CHARLOTTE, N.C - Every once in a while, you time it right. The sun is coming up over the marshes of the Intracoastal Waterway, the fog is lifting up over the Live Oaks and the pines, and the first tee is waiting with a thin coat of dew that is interrupted only by the intrusion of the morning's first soft spike.
Your golf trip to Myrtle Beach is about to begin, and only you know where it will end.
If you are playing Tidewater, the starter may be waiting with some toasted cinnamon almonds and a five-minute dissertation on pin placements before you head out to play one of the beach's most highly rated golf courses.
If you are playing at the Caledonia Golf and Fish Club down in Pawleys Island, you may grab a cup of fish stew before you even pull out your driver on Mike Strantz's south Strand masterpiece.
If you are playing at Arcadian Shores, Robbers Roost, or one of the classic older venues in the heart of Myrtle and North Myrtle Beach, you can see hundreds of fellow golfers with a cold beverage in hand, and replays on their mind.
Knocking it around in the Grand Strand has become one of the most unique golfing experiences in the United States, one that has produced its own lexicon, its own culture, and its own idiosyncrasies.
Did you actually know what double teeing was until your first visit to the beach? How about a replay? How is it you can stay in one hotel, golf in 10 different places, and pay for it all through one vendor?
And like a good golf hole, there are two ways to play Myrtle Beach. You can layup by selecting affordable golf courses and accommodations, and chow down at one of the beach's myriad of all-you-eat joints.
Or, you can go for the green in two by playing the region's sampling of high-end courses, bedding down in one of its finest golf villas, and springing for an elegant seafood dinner with a view.
Choices and good times. Isn't that what golf and travel is all about?
Maybe golfing in Myrtle Beach is the furthest thing from your mind. Maybe the finely manicured fairways of Scottsdale await your visit, or the striking desert courses of Palm Springs.
Perhaps you love golfing in the Carolinas, but prefer the posh low country courses of Hilton Head and Charleston to the maniacally busy fairways of the Grand Strand.
Are you old school? Pinehurst, the birthplace of public golf in the U.S. awaits just a solid 3-wood away from the plantation courses of the coast.
Florida, Las Vegas, Texas, California, Michigan ... if you play the game and love nothing more than to throw your clubs in the back of the car or the bottom of an airplane, you've found a home.
No Internet publication ... check that ... no publication, period, can take you inside the world's myriad of golfing destinations like TravelGolf.com. That is why I am here, and I hope that is why you are here.
Over the past five years, we've helped you select the courses for that annual golf trip to Myrtle Beach. We've helped you plan that three-day weekend golf gorge to Scottsdale, and that two-week vacation to Portugal.
But we just don't leave it at that. Our writers have hand picked restaurants and lodging to complement your experience on the links. We've tested all the latest golf equipment, read all the best selling golf books, and we've passed our experiences on to you.
We've even attended over 20 PGA golf tournaments this season, reporting on the surrounding area's travel and golf options, all while keeping you informed of breaking tournament news.
And we're not stopping there.
We have new and improved course guides for all our coverage areas.
If you want to read about an area, study up on its golf courses and accommodations, and then book your trip within a matter of minutes, we offer a plethora of regional based travel desks with the most affordable golf packages available.
And soon, this content and these services will be packaged in a new online format that is easier to read, surf, and load in your browser.
So sit back and enjoy. We don't condone surfing through our hundreds of pages of golf and travel content from you desk at work, but we don't discourage it either.
Happy traveling, and hit them straight.