Echo Farms Golf & Country Club evokes the links-style courses of Scotland on its 18-hole championship golf course. That’s because renowned British architect Ian Scott Taylor worked his magic on the original design, improving everything from landscape to length. Tiff-eagle bermuda grass greens provide a challenge for players of all stripes, and the adjacent Cape Fear River adds a natural obstacle throughout play. Elsewhere, the country club offers five tennis courts and a competitive-sized swimming pool.
Brad Redding invokes more than 20 years of PGA-instructing experience to guide golfers of every skill set, from novice players to Gary Players. Groups of 10 to 12 can immerse themselves in Redding's teachings, trademarked as The Plane Truth, and enjoy unlimited range balls after each session. Clinics are held on Tuesdays at 5 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m., in the first three weeks of every month, excluding January and February. Call ahead to reserve a spot.
Whispering Pines Golf Course is set back just minutes from the beach and nestled among towering pines and mature hardwoods. From the first tee, golfers descend into the serene grounds as drives trace narrow fairways past tall stands of trees that give way to hidden rough, carefully placed lakes, and several feral golf carts that hurriedly scurry back under cover. Though the course is designed to be enjoyable for golfers of all abilities, a higher-than-average slope and handicap rating from the back tees signal a test for more-experienced players. Many holes place an added emphasis on short-game accuracy, as golfers must thread approach shots through an array of bunkers before sinking putts on undulated TifEagle Bermuda grass greens that serve as homage to the architect’s beloved bean-bag chairs. A certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, the course is flush with wildlife, from squirrels and foxes who bark out polite applause to indifferent heron, stirred only by a hole-in-one or a golf bag stuffed with anchovies.
Oak trees and waterways shape the scenery at Indigo Creek Golf Club, which sculpts a 6,747 yard layout through the heart of Carolina Lowcountry—just a stone's throw south of Myrtle Beach. Pine trees also fleck the bermuda grass fairways, their spindly trunks impeding the passage of errant golf balls. Throughout the round, golfers should keep their eyes out for wildlife, so as not to miss a photo op or the territorial heron that mistake golf balls for lost eggs.
Course at a Glance:
Planet Fun's 50,000-square-foot facility encloses a galaxy of black-lit, sound-blasting, light-flashing recreation to entertain family members of all ages. Embark on a mission of pin domination during a game of Constellation Alley bowling, with black-lit alleys equipped with comprehensive scoring systems and 32-inch flat-screen monitors ($1.25–$4/game, $2–$3/shoe rental) to methodically track every strike and cleverly camouflaged 11th pin. Space-themed, two-level laser tag ($6/game) arms imaginative combatants with a score-tracking laser vest and weapon and sets them loose in a double-decker arena of black-lit, futuristic obstacles. Guests fill fun receptors with nine holes of Ocean Quest Cosmic Mini-Golf ($3), amass a trove of tickets from more than 100 redemption and video games in the arcade, or relive their glory days as the school basketball in an inflatable bounce house with two slides.
With more than 170 participating courses stretching from New Hampshire to Georgia, MyGolf’s membership card grants golfers stationed throughout the Atlantic coast an opportunity to tour the region’s diverse links. Specific discounts vary from course to course, but all participating links honor the discount for members as well as their playing mates, encouraging social play while freeing up funds to send serrated sand wedges to culinary school. Affiliated golf academies prepare players for their rounds with discounted lessons, and clubbers can upgrade their equipment at participating golf shops. Along with cut-rate pin-hunting expeditions, the membership facilitates golf-centric vacations with discounts at restaurants, hotels, and Cold War-era bomb shelters near participating golf courses.