Myrtle Beach, S.C. Golf Courses Prepare For Vacationers Seeking Warm Weather, Lush Fairways And Smooth Greens

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Tiger Woods is on a mission to break more records. He's matched Ben Hogan's record of 64 wins on the PGA TOUR and is just a few victories away from eclipsing the 73 wins owned by Jack Nicklaus. Golf's most revered course, Augusta National, is being readied to host The Masters. For many golfers this starts the beginning of their golf season. Some places in the U.S. and Canada are still shivering in the icy cold -- all the more reason to pack your bags and head for the warmth and hospitality of America's golf capital, Myrtle Beach, S.C. Whether piling in the car with buddies or hopping a flight, golfers can be teeing off on one of Myrtle Beach's hundreds of golf holes within a few hours. And, it won't cost an arm and leg to play them either.

Visitors often say Myrtle Beach golf is world-class, fun and easy to get to, many of those folks will also say that the golf courses are very affordable. No other spot on the East Coast offers so many high quality golf courses matched up with such excellent accommodations. Not bad for a destination best known for beach vacations.

Myrtle Beach actually has more than 100 golf courses and, in 2008, Golf Digest ranked 10 of them among the "Top 100 Public Courses In America." Digest readers also gave 36 more courses an incredible four or more stars (out of five). Sixty miles of shoreline, plus the abundance of nightlife, shopping and dining options that range from fast and delicious to sophisticated and gourmet, all set the stage for a great vacation in Myrtle Beach.

First up, is the choice of accommodations. How about total immersion in golf at a "stay and play" resort?

Let's look at some top picks.

About 25 minutes north of the center of Myrtle Beach, is one of the Grand Strand's best "stay and play" experiences at Sea Trail Golf Resort & Convention Center in Sunset Beach, N.C. This 2000-acre resort has three championship courses and is known for its easygoing southern style. Golf amenities include practice greens, a lighted driving range, a Custom Clubs Store and a PGA-sanctioned Golf Learning Center. Visitors also have access to a Village Activity Center with indoor and outdoor pools, whirlpools, and a licensed massage therapist. Accommodations are in beautiful, Carolina-style villas that feature panoramic views of the golf courses and lakes.

If breaking away for a true vacation is not an option, convince the boss that Sea Trail should be the next pick for your company's executive retreat or conference. You'll get to enjoy the golf, plus come out looking like a champ for finding this great place. With over 60,000 square feet of meeting and function space, Sea Trail can handle all kinds of meetings.

To learn more about Sea Trail, go online to http://www.seatrail.com or call 888-675-9237.

Just a few miles from the center of Myrtle Beach, the Village at the Glens sits overlooking the spectacular, award-winning Heather Glen Golf Links. Looking for a taste of Scotland? Then this is the place.

The Village is run by the prestigious Glens Golf Group, so it is a perfect home base for a four-day tour of all the Glens courses -- Heather Glen, Glen Dornoch, Possum Trot and Shaftesbury Glen.

Voted the "Best New Course" in America when it opened two decades ago, the flagship of The Glens Golf Group golf courses, Heather Glen, sits on a magnificent, 400-acre historic site in Little River, S.C. Across the street from Heather Glen is Glen Dornoch Waterway Golf Links -- often referred to as "Myrtle Beach's Most Talked About Course" in part because of its extraordinary views of the Intracoastal Waterway. Nearby Possum Trot is known as the "Friendliest Course On The Beach" and its Old English design features spacious fairways, challenging par 5's, and flawlessly manicured greens. Inspired by world-famous courses like Winged Foot and Augusta National, Shaftesbury Glen Golf & Fish Club is located on the banks of South Carolina's beautiful Waccamaw River.

Find out more at http://www.glensgolfvacations.com or http://www.glensgolfgroup.com. You can even book your golf vacation online with just a few clicks of the mouse.

For those who enjoy a little Charleston-style elegance with golf, head for the Carolina Lowcountry and Pawleys Plantation on the southern tip of the Grand Strand. This is a place that drips with the Southern charm of Kiawah and the casual elegance of Hilton Head -- but without the high price tags. It even delivers five-star gourmet dining at a three-star price, with dishes prepared by a head chef who was recently named "Grand Champion" at an American Culinary Federation competition.

At Pawleys Plantation, visitors will find fairways lined with massive 200-year-old moss-draped live oaks. There are egret and heron rookeries and greens backed by glorious multi-colored salt marshes. The resort's Jack Nicklaus signature golf course is ranked among the top 50 in the state by no less than the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel, a group of 125 golfers who must play and rate the 380 courses in the state.

Golfers looking to launch into spring like Tiger Woods should check out the on-site Phil Ritson-Mel Sole Golf School (one of the Top 25 in the U.S.), which is headquartered there. You'll be surprised to discover how affordable a great golf school can be; the management sets its tuition rates significantly lower than other top schools so that the school is accessible to even the budget-minded.

Accommodations at Pawleys Plantation are in Lowcountry style villas that line the Nicklaus course. Perfect for small meetings and executive retreats, the resort also offers one of the nicest small conference centers on the East Coast.

Learn more at http://www.pawleysplantation.com or call 800-367-9959.

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Jamie Wilburn

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