It bills itself as the “Seaside Golf Capital of the World” — and rightly so. Myrtle Beach, S.C., boasts more golf holes per person than any other city in the nation.
More than 4.13 million rounds of golf are played each year at the 117 golf courses in the area. And you can bet that a lot of those rounds are played by golfers who are also pilots.
At Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR), more than 50% of the traffic during the “season” is golf-related, according to Mike Marlowe, general manager at Myrtle Beach Aviation. The season, which runs from March to May and again from September to November, brings golfers from all over the country to the the beach town. A lot of those pilots are from the Mid-Atlantic states, but also from up north, including Ohio, New York and New Jersey.
“People get tired of the cold and throw their clubs in their plane and fly in to play a round of golf,” he said.
Most of the pilots arriving at his FBO have already purchased a golf package, which includes accommodations, guaranteed tee-times, carts, meals and more. “The golf packages are a big portion of the area’s business,” Marlowe said. “People will come in, stay three to five days and play a couple of courses every day.”
Most popular destinations for pilots flying in to play golf? “That’s hard to say with over 100 courses,” he said. “But the Dunes, Tidewater, Caledonia and Pawleys Plantation are among the top ones people like to play.”
But don’t worry if you didn’t have time to set up a golf package. Marlowe and his staff cater to golfers who come in on the spur of the moment. The FBO will help you get a rental car, find a hotel and find a last-minute tee-time or package deal. The FBO is also working on putting together packages so that pilots can just make one call to the airport to arrange a golf getaway. That should be in place by March, he promised.
Meanwhile, the airport has literally thousands of brochures packed with discount coupons for everything from golf to hotels and amusement rides.
But Marlowe, who is also a golfer, says buying a golf package before arriving pays off in the end.
“Quite frankly some of the golf packages are cheaper than what I pay to play as a local,” he notes. “There’s really a lot of competition for the golfer’s dollar here. I’ve played all over the country and this is the best bargain anywhere.”
For more information: MyrtleBeachAviation@HorryCounty.org or 843-477-1860.
To find a golf package, type Myrtle Beach Golf Packages into your search engine. There are literally pages and pages of results. Another great resource is the Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, 800-356-3016 or MyrtleBeachInfo.com.