy and appreciate. If you want to dig further, it comes complete with background information on the artist and painting.
 

Rick Limpert also writes for YahooRick Limpert is an Atlanta-based sports, technology, and travel writer. He writes for Yahoo.com, a daily tech piece for Examner.com and has been featured in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Sports Illustrated. You can follow Rick on Twitter at @RickRoswell. 

Links Magazine Ranks Pawleys Island the 10th Best Island in Golf

September 29, 2014 by Chris King

True Blue Links Magazine ranked the top 25 golf islands and a small corner of the Myrtle Beach golf market stood tall. Tiny Pawleys Island was ranked the 10th best golf island, outpolling the likes of Prince Edward, Puerto Rico and New Zealand.

The magazine said of Pawleys Island, while recognizing it for offering best bang for your buck, “How can you not go with an island alongside Myrtle Beach, especially when two of the 10 courses are Caledonia and True Blue.”

While Caledonia and True Blue, both of which are ranked among America’s top 100 public courses, anchor the considerable golf offerings on Pawleys Island, they are hardly alone. Pawleys Plantation, one of the most scenic courses on the Myrtle Beach golf scene, Heritage Club, a top 100 caliber layout, Willbrook Plantation, Founders Club and Tradition Club are all outstanding tracks.

The charms of Pawleys Island extend beyond the golf course. The sprawling live oak trees and lowcountry setting make Pawleys the antithesis of downtown Myrtle Beach, where nightlife and entertainment are rarely more than a block away.

None of that is to say Pawleys lacks for fun, it’s just a little more quaint. The area is home to some of the Grand Strand’s best restaurants, highlighted by Bistro 217.

When you add it all up, Pawleys Island is certainly worthy of its spot on the Links Magazine list, which was headlined by No. 1 Great Britain, No. 2 Ireland and No. 3 Australia. Despite it’s many virtues, it’s hard for Pawleys Island to compete with entire countries!

Gator Holes: Five Holes Where You Will See An Alligator on a Myrtle Beach Golf Trip

September 26, 2014 by brasierjd63@yahoo.com

there are plenty of alligators to be found in Myrtle BeachThey’re creepy and they make us feel uncomfortable, especially if they’re in our peripheral vision as we swing. But their presence makes us grab our phones for camera shots whenever we see them on the course. We run toward them – but not too close.

They scare us. But we feel drawn to them. If they were gone, we’d feel the loss because to many of us, they’re as much a part of Grand Strand golf as smooth greens, pristine wetlands and spectacular signature holes.

We’re talking alligators, of course. Those slimy, slithering, jagged-toothed reptiles that patrol bodies of water along the Grand Strand and several of the area’s golf courses.

Alligators have long been prevalent on the Grand Stand. It’s a gator that’s prominent on the logo of the famous Dunes Golf and Beach Club, the course that put Myrtle Beach on the world golf map.

We know you love gators (or at least taking photos of them), so here’s a short list of Grand Strand golf course spots most likely to supply a gator photo op you can show to illustrate your bravery to the gang back home.

No. 13 at The Dunes Club: An obvious choice. Gators frequently come out of Lake Singleton to sun themselves on the first and second legs of the fairway on the Grand Strand’s most famous hole. They particularly frequent the right side (closest to the water) of the fairway off the tee. There are no reports of attacks on the hole, but the mere presence of a gator (the swash is home to several) makes the long second shot over water on the mammoth par-5 especially intimidating.

No. 15 at Oyster Bay: It’s best to pay attention when stepping out your golf cart behind the green on the picturesque par-3 surrounded by water unless you want to step into a pair of “alligator” shoes. There could be an adult gator on or near the cart path, which is only a few paces from the water. With the green slightly elevated and higher on the back, players sometimes get little notice before seeing gators. Fortunately, the gators are used to encounters with golfers and their camera phones. They are also often seen next to the water that must be crossed on the approach to the 16th green

No. 2 at The Witch: There are few alligator haunts eerier than the blackwater wetlands at The Witch. Gators on the par-4 second hole can be hard to see from the tee, but often await at a pond that guards the right side of the fairway. Birds of prey such as Hawks and owls and other types of wildlife also inhabit this untamed golf course playground. But the sinister-looking gators that lurk early in the round help set a dangerous tone

No. 3 at Pawleys Plantation: A gator hole since its grand opening 25 years ago when a gator took a bite out of the ball of course architect Jack Nicklaus, playing in a course-Christening round. Water to the left and front of the green at the par-3 is home to gators who can emerge from the water into a green-front bunker for some sun to dry them off. Miss the gators at No. 3, there’s plenty more chances on this scenic layout featuring spectacular views across the pristine marsh barrier to historic Pawleys Island.

No. 9 at Blackmoor: Maybe not a spot you’d expect to see a gator, given its inland location. But don’t be surprised, especially on the par-4 ninth hole, which features a gator-inhabited lagoon down the left side of the fairway. Many a golfer has faced a difficult fairway bunker shot near the water with a pair of threatening eyes peering just above the top of the water. If the eyes are too close and looking from out of your view, don’t be ashamed to invoke the rule of equity and take a drop. You’ll feel better and it might help your score, too.

John Brasier covered Grand Strand golf as golf writer and sports editor of The Sun News in Myrtle Beach. He also has written about Grand Strand golf for several national publications, including Golf Magazine, Golfweek and GolfWorld. A mid-handicapper with a history of luck on short holes, he’s made four holes-in-one, though much to his regret, none on the Grand Strand.

Golf Channel, Justin Leonard Relive the U.S. Ryder Cup Miracle at Brookline

September 25, 2014 by Chris King

The Ryder Cup is only hours away and it seems nobody is giving the U.S. team a chance, but there is plenty of hope. If you need reason to be inspired or want to get more excited about watching this year's event, this Golf Channel feature on our improbable 1999 rally at Brookline, which includes Justin Leonard's return to the course, is a MUST watch!

 

Spirit Air Announces Plans for Nonstop Service From Cleveland to Myrtle Beach

September 24, 2014 by Chris King

spirit air will begin nonstop service from Cleveland to Myrtle Beach next springThe cold wind whipping off Lake Erie should be a little easier for Cleveland golfers to endure this winter, because a trip to the world’s best golf destination is about to become a lot more convenient.

Spirit Airlines has announced that it will begin servicing Cleveland Hopkins International Airport next year. Included among the low cost carrier’s new routes will be daily nonstop service to Myrtle Beach beginning on April 16, 2015.

Flight times have yet to be announced.
Ohio generally speaking and Cleveland, in particular, have always been great feeder markets for the Myrtle Beach golf community, and given the ease of a nonstop flight and Spirit’s ultra-low fares, interest should only grow.

April 16 is a Thursday, giving Clevelanders the opportunity to turn an 11-hour drive into a 90-minute flight on one of the most popular golf weekends of the year and throughout the rest of the spring and summer.

Myrtle Beach Fall Classic to Debut this Fall on Star-Studded Golf Course Lineup

September 23, 2014 by Chris King

prestwick will host the first annual myrtle beach fall classicThe Myrtle Beach Fall Classic will debut this November, giving golfers the opportunity to conclude their 2014 season by competing on some of America’s best courses.  

The inaugural Myrtle Beach Fall Classic, a two-person team event, will be played November 17-20.  The 72-hole tournament entry fee is $325 per person and will include four rounds of golf, two nights of free food and drinks, and a gift bag. The event will be limited to the first 100 teams and is expected to sellout.

Players can register online at www.MyrtleBeachFallClassic.com.

The event is highlighted by a golf course lineup that includes the Fazio and Norman courses at Barefoot, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, Grande Dunes Resort Course, King’s North,  Prestwick, TPC Myrtle Beach and True Blue.

Golfers will be flighted based on their team's USGA handicaps and there will be a different format of play each day. The tournament formats, in order, will be best ball, Texas scramble, combined net team score and a scramble.

Six of the eight layouts have been ranked among America’s top 100 public courses and no matter a player’s rotation, four rounds of great golf are guaranteed.

  • Caledonia, ranked among America’s top 100 public courses by Golf Magazine and Golf Digest, is a one area’s best and most scenic courses.
  • The Fazio Course at Barefoot Resort has been ranked among America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses by Golf Digest and hosted Big Break Myrtle Beach.
  • The Norman Course at Barefoot Resort is one of seven area courses that play along the Intracoastal Waterway.
  • Grande Dunes Resort Course has been ranked among America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses and it hosted the PGA Professional National Championship over the summer.
  • King’s North at Myrtle Beach National is an Arnold Palmer design that has been ranked among the nation’s best public courses, and it’s one of Myrtle Beach’s signature layouts.
  • Prestwick Country Club, a 4.5-star course, is a P.B. Dye design that is one of the area’s best and most underrated layouts.
  • TPC Myrtle Beach is the former home of the Senior Tour Championship and is currently ranked among America’s top 100 public courses by Golf Digest.
  • True Blue is America’s 77th best public course, according to Golf Magazine. The Mike Strantz design is one of Myrtle Beach’s bedrock layouts.


The fun won’t end at the course. During registration on Sunday, November 16, players will be treated to hors d'oeuvres and open bar.

There will also be a plated dinner and open bar at the awards dinner on the final night at Crown Reef Resort. Participants will receive a tournament gift bag, including Myrtle Beach Fall Classic logo’d apparel, among other items. The top finishers in each flight will win prizes and every player will have the opportunity to win daily contests and random drawing prizes.

The Myrtle Beach Fall Classic is a Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday event.

From Long Odds to a Jack Nicklaus Golf Course, 2014 Ryder Cup is Upon Us

September 22, 2014 by Chris King

Rickie Fowler could help lead the US team to victoryGolf’s most anticipated biennial event is now just hours away, so what do you need to know about the 2014 Ryder Cup? We have a quick primer.

1. Europe, winner of four of the last five cups and six of eight overall, enters as a heavy favorite. Setting aside recent history, which suggests cup stalwarts like Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia will summon their best play, the Euros enter in better form. Rory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer have been the two best players in the world this year and will be hard to beat.

2. While Ryder Cup momentum is typically no better than a team’s putting, the American’s don’t enter with much. Jimmy Walker’s three wins seems like a lifetime ago, Bubba Watson has spent more time complaining than playing high quality golf since winning the Masters, and 2014 hasn’t been a year Phil Mickelson will remember fondly. Patrick Reed hasn’t looked like a “top 5 player in the world” since opening his mouth and we haven’t gotten to the captain’s picks.

3. This one was a surprise to me, but this year’s event, which will be played at Gleneagles, is the first Ryder Cup held in Scotland since 1973. During the ensuing 41 years, England has hosted six Ryder Cups, which may help explain the recently failed Scottish push for independence.

4. For those of you hoping for a links-style course, disappointment awaits. Gleneagles is a Jack Nicklaus design that will look more like a typical PGA Tour layout than the classic links courses we associate with Scotland.

5. Despite the lack of form and long odds, the Americans are capable of bring the cup home. This year’s team has young guys who hopefully view the Ryder Cup as an opportunity, not the burden it has sometimes seemed to be for Tiger Woods and Mickelson. Jordan Spieth, Reed, Rickie Fowler and even Keegan Bradley will hopefully bring a passion to the event that changes the dynamics of the U.S. side and by extension the competition.

Lessons From the Road: 30 Years of Driving From Philly to Myrtle Beach

September 19, 2014 by Mike Kern

Mike Kern has been driving from philly to myrtle for 30+ yearsI’ve been to Myrtle Beach way too many times to keep track. But I do know that I made my first trip before I got married, so that has to be at least 30-some years ago.

I can still remember driving there from Philadelphia, through the night with three friends, in a compact whatever. We took turns behind the wheel, which of course is the only thing to do, even though I’ve since ignored that and almost dozed off at the controls.

Just don’t tell anyone.

I also recall us almost hitting something that had wandered onto I-95 somewhere deep into North Carolina, although we were never sure exactly what it was. I’m assuming animal. I was hitting about 90 on the speedometer at the time.

Then we had to play our first round on no sleep about an hour after we rolled in. Rookie mistake. But hardly the last time I’ve ever done something like that. Later we got a flat tire. It’s funny what sticks in your memory bank. Yet it must have made some kind of an impression, because I always keep going back.

Truth is, I’m not sure I ever considered flying down until I started going to the annual Golf Writers Association of America championship that was held in Myrtle Beach for over half a century before circumstances unfortunately forced its to move. Now those were some great times. The final round was played at the Dunes Club, followed by a candlelight dinner in their dining room, where for our 50th anniversary Arnold Palmer came in to be the guest speaker.

It doesn’t get any better.

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Meet the Players of Big Break Myrtle Beach!

September 17, 2014 by Chris King

The cast of Big Break Myrtle BeachGet an up-close look at the cast of Big Break Myrtle Beach with tonight’s ‘Meet the Players’ special at 9 p.m. on Golf Channel.  The one-hour special will introduce you to the 12-person cast – six men, six women – and preview the excitement (and ample drama) of the coming season.

The series will debut on Golf Channel at 9 p.m. on October 7.

America’s most popular golf show, Big Break was filmed at the Fazio, Dye and Love courses at Barefoot Resort and Pawleys Plantation as contestants competed to fulfill their dream of playing on golf’s biggest tours.

More than $150,000 in cash and prizes, including an exemption into a PGA or LPGA Tour event are up for the grabs. Here is a brief look at the 12 competitors:

Jimmy Brandt: The Auburn, Ala., native is a mini-tour star, accumulating six victories and 16 top 10s in 2012 and 2013.

Katie Detlefsen: One of two Central Florida alums on the show, Detlefsen has been a Class A teaching professional in her native Minnesota since 2010.

Katy Harris: Former LSU All-American was forced from the game after graduating in 2001 due to injury before returning in 2010. She has qualified for three U.S. Women’s Open and won on three different tours, including the Symetra, since her return.

Charlie Harrison: Wake Forest grad is currently competing on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica and mini tour circuits.

Christian Heavens: A first tee alum, Heavens says golf helped him escape the pressures of the mean streets of East St. Louis, Mo.

Dave Markle: One of the best amateur golfers to ever come from Canada, Markle is competing on the PGA Tour Canada.

Toph Peterson: After stepping away from competitive golf to start a designer walking bag company, Peterson has returned and is now competing full-time on the mini tour circuit.

Carolin Pinegger: One of Austria’s most decorated junior players, Pinegger moved to America and teamed with Detlefsen on the UCF golf team. She currently competes on the Symetra Tour.

Krista Puisite: A Texas State alum, Puisite is a former member of the Latvian Junior National Team. She is currently competing on the Symetra Tour.

Anthony Quezada: An alum of the First Tee of Phoenix, Quezada is one of the youngest Big Break cast members ever, and, if the trailer is any indication, he may be one of the most polarizing.

Tessa Teachman: The second LSU alum, joining Harris, Teachman is currently a member of the Ladies European Tour.

Emily Tubert: A three-time All-American at Arkansas, a former U.S. Women’s Public Links champ and a member of the 2012 Curtis Cup team, Tubert appears, on paper, as one of the favorites to win the event.

Tune in tonight as there is much more to learn about the cast of Big Break Myrtle Beach.

Willard Byrd Course at Sea Trail Soars

September 16, 2014 by Chris King

Willard Byrd golf course at Sea Trail PlantationSea Trail Golf Resort is home to layouts designed by the Open Doctor, Rees Jones, Dan Maples, who has designed more Myrtle Beach golf courses than any other architect, and Willard Byrd, who completed the trio with the opening of his course in 1990. 

On the name recognition index, Byrd doesn’t enjoy the cache of his Sea Trail compatriots, but his work at the Sunset Beach, N.C., facility might be the best of the bunch. The Willard Byrd Course at Sea Trail has an ideal combination of playability, challenge and value that appeals golfers.

The Byrd course isn’t particularly long, playing 6,750 yards from the blue tees and 6,251 yards from the white tees (where most of us play), so long, forced carries and the need for a space-age driver are minimized.

Byrd created a layout that allows golfers ample opportunity to hit the driver, but doesn’t make length a prerequisite for success. The course, which has seven doglegs of varying severity, rewards shot-making and creativity, challenging players to hit a variety of shots.

Those challenges are what make the course appealing to low-handicappers despite the relative lack of length.

“Byrd is more demanding on the good golfer,” head pro Eddie Pratt said. “That’s why they like to play it.”
 

Mid to high handicappers are fond of Byrd because his designs aren't overly penal from the white tees. Regardless of your handicap, Byrd rewards players that pay attention to where they are hitting the ball. Playing to the proper side of the dogleg and awareness of hazards are vital success.

“It’s more of a shot-makers course,” Pratt said. “It’s not a course where you hit it, find it and hit again.”

The Byrd Course is home to several large man-made lakes – the biggest is 20 acres – but the water isn’t an overbearing threat. The course’s fairways are plenty wide, giving players ample room to find the short grass.

The key to success lies in a player’s ability to execute with short irons. There aren’t many long approaches, but the greens are well guarded, most of them surrounded by sand. If you miss a green, you will likely be chipping out of or over a bunker.

If the threat of missing the green weren’t enough, hitting it hardly ensures success. The Byrd Course’s greens are often large and multi-tiered, so hitting the right part of the green is vital to scoring well.

One thing players don’t have to worry about is the condition of the greens. Sea Trail installed new Champions Bermuda on the greens as part of a two-year project, and the results have been well received.

byrd 7.jpgPar 3s
The par 3s are Byrd’s strongest collection of holes. The seventh, a 190-yarder, is Pratt’s favorite hole on the course and the 186-yard 12th isn’t far behind. Both holes require relatively long tee shots over sand and require a sturdy commitment to your club selection. They encapsulate what’s so enjoyable about the Byrd Course – a good score is very much within reach but It must be earned.

The 174-yard second hole requires a carry across one of the (alligator filled) man-made lakes to another three-tiered green. The 16th is the longest par 3 from the blue tees, playing 202 yards, but the shortest from the white tees (155 yards). With no water and healthy size green, it’s the easiest hole on the back nine, according to the scorecard.

Par 4s
Byrd’s par 4s speak to its reputation as a player friendly course. While the par 4s feature several doglegs, not one of them plays longer than the 392-yard fifth hole from the white tees.  Setting the fifth hole aside, there isn’t another par 4 that stretches to 380 yards from the white tees. With even minimal distance off tee, players will have manageable approaches.

A prime example is the fourth hole (407 blue/378 white), which features an almost 90-degree dogleg left.  A 225-yard drive from the white tees will leave players well positioned, but a waste bunker runs along the left side and mounds on the right complicate any mistake in that direction.

The aforementioned fifth hole is the course’s hardest. In addition to being long and straight, the hole has subtle elevation change.

“On the tee box it looks flat but there is a steady incline,” says Pratt. “You are always hitting one or two more clubs than you expected on your second shot.

The most difficult hole on the back nine, according to the scorecard, is the 400-yard, 10th hole, a dogleg right with sand on both sides of the fairway, and a relatively small green.

The final two-shotter is the 382-yard 17th hole. Long hitters can bomb away but a lake runs up the entire left side of the fairway and mounding on the right can punish a slice. The 17th green is classic Byrd; it’s large – 39 yards deep - but surrounded by four bunkers.

byrd 3.jpgPar 5s
The par 5s on the Byrd Course offer players a couple chances to pick up strokes.

The third hole (535 blue/468 white) is relatively short but it has a severe dogleg right. A large waste bunker and a tree on the right side make cutting the corner difficult. Play this one by the book and be content to reach the green in regulation. The ninth hole isn’t complicated. It’s long and straight. If you can get home it two from the 542 yards on the blue tees (or 517 from the whites) more power to you. Most of us can’t.

Opportunity potentially beckons on the 13th hole (528 blue/493 white), but there is a significant risk-reward component. The hole is straight but each side of the fairway sports a large bunker and one of the course’s lakes runs in front of the green. Long hitters can go for the green in two, but you better be certain you can get there. Any ball that is short will be wet.

The 18th is regarded by many as Byrd’s easiest hole. It’s short (468 blue/442 white) and not overly tight, giving many players the opportunity to go for the green in two, assuming your drive is in the fairway.

The Verdict: The Byrd Course at Sea Trail doesn’t receive the accolades of its Grand Strand brethren (including the on-site Jones Course), but it’s a good layout with good conditions. There isn’t much housing, and players have the opportunity to score if they play well. If you are a low handicapper, play from the blue tees and enjoy the challenge.

In short, if the Byrd Course offers value and challenge, a combination everyone seeks on a Myrtle Beach golf trip.

Have you played it?

Help other Myrtle Beach golfers by adding YOUR Myrtle Beach golf course review on the Sea Trail - Byrd Course page!

Tomasz Anderson Shoots 60 at True Blue; ODU Wins Golfweek Program Challenge

September 09, 2014 by Chris King

Tomasz Anderson shot a 60 at True BlueOld Dominion won Golfweek’s fourth annual program challenge, but Jacksonville State’s Tomasz Anderson stole the show, shooting a stunning final round 60 at True Blue Golf Club.

Anderson captured individual medalist honors with a 19-under par score of 197 in the 54-hole event.

He flirted with golf’s holy grail, a 59, as he blistered True Blue, one of America’s Top 100 Courses You Can Play. Anderson finished with 12 birdies and six pars (SEE ANDERSON'S SCORECARD).

“When I made par it felt like a bogey,” he said with a laugh.

A senior who claimed medalist honors at the Golfweek Program Challenge for the second time, Anderson shot a 68 and 69 in the opening two rounds but felt his game was coming together.

“I’ve been playing well for two or three weeks now,” he said. “It’s not so much that I was making a lot of birdies but (I was making) no errors. I was just waiting for it to click and today it did.”

After making par on the first two holes, Anderson caught fire, birdieing the next four. He settled for par on the eight and ripped off five more birdies in a row, a torrid stretch that raised the prospect of a 59.

“Then I missed two 8 footers on 13 and 14,” said Anderson, who was playing lift, clean and place after the Grand Strand endured a surplus of rain in recent days. “I was thinking about (59). I knew on 13 or 14 I might need one of them.”

The 60 was the best round of Anderson’s life, competitive or practice.

ODU’s team score of 1,725 was the best of the event. The ODU men’s team was 31-under par (833) (MEN'S SCOREBOARD), good enough to best second place Jacksonville by three shots and Jacksonville State by four.

Furman won the women’s competition (WOMEN'S SCOREBOARD), which was played at True Blue’s sister course, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, with a score of 867, 12 strokes better than Campbell.

The Golfweek Program Challenge is a one-of-a-kind college tournament that invites 12 schools to bring their men’s and women’s team to the Myrtle Beach to compete in a 54-hole tournament on two of America’s premier layouts – True Blue and Caledonia.

The tournament crowns team and individual winners but what sets the event apart was the Program Challenge championship, which is annually awarded to the school whose men’s and women’s teams have the lowest combined scores.

Myrtle Beach 9-11 Unity Memorial Readies For Rememberance Ceremony

September 09, 2014 by Chris King

the myrtle beach 9-11 unity memorial ceremoy will take place thursday at 7 pmThe Myrtle Beach 9-11 Unity Memorial will hold its annual remembrance ceremony on Thursday, September 11 at 7 p.m. on the 29th Avenue side of Broadway at the Beach.

The public is invited to attend the event free of charge.

The annual ceremony is hosted by the friends of the Unity Memorial and the Chicora District of the Pee Dee Area Council, BSA, and the featured speakers will include retired New York City Firefighter John J. Waters III.

The 9-11 shrine is bookended by the Unity Memorial and a mounted piece of steel beam from the North Tower of the World Trade Center that was given to the Myrtle Beach tourism community by retired FDNY members.

The Unity Memorial was conceived by members of Cub Scout Pack 891 in the aftermath of the September 11 tragedy.  They brought together Scouts, individuals and businesses from the Grand Strand to erect a monument to remember the way Americans stood together in the days following the tragedy.

The ribbon beam from the World Trade Center is mounted at the opposite end of the memorial, a timeline surrounding it walking visitors through the tragic day’s events.

The inscription on one of the plaques located on the pump house sums up the purpose for the Unity Memorial, and that is "The tragic events of September 11, 2001 remain a dark memory for America. Yet, in the days that followed these events, Americans stood side by side in unprecedented numbers to remember the souls lost, heal the wounded, repair the damage and resolve that freedom must always prevail in the face of terror and tyranny.”

In the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks, the Myrtle Beach tourism community hosted countless first responders to provide them a respite from the work of restoring Ground Zero, and MBGH launched the FDNY 9-11 Memorial Golf Outing, forging a relationship with the FDNY and its membership that continues to this day.

As a show of appreciation for the friendship, a piece of ribbon beam from the North Tower was presented to MBGH in May 2011, leading to the completion of the Myrtle Beach 9-11 Unity Memorial.

The Three Best Holes at Shaftesbury Glen

September 08, 2014 by Chris King

Shaftesbury Glen features some of the widest fairways on the Myrtle Beach golf sceneShaftesbury Glen arrived on the Myrtle Beach golf scene in 2001, and the Clyde Johnston design quickly carved out a player-friendly reputation. The course sports some of the widest fairways along the Grand Strand - making it a favorite for those of us with a crooked driver – and elevated, bentgrass greens.

To provide a better perspective on what players have to look forward to, we asked Shaftesbury Glen’s director of operations, Ryan McCarty, to tell us the course’s three best holes, and he happily obliged.

1. The 579-yard second hole is reachable in two only for Myrtle Beach golf’s one-percenters (distance not money qualifies you for this exclusive club), so it rewards three quality shots.

A fairway bunker on the right is reachable off the tee, but there is ample room to land the ball. Your second shot should favor the left side of the fairway, which brings the water into play but provides the best angle of approach

“You need to make sure you hit a good approach shot, but it’s definitely a hole you can score on if you play it the right way,” McCarty said. “Don’t try to overpower the ball.”

2. On a course renowned for its elevated greens, the elevation change on the 10th hole is among the most dramatic. The short par 4 – 360-yards from the tips - is a scoring hole, but players must avoid a fairway bunker on the left that is approximately 240 yards from the white tees.

Place the tee shot in the middle of the fairway and you will have a decent shot at birdie, but your approach will need to be a soaring one.

3. What’s not to like about a risk-reward par 5 with a pair of oak trees framing the fairway? The 519-yard (from the tips) 13th hole offers a shot at eagle, but drives that don’t find the fairway could lead to a second shot obstructed by an oak tree.

Three bunkers to the left of the green are deep enough bury a small car in, so going for the green in two comes with peril. But who is to say you won’t find the sand on your third shot?!

“You can go for the glory or play it safe,” McCarty said. “To hit your second shot, clear the bunker, and hold the green is quite a difficult shot.”

The payoff is a possible eagle or more likely birdie.

Who takes a Myrtle Beach golf trip to layup?

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More about Shaftsbury Glen Golf Club

Myrtle Beach’s Best Restaurant? Aspen Grille is Near the Top of List

September 05, 2014 by Chris King

Aspen Grille is one of Myrtle Beach's best restaurantsA golf trip to Myrtle Beach is about the area’s 100+ courses and unmatched value. But the Grand Strand is golf’s best destination, in part, because of what the area offers away from the course.

Those off-course attractions begin with 1,500+ restaurants. Identifying the best of the bunch isn’t easy, but there are a handful of restaurants that are at the top of nearly every list, and Aspen Grille is one of them.

Located on 51st Avenue North in the heart of Myrtle Beach, Aspen Grille is located in a non-descript strip of shops – the type of place you wouldn’t find if you didn’t know what you were looking for – but there is nothing pedestrian about the experience.

Executive chef and owner Curry Martin, who worked in Paris and Napa Valley before opening Aspen Grille, has created a restaurant that is sophisticated yet simple, highlighted by a kitchen staff and menu that has few peers.

The appetizer offerings are led by the fried green tomatoes, covered in pecan smoked bacon, Parmesan, and béarnaise sauce, and the local shrimp risotto. If Chef Curry’s signature pork belly appetizer is being offered as a special, don’t ask questions, just order it. You can thank me later.  

There are no wrong answers on the entrée menu, but if there is a better seafood dish in Myrtle Beach than Aspen’s scallops over roasted mushroom risotto, fried spinach and white wine butter sauce, I have yet to have it.

The scallops are always cooked perfectly and the risotto and spinach are nearly as good. The shrimp and grits and local caught fish specials also come highly recommended.

Any of the steak selections and the rack of lamb are good, too, but it’s hard not to order the scallops.

The perfect end to what might be the best meal in Myrtle Beach? The blueberry bread pudding. Even if you’re not a bread pudding fan, give it a try. It’s that good.

The Verdict: If you’ve read this far, you know the answer. At a cost of approximately $30 per entrée, Aspen Grille will not disappoint. Identifying the best restaurant in Myrtle Beach is a nearly impossible task, but the number of establishments that might be as good or better than Aspen Grille can be counted on a couple fingers. Make sure you call ahead for reservations.

Top 5 Reasons to Take a Fall Golf Trip to Myrtle Beach

September 04, 2014 by Chris King

Fall golf in Myrtle Beach is a good timeWhile you enjoy the final days of summer, keep in mind there is still ample time and even more good reasons to plan and book a Myrtle Beach golf trip this fall.

Instead of worrying about the end of your season, here are the top five reasons to take a Myrtle Beach golf trip this autumn.

-- Since we are talking about the weather, fall temperatures in Myrtle Beach are optimal. Long after a chill begins to descend on our friends in the northeast, things remain beautiful along the Grand Strand. The humidity will have retreated and the average high temperature in October is 77 degrees, ideal conditions for golf.

-- Most people don’t enjoy the benefits of a 12-month golf season, so fall represents the end of the golf year. After a summer of play, your game should be in peak form so bring your ‘A’ game to Myrtle Beach and end the season on a high note.

-- Course conditions are picturesque in the fall. The majority of area layouts feature bermudagrass greens, which thrive in the summer heat, leaving them in pristine shape come October. Bentgrass is at its near-perfect best in the fall, thriving in the cooler weather and providing a fast, smooth surface.  You can expect primo conditions.

-- Spring has been and will remain the most popular time for a golf trip, but fall isn’t far behind and will deliver even better value.  Take advantage of Myrtle Beach golf packages that make the trip enjoyable and very affordable.

-- The best reason to take a fall trip? Who doesn’t want to spend several days with buddies playing golf in Myrtle Beach and enjoying the area’s multitude of off-course options? Myrtle Beach always delivers a good time on and off the course.

What are you waiting for? Jump-start the process with a Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday Quick Quote and start planning your trip this fall.

A great time awaits.
 

Golf Tip: How to Improve Your Distance Control on the Greens

September 03, 2014 by Chris King

Distance control when putting is one of the game's most vexing problems. There are few things more frustrating than a 20-foot birdie putt resulting in a tap-in for bogey. Classic Swing Golf School's Ted Frick has the cure for what ails you on the greens - a tip guaranteed to improve your distance control. 

 


Click for Myrtle Beach golf schoolsThese Myrtle Beach golf schools can turn your
golf vacation into a game-changer!

Lower your handicap, fine-tune your advanced skills, or build a solid foundation for a golf game that will serve you for a lifetime. Wouldn't that just be the perfect Myrtle Beach souvenir? Check it out! And, don't forget, you can get these tips by email too!

Big Break Myrtle Beach Cast Members Get THE Call

September 02, 2014 by Chris King

Listen in as the cast of Big Break Myrtle Beach finds out they have been selected to participate in the show, which begins airing on October 7 at 9PM! (More Big Break Myrtle Beach)

 

Dennis Rasku Wins 3-Way Playoff to Capture 2014 Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship

August 29, 2014 by Chris King

Dennis Rasku of Pompano Beach, Fl., made a net birdie (gross par) on the first hole to win a 3-way, sudden death playoff and the World Championship Playoff at 31st annual Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship at Barefoot Resort’s Dye Club.

Rasku, a 9 handicap, Tony Wallace, a 5 handicap from Fayetteville, N.C., and Ben Hamby, a 7 handicap from Winter Springs, Fla., all shot net 72s to get into the playoff. (Complete ResultsDennis Rasku won Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championhship)

Rasku hit his approach to 22 feet and two-putted for par, on the Dye Club 410-yard ninth hole, besting Wallace and Hamby, neither of whom received a stroke on the hole. “From the weather to the World’s Largest 19th Hole, we enjoyed a wonderful week at the Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship,” said Jeff Monday, World Am tournament director. “Congratulations to Dennis on earning the right to call himself World Champion and to our entire field for a great week of golf.”

Mark Gardiner of Mascoutah, Ill., shot a 1-under par 71 to win the World’s Am first Gross Division Championship. Gardiner’s score was the best of the day, net or gross. [COMPLETE WORLD AM COVERAGE]

Additionally, Brazilians Joao Tomazelli and Denis Song Min Cho shot a team total of 155 to win the International Pairs event and earn the right to compete in Scotland next year in the IP World Finals.

The World Championship Playoff is the annual culmination of the Myrtle Beach World Am, a 72-hole net, stroke play event. This year, more than 3,400 players from 48 states and 34 countries vied for the honor of hoisting the victor’s trophy.

Players were arranged into flights according to their handicap and at the conclusion of the four rounds, all flight winners (and ties) advanced to the 18-hole world championship playoff.

The World Am features five competitive divisions, ranging from men and women 49 years-of-age and under to the super seniors, who are 70 years-of-age and older. Players with handicaps as low as three and as high as 34 have won the event.

The weather throughout the week was ideal. The Dye Club, which has been ranked among America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses, was in pristine condition and provided an excellent test of golf for the finals.

The World Am web site www.worldamgolf.com offers a daily glimpse of the tournament with updated standings, news releases and photographs.

The 32nd annual Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship will be held August 31 – Sept. 4, 2015.

Photo Gallery: Day 4 at the Myrtle Beach World Am

August 29, 2014 by Chris King

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Photo Gallery: 31st Annual Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship

August 28, 2014 by Chris King

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Photo Gallery: Win McMurry Lights up the World’s Largest 19th Hole

August 27, 2014 by Chris King

Television personality Win McMurry was at the World's Largest 19th Hole last night as part of the Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship.

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Meet the Cast of Big Break Myrtle Beach

August 26, 2014 by Chris King

The cast of Big Break Myrtle Beach

The cast for Golf Channel’s 22nd season of its popular Big Break reality competition series – Big Break Myrtle Beach – was revealed today, featuring six men and six women hoping to take that next step in their professional golf careers.  They will compete for a grand prize of more than $100,000 in cash and prizes, including an exemption to either the 2015 Valspar Championship on the PGA TOUR or the 2015 Portland Classic on the LPGA Tour.  Big Break Myrtle Beach premieres Tuesday, Oct. 7 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.

Produced in partnership with Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday and South Carolina Tourism and filmed at Barefoot Resort and Golf in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Big Break Myrtle Beach features a cast of 12 who are at different stages in their professional golf careers.  Several are playing full time on the Symetra Tour and various mini tours throughout North America, while others turned professional solely to qualify for Big Break Myrtle Beach. All 12 will compete against each other in hopes of making their lifelong dream of walking the fairways on the PGA TOUR or LPGA Tour a reality.

The contestants are:
Jimmy Brandt (31, Auburn, Ala.) – Competing full time on the mini tour circuit, Brandt accumulated six victories and 16 top-10 finishes on the Hopkins Tour in 2012 and 2013.  Brandt earned conditional status on the Web.com Tour in 2011 and 2012 via PGA TOUR Q School, and is looking to return to golf’s biggest stages.  His father, who introduced him to the game, also is his full-time caddie.

Katie Detlefsen (25, Eagan, Minn.) – One of the top female junior golfers to come out of Minnesota and a recipient of the prestigious Dinah Shore Award in 2010, Detlefsen has been an LPGA Class A Teaching Professional since graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2011.  A college teammate of fellow Big Break Myrtle Beach competitor Carolin Pinegger, Detlefsen is using her teaching skills in pursuing her dream of competing on the LPGA Tour. Detlefsen also was a recipient of the prestigious Dinah Shore Award in 2010, an award given annually to a female collegiate golfer who excels in academics and athletics, while also demonstrating outstanding leadership skills and community service.

Katy Harris (35, Humble, Texas) – A top amateur golfer and All-American at Louisiana State University, Harris hung up her golf clubs following graduation in 2001 due to a hand injury. Nine years later, in 2010, Harris decided to give professional golf another try.  Since returning to competitive golf, she qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open three consecutive years (2011-13), recorded victories on the Cactus Tour, CN Canadian Women’s Tour and the Symetra Tour and earned conditional status on the LPGA Tour for the 2014 season.
Charlie Harrison (23, Atlanta, Ga.) – A graduate from Wake Forest University in 2013, Harrison is currently competing on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica and the mini tour circuit.  He recorded his first victory as a professional in 2013 on the Open Atlanta Golf Tour.

Christian Heavens (25, Orlando, Fla. / East St. Louis, Ill) – An alumnus of the First Tee of Greater St. Louis, Heavens credits golf for saving his life and as an avenue that helped him escape from the pressures of the streets of East St. Louis.  A graduate of Georgetown College in Kentucky where he competed on a First Tee Scholars scholarship, Heavens currently is competing on the mini tour circuit and the Florida Professional Golf Tour.

Dave Markle (29, Shelburne, Ontario, Canada) – One of the top amateur golfers from Canada (12th ranked amateur in the world in the R&A World Amateur Golf Rankings in 2008), Markle is competing on PGA TOUR Canada and the mini tour circuit.  Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2011, Markle is an ambassador for the Canadian Diabetes Association, helping raise awareness and funds for Diabetes research.

Toph Peterson (28, Gilbert, Ariz. / Logan, Utah) – A graduate from Utah State University, Peterson is giving professional golf another push after stepping away from the game to start up a designer walking bag company. He currently is competing full time on various mini tours.

Carolin Pinegger (23, Orlando, Fla. / Schladming, Austria) – One of the more decorated junior golfers out of Austria, Pinegger moved to the United States at age 16 and played college golf at the University of Central Florida (where she was a teammate of fellow Big Break Myrtle Beach competitor Katie Detlefsen).  She turned professional following graduation in 2013 and is competing full time on the Symetra Tour.

Krista Puisite (23, Austin, Texas / Riga, Latvia) – A decorated junior golfer from Latvia where she was a member of the Latvian Junior National Team, Puisite turned professional in early 2014 after graduating from Texas State University. She is competing on the mini tour circuit and the Symetra Tour.

Anthony Quezada (19, Phoenix, Ariz.) – One of the youngest competitors in Big Break series history at age 19, Quezada turned professional in 2013 to achieve his dream of competing on the PGA TOUR.  An alumnus of The First Tee of Phoenix, Quezada recorded 33 victories with the Junior Golf Association of Arizona circuit. He, along with fellow Big Break Myrtle Beach competitor David Markle, has Type I Diabetes, and wants to use golf as a platform to spread awareness for Diabetes research.

Tessa Teachman (24, Baton Rouge, La.) – Currently a member of the Ladies European Tour, Teachman is playing competitive golf in good health for the first time since college at Louisiana State University, where she finished third individually at the 2012 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships as a senior.  Following graduation in 2012, she underwent wrist surgery to repair multiple torn tendons in her right wrist – an injury that plagued her throughout college.  Following rehabilitation, she earned status on the Ladies European Tour in late 2013 and is playing a full schedule on the LET and the mini tour circuit in the United States in 2014.

Emily Tubert (22, Burbank, Calif.) – A three-time All-American at the University of Arkansas, Tubert is competing on Big Break Myrtle Beach fresh off of graduating from college in May.  While she might be one of the younger competitors on the series, on paper she is one of the favorites. Her resume includes: winning the 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship, member of the 2012 U.S. Curtis Cup Team, three-time All-American at the University of Arkansas, and a participant in the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open as an amateur.  Earlier this year, she was the recipient of the prestigious Dinah Shore Award, an award given annually to a female collegiate golfer who excels in academics and athletics, while also demonstrating outstanding leadership skills and community service.

PAIGE MACKENZIE JOINS AS CO-HOST: Serving as co-hosts for Big Break Myrtle Beach will be Tom Abbott and Paige Mackenzie. Mackenzie, a seven-year veteran of the LPGA Tour who also currently serves as a Golf Channel analyst, will make her Big Break co-hosting debut, providing analysis from a player’s perspective and detailing the pressure the competitors will face with each challenge.

GRAND PRIZE: The winner of Big Break Myrtle Beach will receive more than $100,000 in cash and prizes, including:
    •    An exemption to the 2015 Valspar Championship or the 2015 Portland Classic on the LPGA Tour.
    •    $75,000 in cash, including $5,000 courtesy of Dick’s Sporting Goods, $10,000 courtesy of Macanudo and $10,000 courtesy of Adams Golf.
    •    Full, exempt status to the 2015 NGA Pro Golf Tour or the 2015 Symetra Tour with all entry fees paid.
    •    An endorsement contract from Adams Golf.
    •    $10,000 in car rental credit courtesy of Avis Car Rental.
    •    $10,000 in travel credit courtesy of Travelocity.
    •    A seven-day, six-night all-expenses paid return trip to Myrtle Beach with accommodations provided by North Beach Plantation and six rounds of golf that can be played at any of Myrtle Beach’s 100 premiere golf courses.

HOST GOLF COURSES: Filmed on location in June, the series will unfold on three of Barefoot Resort’s award-winning golf courses – The Dye, Fazio and Love Courses – as well as Pawleys Plantation on Pawleys Island.
    •    The Dye Course, a classic Pete Dye layout, has been ranked among the nation’s top 100 public courses by Golf Digest and was recently named 2013 South Carolina Golf Course of the Year by the South Carolina Golf Course Owners Association.
    •    The Fazio Course, designed by renowned architect Tom Fazio, has been ranked as one of America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses by Golf Digest.
    •    The Love Course, designed by Carolina native Davis Love III, has been ranked among America's Top 100 You Can Play by Golf Magazine for years and as the top-ranked golf course in Myrtle Beach by Golf Digest.
    •    Pawleys Plantation, the award-winning Jack Nicklaus design just south of Myrtle Beach on Pawleys Island.

The Marina Inn and Resort at Grande Dunes served as official host resort for the competitors and production team during the filming of the series.

SERIES FORMAT: Golf Channel’s Big Break show concept pits highly skilled golfers against each other in a variety of challenges that test their physical skills and mental toughness.  During Big Break Myrtle Beach, the competitors will be subject to skills challenges from tee-to-green, including the popular “Glass Break” and “Flop Wall.”  One contestant will be eliminated each week, with the last player standing awarded his or her Big Break, an opportunity to compete on the PGA TOUR or LPGA Tour in 2015.

For the past 21 seasons, Golf Channel’s Big Break competition series has proven to be the launching pad for many aspiring professional golfers looking to take that next step in their golf careers, including PGA TOUR winners Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey and Matt Every, and U.S. Solheim Cup participants Kristy McPherson, Gerina Piller and Ryann O’Toole, all playing full time on the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour, respectively.  Several other past Big Break competitors are currently competing on the world’s top tours, including Anya Alvarez, Nicole Smith, Jackie Stoelting and Kim Welch on the LPGA Tour and Tony Finau, Hugo Leon, James Nitties and Mark Silvers on the Web.com Tour.

Big Break Myrtle Beach: Enjoy a Preview of the Fireworks

August 26, 2014 by Chris King

Big Break Myrtle Beach doesn't debut until October 7 at 9 p.m. on Golf Channel but get an early look at the drama-filled season.

 

Photo Gallery: Myrtle Beach World Am, Round 1

August 25, 2014 by Chris King

The first round of the 2014 Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship is in the books! Get a look at some of the action from on the course.

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