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Sean Hodge plays disc golf at the Socastee Recreation Park in June. Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

By Larry C. Timbs Jr.

Special to VISIT!

Looking for a way in Horry County to get outside, get exercise and play a sport that won’t break your bank account?

Look no further than the disc golf courses at Myrtle Beach which seem to be getting more popular by the day.

One place you can have fun tossing those discs—and trying to get them to land as close as possible to their target (an elevated metal basket)—is the beautifully manicured nine-hole disc golf course at the Tupelo Bay Golf Center.

Located about a mile from the ocean on U.S. Highway 17 Business in Murrell’s Inlet, the course features wide open fairways, with few obstacles except for a scattering of palm trees, and gently sloping closely cropped green mounds of grass.

It’s an easily walked disc golf course but still offers players a good challenge.

“We love having our disc golfers out here,” said William Brotherton, general manager for the past three and one-half years of Tupelo Bay Golf Center.  “They’re a fun community and it’s a great sport for people to get out there and be active and get some exercise.”

Brotherton said a lot of people have never played regular golf in their life—either because they don’t have the skill or the desire to play golf.  But with disc golf, you can kind of cut loose and have a good time—all while getting physically fit and competing in a sport that accommodates just about anyone.

“A lot of people know how to throw a disc, and it’s something that adults, kids, senior citizens can play,” he said.  “The people who do come down and play our course have a lot of fun. They enjoy doing it.”

And as for all that equipment that you need to play regular golf—golf clubs, spiked shoes, golf bags, tees, balls—forget it if you’re just wanting to play the disc golf course at Tupelo Bay.

“For our (disc golf) course, we provide them with a mid-range disc as well as a putter (a special kind of slow-spinning disc that players can more easily control and is less prone to stray from the intended target basket),” Brotherton said.   “But for those people out there that are avid disc golfers and want to bring their own equipment, they’re more than welcome to come down and have a good time.”

The disc golf course at Tupelo Bay opened in 2005, and it’s been growing in popularity steadily since then.  The cost for adults is $11 for a 9-hole round, and $16 for 18 holes.  Rates for juniors are $7 for 9 holes and $11 for 18.  The course is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (lights come on at dark) everyday, with no tee times required.

There’s also a very relaxed dress code to play disc golf at Tupelo Bay, according to Brotherton, with no requirement that you wear a collared shirt.

Discounts are offered for veterans or any kind of first responder, including police officers, doctors, paramedics…

Brotherton said, “Anybody who serves our community in any way to make it better, we love to honor them, so they are more than welcome to get our discounted rates.”

Splinter City Disc Golf Course

at Market Common

For a different kind of disc golf experience in Myrtle Beach, there’s the woodsy Splinter City Disc Golf Course at the Market Common—near the international airport at the corner of Farrow Parkway and U.S. 17 Business.

Laid out in a forest of pines and cutting through shrubs and some fairly rough (but flat) terrain, the 18-hole course will challenge beginners and intermediates alike.

Features include large concrete pads from which to tee off (launch your disc), a portable toilet near the spacious parking lot and well marked holes (target baskets).  

There’s no charge to play here and that entices many a motorist going up and down the heavily traveled, running parallel to the beach Kings Highway (U.S. 17 Business).

On a recent warm Wednesday afternoon, Steve, 48, from upstate South Carolina, had just finished playing 18 holes here.

“It’s a pretty nice course,” he said.  “I like it.  There’s a few places for a beginner to possibly lose a disc, but overall it’s really, really nice.”

But be careful of the poison oak, he cautioned.  

Jacob Zacharko, 29, from Virginia, said he’d been playing disc golf for about 18 months and he loves the course at Market Common.

“I love the woods and the arrangement of it,” he said.  “There are some (holes) that are really short but they make it difficult enough that it’s fun.”

And the best thing about disc golf?

“Just getting out and it’s quiet and it’s something to do,” said Zacharko, sweat dripping from his forehead and staining his tee shirt.

Likewise, a father-son duo from Myrtle Beach spoke highly of the disc golf course challenge at Market Common.

“We love the course here,” the dad, who had been a disc golfer for four months, said.  “It’s got its difficult ones and open ones so we love it.  We just play for fun, just the recreation.  Just trying to get better.  

“This gets us outside and walking and the best part is it’s free, unlike (regular) golf.”

Socastee Recreational Park

Disc Golf Course 

Though some residents of Socastee aren’t aware of it, one of the best disc golf courses in Horry County is in—that’s right—Socastee.

The Socastee Recreational Park Disc Golf Course is a bit off the beaten path of some of the more well known disc golf courses at the beach, but it’s worth the drive.  Just turn onto Enterprise Road from U.S. Highway 707 in Socastee, go about two miles and turn left at Butler Road—which takes you to the course.

Note: Turn at the sign on Enterprise Road that says “Socastee Recreation Park”

If the disc golf course at the Market Common can be described as “woodsy,” this 18-hole challenge at Socastee is even “woodsier.”

Giant pine trees get your attention at this thickly forested course whose paths are covered with tree roots—so watch your step.

Want to play a free round of disc golf and take your dog with you? 

Have at it.  (But be sure to clean up your pet’s mess). 

For a sign at the entrance to the course says: “Leave the park as clean as you found it. . . Leave nothing but footprints.”

On a recent sunny weekday, with temperatures in the high 80s, two bearded young men—Matthew Burke and his friend Zach (both from Wilmington, North Carolina)—had just completed playing 18 holes here.  They seemed tired but invigorated.

“We came out here today, on this beautiful day, and definitely this is an intermediate course with great sticks,” Burke said.

Zach, grinning, said, “We found a lot of those trees.”

Burke, who’s been throwing discs for about eight years, agreed with his playing companion that patience might be the key skill for a disc golfer.

As to the Socastee course itself, he said it stacked up well with other disc golf courses.  

“I’ve played all over the state and this course is a pretty good challenge.”

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