Self-Proclaimed 'Golf Capital of the World' also Famous for Putt-Putt Courses
By Terry Massey
Myrtle Beach Local Expert
More than 100 championship golf courses are a short driving distance from Myrtle Beach, but you can putt-putt your way up and down the Grand Strand at some of the many miniature golf courses. As a top vacation destination with an affinity for golf, Myrtle Beach naturally has dozens of putt-putt courses to choose from. With themes ranging from prehistoric dinosaurs, shipwrecked pirates and exploding volcanoes, the miniature golf craze is alive and well in Myrtle Beach. And it's not just kid's play; some of the top national and international tournaments are held right here on the Strand, like the nationally televised U.S. Prominigolf Open at Hawaiian Rumble in North Myrtle Beach. Some of the early putt-putt courses of the 1950s craze are still operating in Myrtle Beach, like Mount Olympicus and Captain Hook's. Several new and more modern layouts also have been designed in recent years, including the Shark Attack Adventure Golf on Myrtle Beach's downtown oceanfront. The old Chesterfield Inn was torn down to make room for this eye-catching attraction, which includes an arcade, souvenir shop and snack bar. And for those summer days when its too hot or rainy for a round of putt-putt seems, check out the air-conditioned Cancun Lagoon for indoor/outdoor play.
10 Shipwreck Island Adventure Golf
In the movie "Castaway," Tom Hanks was stranded on a deserted island with a volleyball, but this crew of castaways must have brought golf balls along for their voyage that ran aground in downtown Myrtle Beach. Located near the South Beach and Springmaid Pier sections of town just across the street from the beach, Shipwreck Island allows visitors to join a stranded band of pirates on their quest to find their buried treasure and misplaced booty. Climb aboard the wrecked ship, the Myrtle Maiden, then putt your way through palm trees, flowing streams and waterfalls while following the treasure map. (843-913-5330)
9 Jungle Safari Golf
Prepare to go on a family golf safari at Jungle Safari Miniature Golf in Myrtle Beach. Located on the north end of town near the famous stretch known as Restaurant Row, Jungle Safari has an ideal location for families looking to play a round before or after a nice dinner in the neighborhood. Finding Jungle Safari isn't a problem since the statues of giant elephants, giraffes, zebras and more catch the eye amid the stretch of strip malls and restaurants. Jungle Safari backs up to the Cane Patch Par-3 so more experienced golfers can play it while the putt-putt types take aim at the miniature course. (843-315-0311)
8 Jurassic Golf
Take a putt-putt tour back in time to Jurassic Golf, a 36-hole layout located in the heart of Myrtle Beach. Featuring two courses - the Ice Age and Predator layouts - visitors can walk among dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals that make for great photo opportunities for your family vacation. Featuring mountainous terrain and unique landscaping, guests can test their putting skills against a challenging design surrounded by creatures from another era. Waterfalls, volcanoes and caves are just some of the many obstacles between your putter and the holes. For dinosaur enthusiasts, a chart in the clubhouse helps you identify the various species on display. (843-913-5333)
7 Captain Hook's Adventure Golf
Prepare for an escape into a fairy tale book-themed miniature golf experience at Captain Hook's Adventure Golf in downtown Myrtle Beach. Based on J.M. Barrie's play "Peter Pan," the 36-hole layout allows golfers to follow the tale and they follow the golf trail through rocky caverns, shipwrecks and a 15-foot tall rock skull. Signs feature excerpts from the book that set the stage for the round, and thunderous cannons roar into action as you approach the lair of Captain Hook, whose menacing laugh plays over the PA system. Visitors must putt around multiple water hazards, including one pond with a croc snapping at a pirate's backside. (843-913-7851)
6 MayDay Golf
Put yourself and your putter in the middle of a plane crash in the Amazon at MayDay Golf, a refreshing break from the traditional pirate- and dinosaur-themed miniature golf courses. MayDay Golf was featured on the Travel Channel's "Mini-Golf Madness" as the "Best Survival Course" in the U.S. That's the premise for this unique 36-hole layout; you've crash landed in the jungle and have to putt your way out, sort of like a "Survivor" mini-golf mini-series. It isn't hard to find; there's a giant yellow airplane nose-down in a tropical rainforest just off the main drag in North Myrtle Beach. (843-280-3535)
5 Hawaiian Rumble
Visitors are greeted in traditional island style at Hawaiian Rumble - by a talking parrot in the clubhouse. But it's more than just fun and games. Hawaiian Rumble is the host to the annual U.S. Prominigolf Open, which attracts putt-putters from around the world to compete in the nationally televised tournament. It's a fitting venue, featuring waterfalls and volcanoes to create an island-style layout. Visitors can meet and chat with the course's mascot, a talking parrot, in the clubhouse before hitting the 18-hole masterpiece. After your round, check out the official U.S. Olympic Minigolf Team's training facility (yes, there is such a thing) in the back. (843-272-7812)
4 Mount Atlanticus Minotaur Golf
Ever wonder what happened to the underwater city of Atlantis? Well, at least according to Mount Atlanticus legend, a small piece of it was magically transported to downtown Myrtle Beach by a minotaur named Goff and transformed into miniature golf paradise. The result is a 36-hole layout that towers over the surrounding buildings in the downtown Five Points district. In fact, guests can see the ocean from the tiki towers atop Mount Atlanticus while putting their way around the elevated terrain and island landscaping. Waterfalls and palm trees line the fairways for some great photo ops for the whole family. (843-444-1008)
3 Cancun Lagoon Miniature Golf
Break par and beat the heat at the same time at Cancun Lagoon Miniature Golf, the only indoor/outdoor putt-putt course on the Grand Strand. Featuring a Mayan ruin structure that visitors enter through a cave entrance on the backside of the building, Cancun Lagoon offers two 18-hole courses that carry guests on a path through the jungle terrain, weaving indoors and outdoors for a welcome air-conditioned break from the summer heat. A large river and waterfall run through the courses and the scorecard features clues to the quest for hidden gold. A gift shop and snack bar are also located indoors. (843-444-1098)
2 Mutiny Bay Golf
Prepare to walk the plank and make a big splash at Mutiny Bay Golf in North Myrtle Beach. Located near Main Street in downtown North Myrtle Beach, this popular attraction features a large bay separating the two 18-hole courses - Port Royal and Barbados. A large pirate ship serves as the centerpiece of the lake and the crew is known to hide about the rocky terrain. In fact, there is a surprise pirate show every half hour on the course. The path takes your party through dark caverns and below flowing waterfalls in your quest to find the buried treasure stashed away by the pirates.
1 Shark Attack Adventure Golf
Myrtle Beach is famous for golf and the beach, and now the two have come together in the latest attraction - Shark Attack Adventure Golf. Replacing the old historic Chesterfield Inn, which was razed during the offseason, this new miniature golf course features an eye-catching shark theme on the downtown Myrtle Beach oceanfront. Guests can putt their way around the course and into the mouths of make-believe maneaters while enjoying the ocean view and breeze. The new attractions also features an ice cream parlor and snack bar, as well as a gift shop and arcade to make for a more enjoyable experience. (843-839-0276)
About Terry Massey
It's no surprise that journalist Terry Massey is credited with creating the word 'stay-cation.' He considers the past 18 years in Myrtle Beach a vacation. He and his wife Stephanie were honeymooning in Myrtle Beach, when Terry was offered a job at the local newspaper. Without hesitation, they packed a U-Haul with their belongings - including unopened wedding gifts - and moved to the beach. They now have a daughter, Riley, a golden retriever, Duff, and their roots are deeply grounded in the sand. After 13 years at the newspaper, Terry became a freelance writer to cover all the things that brought him to the beach.
Read more about Terry Massey here.