SUNSET BEACH, N.C. - Golf and Myrtle Beach go together as sure as a shanked approached shot follows a booming drive. And just as certain of a match is Myrtle Beach and congestion, both on the road and in the shopping centers.
Are you ready to get away from the hustle and bustle of the beach scene? Could you enjoy playing championship golf courses, staying in relaxing fairway villas, eating delicious food, or going for a swim all within a couple of Tiger Woods' tee shots?
If so, then Sea Trail Resort & Golf Links may be your ideal destination.
What began as a 625-acre development in 1977 founded by Brunswick County businessmen Miller Pope, Ed Gore, Paul Dennis, and John Williams has turned into a sprawling 2,000-acre resort that's still growing.
The highlight at Sea Trail is its three golf courses designed by renown designers Rees Jones, Willard Byrd, and Dan Maples. The Maples course opened in 1986, the Jones course followed in the spring of 1990, and the Byrd course began play in the fall of 1990. The three courses combine for about 115,000 rounds per year. Seasonal rates range from $35 to $100, which includes cart. Walking is not allowed.
The Jones and Byrd courses share a clubhouse. There's also a large practice facility and a learning center. The learning center is run by PGA professionals and offers personalized instruction packages and video analysis of your swing. You can get a 15 minute video swing analysis for $10.
But one of the best things about Sea Trail is it's not necessary to be a golfer to enjoy your stay. In fact, golf is only part of Sea Trail's allure. There's most likely something of interest for everyone within the resort's confines.
Some examples are: Indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a kiddie pool, whirlpools and lighted tennis courts. A fitness facility includes stationary bicycles, Treadmills, and weights. Fitness classes are scheduled year round. You can even get a massage. Two restaurants and lounges, three deli bars, banquet facilities, and a convention center that can seat up to 1,200 people are all there for your culinary delight.
You'll also find a variety of attractions if you decide to venture outside of the resort. Tranquil Sunset Beach is a mere five minutes away, excellent seafood restaurants are just down the road in Calabash, and exciting Myrtle Beach is less than 30 minutes away.
While Myrtle Beach offers the "wild life," Sea Trail offers its own form of wildlife. Sea Trail's wildlife is best seen through binoculars. It's easy to see that care has been taken to protect the environment as the development has grown over its 23 years of existence.
Five holes of the Maples course wind along Calabash Creek, which is home to nesting ospreys. The ospreys are enjoyable to watch while perched atop their towers.
While birdies may be tough to come by while playing the golf courses, you'll see plenty around the courses. There are unconfirmed reports of eagles in the area - at least the type that fly. A variety of shorebirds regularly visit Calabash Creek to feed. You may see an alligator sunning himself along the banks at the Byrd and Jones courses. And if you have never seen a fox squirrel, you're in for a treat.
Most of Sea Trail's villas are located along fairways. Each is privately owned. Lodging options range from guest rooms with a bedroom and bath, to villas ranging from one to four bedrooms with fully equipped kitchens. There are also mini-suite efficiencies and deluxe mini-suites. Seasonal rates range from as low as $50 to $97 per night for guest rooms to $223-$385 per night for a four-bedroom villa. The rates do not include golf fees.
Packages that include golf and lodging are available, ranging from as low as $58 per person per night to $112 per person per night. Several other package options are available. Packages also are available to stay at Sea Trail and choose to play from among about 25 other golf courses located nearby. There are also plans available for non-golfing members of a group.
Moderately priced breakfast and lunch buffets are served at Magnolia's, which is at the Jones-Byrd clubhouse. Deli bars at the Jones-Byrd clubhouse and Maples clubhouse serve sandwiches, soups and salads.
The Oasis Pool Bar & Deli serves light lunches near the pool at the resort's Village Activity Center.
Dinner is served Tuesday through Saturday evenings at Tavern on the Tee. Although it's a fine dining atmosphere with a view of the 18th green of the Maples course, casual dress is allowed. The New York strip with marinated mushrooms, house salad, chef's choice of vegetable, and your choice of rice pilaf or potato costs $17.95 and is delicious. The Sea Trail crabcakes pan seared and served with a Cajun remoulade costs $16.95 and is a recommended dish.
Brassie's Bar & Grill, also located in the Maples clubhouse, offers a lighter dinner menu of hot and cold sandwiches, soups, and salads. You won't go wrong with the grilled chicken sandwich on a Kaiser roll for $6.50 or the pasta primavera for $8.95.
The Village Activity Center opened in the summer of 1997. That's where you'll find the pools and fitness facility. Daily activities are planned for children during the summer season and holiday periods. Yoga classes and water aerobics are held year round. The center also has bicycles, which are available at no charge if you're staying at the resort.
The Carolina Conference Center is Sea Trail's newest major addition. It features a large ballroom and several meeting rooms, all which can be adjusted in size according to need. There's also a pavilion available for meetings or banquets. The outdoor gardens behind the conference center have hosted several weddings.
There's a small shopping center and medical facility on resort property. Plans are in place to expand the shopping center and build a planetarium nearby. The shopping center features a grocery store, restaurant, and a toy store.
The toy store, C.E. McCalister, is a must-stop if you have children in your group. The store has several of its toys on display and encourages children to play while adults shop.
Sea Trail has had tremendous growth during its 23 years and there's no sign of development slowing. Land is being cleared for several more multi-unit villas. Homesites also are available to join the more than 400 families that make the resort their year-round home.
Location: Sea Trail is located on N.C. 179. From Myrtle Beach, take U.S. 17 Business through North Myrtle Beach and Little River. Turn right on N.C. 179 and go about five miles.
Sea Trail Resort & Golf Links
211 Clubhouse Road
Sunset Beach, NC 28468