Congratulations to our 2014 winner of our Annual Golf Package Giveaway Al Urasek of West Mifflin, PA! The Winds Resort awarded Al with a free 2 night’s stay for two with complimentary rounds of golf each day.
For your chance to win fill out one of our giveaway cards in the Garden Room on your next stay at The Winds or register online on our Golf Website!
Congratulations again to Al, and for those of you who didn’t win this time you can still plan your golf vacation at The Winds, just call Mel O’Daniels at 800-334-3581 or email [email protected]
Myrtle Beach, S.C. is home to the “Grand Strand,” which spans from Brunswick County in North Carolina, to historic Georgetown to the south. Within this stretch of about 70 miles there are more than 100 golf courses, making Myrtle Beach one of the most golf-rich regions in the world.
It also ranks at the top in variety, garnering the nickname, the “supermarket of golf.” Myrtle Beach long ago shed its reputation as a bargain-basement destination and today there are more than a dozen ultra high-end courses ranging from $150-200 in the peak season – still a tremendous bargain versus most other destinations in the world.
Golf Digest has been especially kind to the Grand Strand, ranking 10 of its courses in its “Top 100 You Can Play” list, more than any other destination in America.
The Dunes Golf & Beach Club, located right off the beach, is the area’s most prestigious golf course, while the Barefoot Resort up the road features an all-star foursome of designers on its courses: Dye, Fazio, Love III and Greg Norman. Many of the world’s top architects have at least one design somewhere along the Grand Strand.
The Grand Strand can be divided into three regions: the North and South Strand, and Myrtle Beach itself.
The South Strand begins around Murrells Inlet, a small fishing village home to world-class seafood restaurants along the Marshwalk. It’s also here where the lowcountry comes to life, filled with centuries-old oaks on historic Carolina plantation properties. Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, Pawleys Plantation and the Heritage Club highlight the South Strand.
The North Strand, comprised of North Myrtle Beach to Sunset Beach in North Carolina seemingly has a golf course on every block. Multi-course resorts such as Ocean Ridge Plantation and Sea Trail dazzle, while River’s Edge and Glen Dornoch Waterway Golf Links boast natural, waterfront beauty.
Myrtle Beach itself is home to plenty of golf courses in its own regard, from historic Pine Lakes International, the area’s first course, the Dunes Club nearby, and glamorous Grande Dunes along the Intracoastal Waterway. Myrtle Beach’s main artery, Highway 501, features two multi-course facilities, Legends and Myrtle Beach National, home to the renowned King’s North course.
Climate and golf seasons
You can golf year-round on the Grand Strand, and there are up to a dozen different rate seasons annually for golf courses in Myrtle Beach. While Myrtle Beach is its busiest during the summer months, golf’s peak season ranges from mid-March through the last week of April. At this time, courses are in their best condition, greens are fast and smooth, the azaleas are in full bloom and the weather is perfect.
Courses are their cheapest during the summer. At this time of year, you can find tee times for as low as $35-50 at many of the lower-end courses that charge $70-90 during peak season.
Courses are also very busy during the fall and winter months, filled with sun-starved northeasterners and Canadians – many of whom you’re certain to see on the beach in their swim trunks despite 60-degree highs. There certainly is a season – and a golf course – for everyone in the Grand Strand.
Here’s some tips on a better drive and a better stance from PGA player Alvaro Quiros. Alvaro Quiros, 29, was born in Guardiaro, Spain. He has won six times on the European Tour and is 44th in the World Golf Ranking.
I’ve played golf all my life relying on good hand action. It has helped me become the longest driver on the European Tour in four of the past five seasons. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to understand that depending on my hands to square the clubface and produce a powerful draw is not a consistent way to play. I’ve been working hard on reducing my hand action and using a big body turn to hit the ball not only farther, but also straighter. It’s a good lesson for you, too. If you can focus on body rotation, using your big muscles to create club head speed and square the face, you’re going to drive the ball better than ever. Here are some tips to help you launch it.
KEEP IT SHORT AND TIGHT
I’ve been working on making a more level shoulder turn so my backswing no longer feels long or loose. I want it to feel compact and that everything is tight. If the club gets past parallel–or even to parallel–at the top, that’s a sign my hands are getting too active. That can screw up my timing on the downswing. But instead of worrying about where the shaft is at the top, I’m concentrating on turning back until my stomach and back muscles feel as if they’re really stretched.
My typical miss is a block. The ball flies straight but right of the target. Sometimes during the downswing, my lower body slides toward the target and the club gets trapped behind me, forcing me to save the shot with a handsy release. If I’m too late, it’s a block. I want my hips to rotate, not slide. It’s a feeling of my head staying behind the ball as I put my body weight into the hit. To play a fade, I try to keep the handle of the club pointing at my stomach through impact–everything is turning together
STAND TALLER TO MAKE A BETTER TURN
At address, I’m constantly checking to make sure I’m standing tall to the ball. I look down to see if my hands are hanging too low. If they are, then I’m not giving my chest a chance to turn back wide enough for a powerful hit. That’s when I get handsy, because I try to make up for that loss of width by hinging the club up more with my hands. If I stand taller, I give my swing a chance to get wider.
POST UP LEFT OF YOUR TARGET
It’s wrong to say your chest should be pointing at the target when you finish the swing. I want my chest pointing considerably left of the target. I don’t stop turning until my body won’t turn anymore. If it stopped at any point before that, guess what, my hands would flip the clubface shut and I’d hook it. A complete body turn through the ball allows me to hit a solid fade and take the left side of the course out of play.
For more information or to view the slideshow visit:
The First Tee of Brunswick County will impact, influence and inspire the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that build character and citizenship, instill life-enhancing values, and promote healthy choices through the game of golf and other enduring character-building activities.
Not only does this charity give young boys and girls a chance to experience the game of golf, increase their athletic abilities, and provide a great place for kids, but it also awards scholarships, teaches life lessons, and has proven to help kids stay in school.
- You can make a contribution to our Annual Campaign
- Become a participant or coach’s Sponsor as part of your company’s advertising campaign
- Help secure a participant’s future with The First Tee of Brunswick County Scholarship Fund for members excelling in both life and golf skills development.
- Establish a Gift Matching Program with your employer or neighborhood fundraising organization.
- Invest in our program’s future with a bequested Legacy Gift
First Tee also accepts equipment donations including clubs, balls, and other golf equipment. Donations can be delivered to 445 Tarkln Court, Shallotte, NC 28470.
For more information about the charity or how to help visit their website.
Several top regional golf magazines have recently written articles about golf in the Brunswick Islands of NC. Here are a few excerpts:
“If inland isn’t where you want to stay, The Winds Resort Beach Club on Ocean Isle Beach is a (warm) polar opposite.
Within the resort are one, two, or three bedroom oceanfront suites, which have decks that are pressed right against the Atlantic Ocean.
If you’re traveling with a larger group, then the resort offers four, five, and six bedroom houses which are just steps away from all the amenities that are offered.”
Read the entire article here (starts on page 30): http://www.golfchicagomagazine.com
SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND GOLFER, Aug/Sept 2011
“We stayed at The Winds Resort Beach Club right on the water. Most of the rooms look right out over the Atlantic Ocean about 100 feet away at high tide, and we even managed a swim in the ocean before the excellent buffet breakfast served to all the guests. The Winds has just over 100 rooms and has built some units perfect for golf groups on property. “We have been getting a lot of golf groups staying in those two-floor units that have a big dining room, large-screen televisions and a huge area for hanging out and playing cards,” said Mel O’Daniels, assistant director of marketing. There is also a Tiki bar amidst lush palm trees and dunes near the ocean.”
GOLF PENNSYLVANIA GOLF NORTHEAST, Aug 2011
“Following golf, we stayed overnight at The Winds Resort Beach Club at Ocean Isle Beach, NC. This tropical oasis is situated in the sand dunes of South Brunswick islands, and offers luxurious rooms, suites and beach cottages nestled among the palms and only steps from the surf of the Atlantic Ocean. One gets the feeling of being in the Caribbean when staying at The Winds. The Thirsti Tiki, on the oceanfront pool deck, has the premier view on all of Ocean isle Beach for light dining and beverage enjoyment.
During the summer months, a stay at The Winds will get you free golf at one of those premier Brunswick County golf courses. Guests at The Winds can take advantage of great golf deals and offers plus experience the benefits of the complimentary hot breakfast buffet and relaxation by the sea after a great day of golf. This is a perfect place for groups or couples.
Staying at The Winds during the September and October months is easy on the wallet and for some $99 one receives lodging, breakfast buffet, golf and cart at one of several of the great courses the area has to offer. That price is only $61 during the winter months. Price is $110 for the month of March. For information or to book online go to thewinds.com or call 1-800-334-3581.”
TEE TIMES, August 2011
“The first night we stayed at The Winds Resort Beach Club on beautiful Ocean Isle Beach. Choose a second or third floor room and you will be rewarded with an outstanding view of the magnificent Atlantic Ocean.”
The Maples Course at Sea Trail Resort & Golf Links offers a few touches that give it a unique look on the Grand Strand.
Several moss-draped oaks and pine trees grow in waste bunkers that line a few holes; brick and stone walkways lead the way to tee boxes through waste bunkers; an open cemetery is passed en route to the second tee box; and despite meandering through a heavily developed residential community, the course also has a handful of holes that run along the Calabash Creek.
“I’ve seen waste bunkers with pampas grass growing out of them, but never trees,” said Frances Pritchard of Conway, a member of a foursome that reviewed and rated the course in early December. “It’s a nice addition.”
The Dan Maples layout is not overly demanding in length, measuring 6,797 from the back blue tees and 6,332 from the white. And you shouldn’t lose many balls. Tree-lined fairways rather than hazards account for the course’s biggest challenge.
In addition to Frances, a hostess at Papa’s restaurant who carries a handicap of 28, the foursome included me, Pete Veum, a retired salesman from Myrtle Beach who plays to a 13, and Ed Wydro, another retiree from Little River who plays to an 18. Pete played the back tees, Ed and I the white and Frances the 5,090-yard red. The course also features 6,035-yard gold tees.
“It’s a fair challenge from the white tees,” Ed said. “Under normal circumstances, the average player would have a tough time but a good time. The course makes you think a little bit.”
“Which is a real problem for us,” Pete added.
Over the summer and fall, the Maples Course closed for $500,000 in renovations, and changed its greens from Bermuda to an A1/A4 blended bent grass. Due to the increased speed associated with bent, several green complexes were redesigned to reduce their undulation, though there are still significant mounds, ridges and slopes on most.
“I thought they putted well for only being a month or two old,” said Pete, who has played the course three times. “In the summer, they’ll be very fast. They’re much better than they were before.”
Sea Trail also refurbished bunkers with a light, white sand, and managed to improve air circulation throughout the course without significantly altering the course’s tight, tree-lined characteristic.
“You have to be accurate on the second shots on the par-4s and the third shots on the par-5s,” Pete said. “They all narrow down as you go to the green.”
There are approximately 50 bunkers on the course, but many aren’t in traditional landing areas and greens are generally open in front with no more than two bunkers protecting any of them. The course’s rough is not very penal.
“The rough is not too deep, but it’s high enough to let you know it’s there,” Ed said. “That’s the way it should be for the average player. It’s there, but you can play out of it.”
Because it’s a residential course, out of bounds lurks close to the fairways of many holes. But so do friendly neighbors. A bowl of candy was left at the base of a tree behind a home adjacent to the cart path off the 15th women’s tee box, and was accompanied by a sign wishing everyone a merry Christmas. Pete and Ed abstained, possibly fearing a terrorist scheme, but Frances and I each grabbed a piece. “They’re so skeptical,” Frances said. “Some people are just nice.”
The par-3s are all between 150 and 172 yards from the white tees and 170-198 from the blue tees, and holes 5, 11 and 17 are straightforward with an open entrance to the greens. “The par-3s looked a lot alike,” Pete said.
The third hole is the most distinctive of the par-3s. It features split tee boxes, with the red and gold to the left and blue and white to the right, where a pond to the right of the green comes more into play and a short but wide tree that is growing out of a waste bunker in front of the green must be carried. “It’s a different look,” Ed said.
The course gets much of its yardage from the par-5s, especially from the back tees, where they start at 545 yards and stretch to 575. The one reprieve from the white tees is the 490-yard 12th. Otherwise, they measure between 525 and 553 yards.
The fourth hole is a straightforward par-5, while the sixth is designed for three shots. It features a gradual bend to the right that makes it difficult to get a good angle to the green on the second shot, and a small pond 20 yards from the green on the left side to further deter bold attempts.
The 12th hole has the creek to the left but is open to approach shots and can be reached after a long drive, and the 575-yard 15th has a waste bunker running all the way up the left side to the 150 marker, and another small waste bunker with a dead tree to the front-right of the green.
Though the majority of the doglegs turn to the left, the par-4s offer a variety of yardages and looks. “The course is laid out really nice,” Frances said. “It’s not a humdrum course. Each hole is a little different.”
The diversity of the par-4s is demonstrated in the front nine’s closing holes.
The seventh hole measures 410 from the back tees and 375 from the white. A drive of between 200 and 225 is required to get past the left tree line on the sharp dogleg-left, with an approach shot from 130 yards or less to a green that slopes to the front and back due to a middle ridge.
The dogleg-left eighth is 410 from the blue and 380 from the white, and requires a drive over water through a chute of trees, then approach to a green protected by a pair of bunkers to its right. More of the fairway’s left side is open to drives from the white tees, considerably shortening the hole.
The ninth hole is perhaps the toughest on the course because of its length of 455, 445, 420 and 360 from the four tee boxes, and one of the smaller greens on the course with a large ridge separating its right front and back portions.
The course’s first two holes are short par-4s with Calabash Creek running along the right side of each, and the closing hole is a very birdieable par-4, measuring 410 from the blue, 330 from the white and just 250 from the red, with housing on the left.
By Alan Blondin
The Rees Jones course at Sea Trail is the resort’s most popular course, mainly because golfers want the opportunity to play a tract designed by one of the nation’s most acclaimed architects. Yet, one of its mates, Sea Trail’s Willard Byrd course, is an underrated challenge that is just as popular with many of the people that have played them both.
“The Byrd course since they put the new greens in is great,” said New York resident Tom Capowski, a 5 handicap. “I prefer this actually even over the Jones. It’s very playable for most of the people. I know guys that play here that are 30 handicaps or 15s. It’s playable for everybody. It’s challenging enough. I enjoy it.”
Both the Byrd and Jones courses opened in 1990, and each of them have their own personality and have developed their own following.
“The public all wants to play Rees Jones,” said Tom Plankers, the president of golf at Sea Trail. “The Willard Byrd is more renown for being one of the better Southern courses he’s done. He’s done quite a few in the South, but this is probably one of his better golf courses.”
Sea Trail Resort’s Byrd Course is a prime example of why so many courses on the Grand Strand are replacing bentgrass greens with new ultradwarf Bermudagrasses.
The pine tree-lined Willard Byrd layout that opened in 1990 has been revitalized by the changing of the greens last year from bent to Champion Bermuda.
“The greens are great. They are huge, they don’t have any blemishes and are really true,” said Josh Unger of Myrtle Beach, a student at the Golf Academy of America who took part in a review of the course in late March.
“Any time you can get a green that’s big and relatively flat that is ideal. These greens are big and they have some undulation in them but not too much, and they’ll hold shots and aren’t too hard.”
Joining me and Josh, who carries a 10.4 handicap, in the review foursome were John Hasenstab of Murrells Inlet, a retired educator with a 17 handicap, and Grace Caravello of Conway, a retired Verizon systems analyst with a 24 handicap.
“This course had a tremendous variety of holes,” John said. “There are many very nice holes with scenic aesthetics.”
The course’s yardage of 6,740 doesn’t require a driver off every tee and includes a number of doglegs both right and left. “A variety of clubs can be used off the tee and there’s a high amount of risk-reward,” Josh said.
There is some water on the layout but most of the difficulty stems from bunkers. Both waste and traditional bunkers pinch fairways, and 15 of the 18 greens are protected by multiple bunkers. “The course was very fair with good shots and not overly punitive for bad ones,” John said.
The course’s aesthetics include stone walkways to delineate parking areas at tees and greens, dead trees in some waste bunker areas, a plethora of wildlife including alligators and a variety of birds – there’s an osprey nest on the 18th fairway near the green – and attractive housing, including Charleston-style homes on some holes.
“The course was in great condition,” Josh said. “The manicuring on this course is really nice. They definitely take time and do the work to make it nice.”
Women have a significant advantage on many holes with a total yardage of 4,621 yards. “The par-3s were easy for women and some of the par-4s were short enough to make it in regulation,” Grace said. “The par-5s were short also.”
The driving range has target greens and flags with measured yardages, and there is a chipping green with a bunker.
John enjoyed the tee-time separation of 10 minutes, compared to eight minutes at many clubs, and the policy to start every group on the first tee. “What a pleasant experience it is,” John said. “We didn’t push the group in front of us and we weren’t pushed, and that must be attributed to the 10-minute tee times.”
Grace thought the staff was friendly and helpful and enjoyed the rolling terrain in and around many fairways. “Fairways were hilly and fun to play,” she said.
With combined green and cart fees between $40 and $55 year round, “it’s a great value,” John said.
Josh appreciated the tree-lined layout and detailed yardage book. “It’s very detailed and helped a lot having not played the course before,” Josh said.
There are small hole depictions on the scorecard and yardage books are available for $3, but there weren’t hole depictions on tee boxes. “If we didn’t have the yardage book we would have been lost because there were no hole descriptions at the tee boxes like a lot of courses have, and there are some things you can’t see on the tee box,” Grace said.
The sand was good when abundant in bunkers, but it was inconsistent and thin in spots and had sparse grass growing through some areas. “The bunkers were unkept and irregular in condition,” John said.
Josh thought out-of-bounds stakes created by housing were too close to some fairways, and Grace didn’t believe there was enough selection of women’s clothing in the pro shop.
Par-3 distances are very manageable at between 174 and 202 yards from the tips. The 174-yard second hole measures 167 from the white tee and requires a carry over water to a green that is angled to the back right, slopes to the front and left, and is surrounded by four bunkers, including an expansive bunker to its left.
The 190-yard seventh is 167 from the white and has a drive over a waste bunker decorated with a pair of small dead trees. A mildly rolling green is situated between five bunkers.
The 186-yard 12th measures 163 from the white and requires a drive over a water hazard that extends past the left side of a wide green that contains a couple rolling areas. A bunker covers the entire front of the green and there are smaller bunkers back and back left. “It’s a great par-3 over water with wind factoring in,” John said.
Several bunkers are snuggled around the green of the 202-yard 16th hole, which is 155 from the white.
None of the par-4s were overwhelmingly long, measuring between 368 and 412 yards. “There’s a good variety of par-4s,” John said. “Some were easily reachable in two, some were tough.”
The 387-yard first hole doesn’t require a driver and is somewhat benign, though it has water far left. The 412-yard fifth is straightforward with five deep bunkers protecting the fairway and one protecting the front left of the green.
The 396-yard sixth has a fairly narrow landing area caused by bunkers pinching both sides of the fairway, with the left bunker prominent off the tee. The eighth, 10th and 11th holes are either sharp or slight dogleg rights, the 15th is a sharp dogleg left, and the 404-yard slight dogleg-left 14th has a very narrow landing area for a driver, with water coming into the fairway from the left that is blind from the tee and bunkers on the right.
“They have a nice mix of dogleg lefts and dogleg rights,” Josh said. “There’s a lot of risk-reward from the back tees on the hard dogleg par-4s. You can hit to the dogleg with a hybrid or take on the dogleg with a driver.”
Three of the par-5s measure between 515 and 542 yards, while the final par-5 offers birdie and eagle possibilities. Only one par-5 is more than 495 yards from the white tees. “All the par-5s were fair and scoreable,” John said.
The 525-yard third hole measures 468 from the white tee and features a drive over water to a fairway on the left that must be placed between a pair of fairway bunkers at the turn of a sharp dogleg right. The fairway is a narrow corridor through pines and is rolling with mild mounding on both sides. The green has a mild plateau back right and is protected front and left by one bunker and right by another. “It’s a wonderful hole that requires a good drive and solid approach,” John said.
The 542-yard ninth is 517 from the white and turns slightly left with five bunkers to maneuver beginning deep in the tee shot landing area. The 528-yard 13th is 493 from the white and has bunkers both left and right in the fairway off the tee, and a green-fronting water hazard cutting across the fairway beginning 70 yards from a green that bends around a back left bunker and features a mild ridge through the middle.
The short 469-yard 18th measures 442 from the white and is intimidating in the yardage book with water abound, but the landing area is generous. “Once you get off the tee you’re good to go toward the green,” Josh said.
“All the par-5s were reachable in two good shots, though No. 13 may require a layup short of the water with 80 yards in after that,” Josh said. “They had tight landing areas off the tee with a driver but then the fairways opened up into large bunker-surrounded greens.”
Josh’s favorite hole was the par-4 17th, a 382-yard hole turning slightly right with an elevated tee, water down the left side and a green well-protected by four bunkers. “A good drive will get you around 130 to 140 yards into the green, and the hole is aesthetically pleasing from the tee,” he said.
John enjoyed the par-4 14th, measuring 380 yards from the white tee, because “it required a center drive and punished you left or right.” He also liked the par-5 13th and third holes. “The third, with a drive across water at an angle into rolling hills to a dogleg right, was a great hole,” John said.
Grace liked the par-3 second hole, which measured 106 yards from the red tee and required a short shot over water to the green.
Least favorite holes
Josh’s least favorite hole was the 407-yard par-4 fourth, a sharp dogleg left turning around a waste bunker and tree line. A tree extending beyond the waste bunker on the left side of the fairway forces players to hit a well-placed tee shot of 240 to 270 yards to have a clear shot at the green, and OB lurks on the right. “You really only have about 30 yards to place your ball in the fairway off the tee and have a shot at the green,” Josh said.
John’s least favorite hole was the par-3 16th. “It was the least aesthetically pleasing hole on the course,” he said.
Grace’s least favorite hole was the par-5 13th, which measured 382 yards from the red tee and required about a 60-yard carry over water to reach the green. “I had to go over the water on the fourth shot and couldn’t make it over on the third shot, and I hate having to lay up like that and lose a shot.”
To view Blondin’s blog, Green Reading, or Q&A Forum, Ask Al, go to TheSunNews.com.
Opened in the Fall of 1990, each hole of the Willard Byrd Golf Course at Sea Trail Resort & Golf Links, Sunset Beach, NC is memorable for both beauty and exacting play.
Built around several man-made lakes, each ranging from 14-20 acres, every hole of this par-72 signature course requires a distinctly difference approach. Contact us for additional information or call 800-624-6601 or 910-287-1157. http://www.seatrail.com
Sea Trail Dan Maples Signature Course - Twisted ancient oaks and tall Carolina pines define each hole on the beautiful par 72 course, still regarded as one of Maples finest. This one-of-a-kind course has newly renovated A1/A4 blended Bent grass greens and boasts five holes that wind along the scenic Calabash Creek, home to nesting ospreys and other native wildlife. The course is also peppered with numerous waste bunkers, one of which extends the full length of a fairway. Contact us for additional information or call 800-624-6601 or 910-287-1157. http://www.seatrail.com
Sea Trail Rees Jones Signature Course – The Rees Jones Golf Course at Sea Trail Resort & Golf Links, Sunset Beach, NC, opened in the Spring of 1990 and has become a perennial favorite of visitors and locals alike. Players of all skill levels will enjoy an extraordinary golf experience on this straightforward golf course with typical Jones bounding. Wide fairways and large mounds are surrounded by water, with water coming into play on 11 holes of the Par 72 championship course. In addition to water hazards, the many pot and large expanse bunkers make for a delightfully challenging game of golf. Contact us for additional information or call 800-624-6601 or 910-287-1157. http://www.seatrail.com