The Myrtle Beach World Amateur is a truly international event, as shown by the flags decorating the Myrtle Beach Civic Center during last year’s event. With over 3,000 entrants expected again the World Am is scheduled for its 37th staging in August.


Rory Spears and Len Ziehm are combining efforts on golf travel destinations they’ve visited over the years. This one is on Myrtle Beach, S.C.

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Golf courses here – and there’s about 100 of them – are ready for players, and they have been for quite awhile. This is what we’ve been told as April winds down.

The courses are open. Over 18 of them overseeded wall-to-wall – fairways, tees, greens and rough. The other 73 overseeded everything but the rough.

Said one long-term Myrtle Beach golf booster: “We had a real mild winter and a beautiful March – the March we’ve been waiting for. Everything is in spectacular condition.’’

Yes, hotels are still restricted to short-term rentals and can’t take reservations through April 30. Restaurants are closed, but curb-side pickup and carryouts are readily available. The hopes and expectations in Myrtle Beach are for that to change in early May – ideally very early May, or mid-May at the latest.

Restrictions now include one person per cart, but people are allowed to walk at many of the Myrtle Beach courses.

I’ve played in the Myrtle Beach World Amateur twice and am awaiting my third appearance in a few months.

Lots of travel-minded golfers consider Myrtle a home away from home. There’s so many great options available, complete with prices that can fit most budgets.

The younger member of our team tabs the Greg Norman Course at Barefoot Resort one of his three Myrtle Beach favorites, the others being Tidewater (one of the prettiest courses in the area and a clubhouse with great dining) and Grande Dunes. He also likes the oceanfront hotels, particularly the Double Tree by Hilton with its Ocean Blue Restaurant.

This, more experienced, collaborator for this new series has been a Myrtle Beach devotee for many more years, and he leans toward Caledonia Golf & Fish Club and its partner course True Blue as his favorite destination in the area. Then again, Tidewater and Grande Dunes are great. So is the Dye Course at Barefoot Resort.

Gifts, prizes and plenty of fun abounds at the World Amateur.

Of course you can’t leave out Pine Lakes, which dates back to 1927; the Dunes Club, Pawley’s Plantation and Founder’s Club. And TPC Myrtle Beach is something special, too – especially since PGA Tour star Dustin Johnson recently made a dramatic expansion of its teaching facility.

There’s a reason why Myrtle Beach can, with plenty of justification, call itself “the Golf Capitol of the World.’’

And then there’s the area’s biggest event – the 37th staging of the Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship. It’s over 72 holes (plus a playoff) for competitors in nine divisions and features the World’s Largest 19th Hole and over $100,000 in prizes will be distributed. In short, it’s an event like no other.

This year’s version is August 31 to Sept. 4, and the usual 3,000-plus players are expected. Even with this year’s obstacles the tournament is expected to be held and entries are being accepted. I, for one, wouldn’t miss it. Neither should you.

FINALLY, A BULLETIN TOO HARD TO RESIST: Wisconsin courses are scheduled to open on Friday, April 24. Those that will include the four courses in Kohler, including Whistling Straits – site of this year’s Ryder Cup matches. Season-opening green fees there are just $195 – a very low number for a course poised to host a big event.