• Announcements

    • iacas

      Introducing TST "Clubs!"   08/28/2017

      No, we're not getting into the equipment business, but we do have "clubs" here on TST now. Groups. Check them out here:
Sign in to follow this  

Need Help Planning an April Golf Trip

Recommended Posts

A buddy and myself are looking to spend 3 days golfing during the last week of April. We plan on using Sunday 4/25 as a travel day and playing as much golf as we can on 4/26 and 4/27 before heading out after a morning 18 on 4/28. Our budget is $500 for hotel + golf. We don't get to play a lot of golf these days so we'd like to make this a memorable trip. Looking to find out where we can get the best bang for our buck. We're from Cleveland, OH, so places within 12 hours driving distance are preferable. I suppose we could fly somewhere and play some golf too, but we're a couple years removed from being able to rent a car without the extra fees.

I've been lurking around this forum doing some research. Here are some places I'm considering:

1.) RTJ Trail in Alabama.

This is our first choice, but with $64 greens fees (tack on $16 for carts), we'd have a hard time squeezing in 4 rounds and staying within our budget. Are there other good value public courses in Alabama that we should consider? Maybe instead of playing solely RTJ coures we can mix it up to save a bit?

2.) Myrtle Beach

I know Myrtle Beach is this golf mecca. I've never been there before, but I've heard mixed reviews. It seems like there are some good tracks and others that are really run down. Looking at websites online, the area just screams "tourist-trap" to me for some reason. That and I just get the feeling that it will be awfully crowded and I'll have to put up with 5 hour rounds, especially since we're traveling during peak season. I'd prefer somewhere quiet and scenic; however, with so many top ranked public courses in one area I can't ignore it. Seems like the best values would come with staying for an extended period (as in 3 nights or more). On the positive side, unlike RTJ the course density is greater which would minimize drive time and money spent on gas. Thoughts?

3.) Pinhurst/Sandhills

Home of golf and all, but outside of the Pinehurst Resort courses and Pine Hills, how are the other courses? It seems like I can get a 3 night 4 round package for 350 or so, which would be perfect. However, this obviously won't include the ritzy courses. Which courses here provide the best value? I like the fact that it's a historic area and it offers some tranquility and great scenery.

4.) Santee, SC

Seems like there are some solid courses here for very cheap. Would any of these courses be memorable, or is this merely a destination where one goes for quantity over quality? I would hate to drive for over 10 hours only to play tracks that I can play here in NE Ohio in the summer.

5.) Williamsburg, VA

Looks like there are some nice courses here. One of the nice things about VA is it is closer to home. It is a bit further north than the other areas I'm considering so I'm not sure if weather will be an issue (seems like averages during April are in the low 70s so I'm guessing not). Any experience with golf in this area?

So, if you had $500 dollars to spend on golf + lodging in late April and you were looking to get in at least 4 rounds of golf over a 3 day period where would you go?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sign up (or log in) today! It's free (and you won't see this ad anymore)!

Sign up (or log in) today! It's free (and you won't see this ad anymore)!

It will be difficult to play 5 rounds with carts and hotel and keep it under $500 at any of the places you've listed and end up playing tracks better than what you can play in Ohio. Here are a few suggestions for five great rounds and lodging and possibly stay within budget. You can price them and then decide which best fits your needs.

1. RTJ Trail - I'd stay at Capitol Hill in Pratville, about a 12 hour drive from Cleveland. There are three courses and lodging on-site, the Judge, the Senator and the Legislator . I'd play the Legislator and the Senator your first day and the Judge your last day, as it is the best pof these three excellent courses. On your middle day I'd play the courses at Cambrian Ridge which is about 40 minutes South of Prattville. Cambrian Ridge has 27 Championship Holes and a par 3 course. These are among the best courses on the RTJ trail.

2. Myrtle Beach - About 11 hour drive from Cleveland - Don't let the "touristy" reputation of MB deter you. I've played more than 500 courses in the US, UK and Canada and MB has some excellent courses. The problem for you is that April is peak season and can be expensive to play the best ones. You may be able to stay on budget by playing copurses that are operated by the same company. The Legends group is currently running some great deals. They have five top notch courses; Moorland, Parkland, Heathland, Heritage and Oyster Bay and they have nice condos on site as well as an excellent practice area and clubhouse. They have been running deals that include breakfast, lunch and two beers each day. I think this is a great "bang for the buck".

3. Pinehills/Sandhills - about 9 hours from Cleveland - This may be more expensive than the others for comaparable courses. The courses at Pinhurst Resort will blow your budget by a lot. These may too, but you should check out, Pine Needles, Mid-Pines, Southern Pines, Tot Hill Farm and Tobbaco Road.

4. Willimasburg - about 9 hours from Cleveland - The best courses in Willimasburg will blow your budget. However, you can play courses in Virginia on your drive to and from Willimasburg. You should look into the following courses: Stonewall, Augustine, Cannon Ridge, Hunting Hawk, Independence, Royal New Kent and the Golden Horseshoe Gold Course at Colonial Williamsburg. The Gold course is expensive, but worth it. Any five of these are memorable, but they are not all close together so will require some driving, but if you do one on the way in and one on the way out you can map it out to work.

5 - Never played in Santee.

Any of the courses listed will be memorable. I have a feeling the Legends courses at MB will be the most convenient and best value. Post what you decide and report after you play.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing I noticed about Myrtle Beach is they don't let you walk.

I've been able to walk on most of the Southern Pines and RTJ Trail courses. Most people take carts everywhere you go, but it's nice to have the option to walk after sitting in a car for a long time.

Another thing I like about Southern Pines is the area is not as overdeveloped and courses are pretty close together unless you're going to Tobacco or Tot.

That said, MB has the best selection, but for a short trip, SP will be more than enough.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Check into the Legends in MB.

For your time period you can get a 3 night 3 round package, with breakfast, lunch and 2 beers, cart ,taxes for $390. Not sure of the replay rate at that time of year but I would think no more than $50 or $60. You can stay on the Legends property and if you play the 3 Legends courses you will have no travel time. That area is also not in the tourist trap area you are worried about.

The Glens Group [Glen Dornoch (very nice), Heather Glen (27 holes and underrated IMO), Shaftesbury Glen (always in top condition), Possum Trot (avoid) ] is also offering a good deal.
3 nights/ 3 rounds/ 3 free replays for $438 all in.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, we just got back from our golf trip. Thank you to everyone who posted. Special thanks to Sabram.

We ended up doing RTJ because we felt that it would offer a greater diversity of courses (i.e. elevation changes, scenery, layout) than what Myrtle Beach would offer. We also wanted to experience golf in a more secluded location. RTJ fit the bill.

While we originally wanted to do 5 courses, we ended up doing 4 courses + a 9 hole short course for under $250. Following Sabram's advice, we made Prattville our base for the trip. We drove down on Sunday, and played our first 27 at Cambrian Ridge (18 Canyon/Sherling, 9 on the short course) starting Monday afternoon. On Tuesday we played the Judge in the morning, and The Legislator in the afternoon. On Wednesday we played The Senator before hitting the road back to Cleveland.

The golf was very memorable, the trip was a blast. We will be sure to do it again--maybe with more people next time.

Some thoughts regarding the golf:

Cambrian Ridge
My favorite 18 was at Cambrian Ridge. I loved the elevation changes, the layout, and the fact that it is in a very secluded location. We played the tips which proved to be extremely difficult, but still enjoyable. What made the day challenging was the 30 mph wind gusts that we had to battle. If you do get out to Cambrian Ridge, do check out the 9 hole short course. It offers an excellent array of par 3s for a great price ($9 if you play 18 the same day).

The Judge
The Judge is a beast. We ended up playing the Oranges which proved to be plenty long and difficult for us (12 handicap). Honestly, apart from the a few of the par 3s and the first hole, none of the other holes "wowed" me. All in all, it was very good golf. It reminded me a lot of Florida golf, but excessively penal IMO.

The Legislator
This course was tons of fun to play. The two 9s are like night and day. The front nine is more open while the back 9 offers serious elevation changes and plays much tighter. Of all the courses we played, I probably had the most fun playing this one.

The Senator
A great links style course. Lots of fun. It's the type of course where you can really get away with spraying the ball off the tee (within reason that is). Definitely not as penal as the other RTJ courses we played.

If anyone does decide to head down to Pratville, I recommend staying at the Jameson Inn if you're looking for a great value hotel. It is much cheaper than the lodging on site. While not as luxurious I"m sure, it is clean and offers the essentials. We were able to do golf + lodging for under $450/person. Excellent value. Also, to any fellow northerners heading down south for golf: the 70 mph speed limit is wonderful, but do watch out for unmarked police vehicles. A radar detector comes in handy.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

You made my day with your detailed trip report. I'm glad you had a great trip. You played some excellent courses. I especially love Cambrian Ridge. Also great pix! Thanks for posting. They brought back memories of my own trip to the trail.

PS my Mom's family is from Cleveland and I spent all of my vacations there when I was growing up.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey guys,

I know this is too late now but me and my friends booked a Doral trip with My Golf Concierge back in June, they literally do everything for you so all you have to do is turn up. Plus it was really cheap! Check them out next time you are planning a trip :)


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

  • Want to join this community?

    We'd love to have you!

    Sign Up
  • 2017 TST Partners

    Talamore Golf Resort
    PING Golf
    FlightScope Mevo
    Mission Belt
    Snell Golf
    Frogger Golf
    PitchFix USA
  • Posts

    • (In a place where winter exists, we might get snow on Thursday) EDIT: Or have you moved away from Florida? If so, then I take it back.
    • Yup! Feels like Fall/Winter is finally upon us! Could have used a little more Summer, but I actually love Fall golf. As long as it's not too soggy!
    • I think I'd rather sweat my butt off rather than have a cramp in my back! I got cramps in my lower back many, many years ago. I couldn't sit down, lay down, stand up, or do anything! It was pure agony! Give me sweating anytime! At least I can move when I sweat.
    • My review/write up of the round at Pinehurst #2. Overall, Pinehurst #2 is a fantastic experience and one that I would recommend for any serious golfer. The course is incredible. The atmosphere is great, too, with people watching you tee off on 1 and finishing on 18. We got to Pinehurst about an hour and a half before our tee time. Found the pro shop after wandering down the memorabilia hallway, including the Payne Stewart stuff from 1999. The pro shop could put a Golf Galaxy to shame with the selection of merchandise it had. You name it, the shop had the Pinehurst logo on it. It took a herculean effort to avoid buying everything in the damn store, because it was impressive. Ended up with a ball mark, a hat, and a yardage book. Bullet dodged. (You're going to be a great dad!) (1999 US Open winning putt) (Trophy Case) We go out to the driving range, and fog is rolling in. We were hoping it would lift before our round started, but it gave the place a cool, eerie vibe to it. After playing around with the FlightScope Mevo at the range a bit, we headed out to the tee. (Looking out from the pro shop, driving range is behind that building) (Looking back at the clubhouse from the practice green) We played in a cart. It was cart path only. Your options are to either take a cart or take a caddy and walk. You cannot walk the course carrying your own bag. We took the cart because we didn’t want to spend the extra $60 plus tip on the caddy. In hindsight, I would recommend taking a caddy. I ended up walking down the fairway on quite a few holes just to soak in the experience more. Having a caddy isn’t my favorite thing in the world, but I would put up with it next time. Plus, the extra $60 isn’t much when considering the greens fee. We started on the 10th hole, which is a 580 yard par 5. And the fog hadn’t lifted yet, so we weren’t sure where exactly to hit to. But it lifted when we got to the tee box on 11, so it didn’t matter much. Teeing off on 10 was fine, but it was a little anti-climactic to end on 9 instead of 18. On the other hand, I thought the front 9 was better than the back 9. (Number 10 tee, with fog) I don’t really want to go through the course hole by hole, or bore you with how many bunkers I was in and how much my short game sucked. I’ll give general thoughts and highlight a hole or two that I liked. Before getting to that, let’s get this out here: I played like crap. But I want to come back and play that course again, and if I’m ever near Pinehurst again, I will go out of my way to play it. It was awesome. The only other US Open course I’ve played is Torrey Pines, and Pinehurst #2 blows Torrey out of the water. Anyways, I ended up shooting a 95 and only hitting 5 GIR. I also had 34 putts. I had one lost ball. That doesn’t make add up, you say. Well, read on… The course is amazing. It is wide off the tee, and there’s not really much danger off the tee, except finding your ball in a tuft of wispy grass. I hit 11 of 14 fairways. Ask anybody who played with me at the Newport Cup – I’m not that consistent off the tee. It was a slightly better day that usual for me on that, but the fairways were still very generous. If you missed the fairway, you were in a sandy waste area that I’m sure you all remember from the US Open. Generally, you would catch a good lie in these areas. Unless you found the wispy long grass there, which I did once. I was almost completely stymied by it and ended up just having to whack at it and hope I got a better lie with my next shot. (In the wispy grass. The green direction is the top of the photo. Not really many options here.) The greens themselves aren’t actually too hard. They are domed/turtlebacked and are quite intimidating from the fairway. They look really small, although I didn’t think they were all that small when you get up there. When you get on the green, putting isn’t that bad. We estimated they were running about a 12. Mid-South supposedly ran at an 11 when played there in the Newport Cup, and these greens were noticeably faster. They aren’t tiered or anything like that. Just sloped. Like ski slopes.   That said, these greens make the course difficult. If you miss the green in the wrong spot, bogey is the best you can do, and you’ll make a lot of double bogeys. If you are in the wrong bunker, you are completely screwed. I ended up in 8 bunkers – without hitting a single fairway bunker. Twice I went from one bunker to another around the green. I easily lost 10 strokes because of bunkers. The mistake I made was in attacking too many flags from the bunkers instead of playing to the center of the green. If you’re not a superb sand player, ignore the flag. I want to go back and make myself play just onto the center of the green from the greenside sand, because I would easily be in the 80s if I did that. If you’re not in a greenside bunker but you miss the green, you have options. There’s no rough on the course, so you can putt almost everything. Which I did, but my putting sucks, so it didn’t work as well as it should have. But you can generally putt, pitch, or chip from almost anywhere around the greens. Getting the speed right is the difficult part. I never flew a green, but it looked like beyond the greens is dead. I came up short several times, which was where your miss needed to be on most holes. I generally hit the ball like crap on approaches, with some exceptions. I was mentally and physically spent from the Newport Cup, I think. My irons were 20 yards shorter than the day before. My decision making was, well, non-existent. And this is a course that demands precision when approaching the greens. Not the greatest formula. With that out of the way, onto the holes. I want to highlight a few cool ones. 18 was my favorite. The setting was so cool, with the clubhouse in the background and people watching you play around the green. Selecting a good line off the tee was key – right side of the fairway yields a shorter approach and more fairway to work with. I managed to find the right side of the fairway off the tee. I then got one of our playing partners to take some pictures of me hitting my approach, and the pictures are so cool. 18 was the Payne Stewart pin position when we played it, and I roped a 7 iron to about 25 feet. There was a crowd, and they would applaud good shots around the green. With the clubhouse there, it was astonishing. (Addressing the ball on 18) (Backswing complete on 18) (Follow through on 18. This photo gives me goosebumps, and that shot was pure.) 4 and 5 were visually stunning as well. 4 is a long par 4 that winds around and into a little low spot on the course. It’s the most remote part of the course, surrounded by some trees and multimillion-dollar homes. 5 plays back up the hill as a par 5, and it’s visually tricky. It looks like your line from the tee is the left side, but that brings a fairway bunker and the waste area into play. You cannot see the extent of the waste area from the tee. You want to favor the left side to get a shorter shot into the green, because it’s a reachable par 5. That brings the waste area and the lottery of getting a good lie in it into play. (Looking back on the 5th green. You can sort of see how domed the greens are.) Finally, the par 3s are monsters. They all played over 160, and those menacing greens make the tee shots a lot more difficult than they should be. Phil and I both hit the longest one in regulation, which was awesome. My tee shot hit the front of the green and was about 2 feet from rolling off the back because of the slope. That gives you an idea of how firm and severe the greens are. (My birdie putt on 6, which was playing at 205)   (Video of @phillyk's birdie putt on 6; he made par)   (Video of my birdie putt on 6 ... three putted) Some course pictures: (View up the first fairway, from the second tee box) (View up the 8th fairway) (View back down the fairway on hole 8 from the green) (Looking up the 13th hole from the tee) I will swallow my pride and admit that I played the wrong tees. We played the tips, which were 6900 yards. While I never had an issue of reaching the greens in regulation, I didn’t have a single wedge into a par 4 green. Like I said, I was mentally and physically spent from the Newport Cup, so I think playing a box up would have been more enjoyable. If I go back, I will play from the middle tees, which are about 6300 yards. I’ll have a lot more fun with the occasional wedge rather than the constant 6 irons I was hitting. By the way, I cannot fathom shooting a 65 from nearly 7600 like Martin Kaymer did at the US Open. This course is demanding, and it’s hard to believe that 65 could be had out there. I’m not an excellent golfer, but I’m an okay stick. The gap between me and him is a chasm that’s 50 miles wide and 10 miles deep. Do I have complaints? Two minor ones. First, it was less penal to go further offline off the tee. The long wispy grass came into play if you were still close to the fairway, but if you went way off line and ended up under a tree, you were going to get a better lie because there was only pinestraw there. I don’t like really bad misses getting penalized less than average misses. Also, the greenside sand was inconsistent. Some bunkers were like playing out of concrete. I hit a couple of sand shots expecting there to be sand and there was none (in full disclosure, there was a “local rule” that said the bunkers weren’t actually bunkers, but I played them like bunkers). Ultimately, hit the generous fairways and avoid the bunkers, and it isn’t an issue. These are minor quibbles.  We ended the round and went into the pro shop again. We then walked around outside for a little bit, taking some pictures in front of the Payne Stewart statue. We then had to leave pretty quickly to get to the airport. It would have been nice to stay a bit and have a beer while watching golfers come in. But that’s just a reason to come back… (Me at the Payne Stewart statue)
  • Blog Entries

  • Today's Birthdays

    1. Covert
      (74 years old)
    2. opie
      (40 years old)
    3. Robert Diddings
      Robert Diddings
      (33 years old)
  • Get Great Gear with Amazon