It starts in September. The days stay warm, but the nights begin to cool. Then, the daily high is 65..then 60. The leaves begin to turn, and the panic rises in every golfer’s chest as the season faces its end. Then, November…Cold…Grey…Dark. Americans from the north face a six-month spell of clean golf clubs sitting in the garage. For a true golfer, this is unacceptable. Just as Columbus needed to travel to new lands, just as Lewis and Clark chased the west coast, golf addicts must seek out courses that aren’t covered in frost.
Spoiler alert: The Carolinas are where it’s at.
Come on. The name is synonymous with golf. About 70 miles east of Charlotte, the village of Pinehurst is 100% golf. Don’t expect to do anything other than golf. Just don’t.
While we have all obviously heard the extensive history of Pinehurst No.2, you don’t have to bankrupt yourself playing that one. Pinehurst has nine courses in all, and there are ample packages that can get you lodgings and golf at a good price. One of the key’s here is to not actually stay at the Pinehurst resort. Find one of the less historic hotels, and focus your finances on the golf itself.
Outside of just the Pinehurst courses, the town has multiple options. These include Southern Pines Golf Club, a great and underrated place to play. Another gem is Tobacco Road. This course was designed by Mike Strantz. He was one of the preeminent rising starts in golf course design until he sadly passed away. Take on the modern masterpiece in our Garrison pullover. You’ll look like a champion, even when you shoot 82.
South Carolina Coast
You quite simply cannot, and will not, beat the South Carolina coast if you want to keep golfing through December. The game is a part of life down there, and the number of golf courses at your disposal is staggering. Known simply as the “Golf Capital of the World”, the grand strand has over 80 golf courses. Along the entire South Carolina coast, your options range from cheaper tracks for those looking to play on a budget, to world class courses like the ocean course on Kiawah Island. Be warned, you’re going to empty the wallet on that one.
The combination of golf, ample lodgings, and plenty of nightlife mean that you’ll never regret a golf trip here. The temperatures stay warmer longer than Pinehurst, so you’ll be able to play basically all winter long if you’re willing to bundle up.
Golf courses of note include:
True Blue in Pawleys Island. It’s another Mike Strantz layout; True Blue is wide open off the tee, but requires strategic placement if you want to set yourself up for birdies. The challenging greens are always kept in shape, and require some good touch to play well. They're huge...you'll have at least one 40 foot putt during your round.
On the cheaper side, Arcadian Shores Golf Club is just off the ocean. Nestled in Northern Myrtle Beach, in an area that has manage to stay less developed, Arcadian Shores is an old school layout that will make sure that everyone can have fun playing.
Grand Dunes Golf Club is on the opposite side of the spectrum. It is NOT cheap. It’s a place that creates a cool, touristy experience. If you’re a purist that doesn’t care about the frills and thrills of ritzy “country club” dynamics, this isn’t for you. That said, you’re going to have a lot of fun if you can embrace the experience. It is top quality. Grand Dunes is always on the list of popular golf destinations. Set along the intercoastal waterway, it’s a beautiful place.
Heritage Plantation is without a doubt the most balanced blend of quality course design and Lowcountry style all mixed in one. As you can guess, it’s built on a former rice plantation along the intercoastal. The setting is beautiful beyond all description. The layout is fair, and tee shots are not punishing beyond measure. Nestled amongst 300-year-old Spanish oaks, players have to navigate approach shots that make you think. For any true golfer, that’s one of the best challenges that a golf course can offer you. Of all the courses along the Lowcountry coast, Heritage Plantation and True Blue, offer the best quality golf there is.
The Carolinas have it
While you can certainly find more places to play during the winter months, a golf group simply cannot beat the Carolinas. The number of golf courses condensed into such a small area, make it a dream for those looking to truly play. You can find cheap lodgings, or expensive hotels. Whatever you want your golf trip to be, it’s here.
Aside from golf, the ample food scene and nightlife aren't half bad either.
David Butler. Swannies Fanatic.