A Summer Guide to Myrtle Beach’s Game: Mini Golf
Mini golf is to Myrtle Beach like hockey is to Canada, or shoving hot dogs down your gullet is to Coney Island. It’s the great American pastime of Myrtle Beach. It’s so famous that there’s a USPMGA (the US Pro Mini Golf Association) training center in North Myrtle Beach for team USA members. So yeah, it’s as big a deal in Myrtle Beach as seafood buffets. If you’re planning on vacationing in Myrtle Beach and you’re not planning on practicing your short game, you’re not doing Myrtle Beach right. You might as well just stay home and watch ‘Who’s Your Caddy’ until your eyeballs dissolve into the back of your head. And even if you don’t plan on going mini golfing, it’s nearly impossible to avoid them if you were actually trying.
Between nearly every beachwear store, you’ll find renderings of ancient Latin American architecture, Cretaceous period beasts and degenerate, treasure-hunting pirates; just some of the themes among the 50+ mini golf courses stretching as far north as the North Carolina border. For those planning on going to a mini golf course in the near future, there are some precautions to take and issues to consider before entering the world of Myrtle Beach’s game. To save you the blood, sweat and tears–I can’t promise you the latter two–here’s a quick guide to putting above the rest:
When to go
There’s one factor that goes into playing mini golf in Myrtle Beach (just like every other attraction in the area): the weather. Nearly all mini golf courses in Myrtle Beach are outdoor courses (I believe only one has its own indoor course). When the weather is clear, it’s time to putt. But during Myrtle Beach’s swampy summer months, the wait times and the temps are much higher. Which is why the best time to go mini golfing is in the evening. The sun is setting, so the heat beaming from the sky is no longer making your clothes stick to your body like a wetsuit. Unfortunately, most people have realized that the day is usually cooler in the evening than during the afternoon, so wait times could be a bit longer. This leads straight into our next group:
Depending on the time of day, lines could be long, and the amount of people in a group may depend on how long it takes you to get through an entire round of golf. Patience is key. Mini golf was made for families, but there’s always the party of 15 that starts the initial clog in the drain. If you’re part of that family reunion group, letting the couple or single family behind you skip ahead is a gracious gesture. It’s also a smart idea to have water with you, either to drink or to pour over your children’s desiccating bodies. Lathering up in sunscreen isn’t such a bad idea either.
Channel your inner Chubbs Peterson
I worked at a mini golf course in Myrtle Beach after my freshman year of high school, and the amount of times I had to actually fish out poorly struck golf balls from the depths of a black pond was physically and mentally scarring. I was never the same again…
I’m not saying everyone’s cocking their elbows back like they’re swinging for a green jacket, but understanding the dynamics of mini golf is crucial. There are bumps, turns, dips and obstacles at every course. Be one with the course. If you know that the slope is turning right, there’s no reason to bean the ball even farther right into a bed of rocks. This is also a good time to make sure the younger ones in your group aren’t swinging the putter like a Wii remote. It’ll keep those poor ball boys out of the abyss and your game moving along smoothly.
Enjoy the scenery
Why do you go to a specific mini golf course? For the looks, of course. Who wouldn’t want to play during a dinosaur outbreak? Or at a castle with a trash-talking dragon? And there are SO MANY to choose from. If you mixed all of the mini-golf courses of Myrtle Beach in a giant bowl, you’d create a posthumous Roald Dahl novel, with hints of Treasure Island. Posed photo-ops are perfectly fine, just be courteous to the sweaty group behind you. Some courses even have multiple courses or all-day play prices, which are the best bang for your mini-golfing dollars.
The gift shop
Some miniature golf courses have their own gift shop. You’ll most likely run your gamut of glassware filled with sand, plastic magnets filled with sand and generic sea shells filled with sand. This is usually dependent on the golf course you’re at but you can expect a smaller version of your hotel’s gift store. Chances are they also sell drinks/ice cream/snacks, so once the sun draws all of the moisture out of your family’s bodies like raisins, you can rely on the gift shop to IV you back to life, which is nice.