Myrtle was a good time, with golfing, drinking and lots of laughs. We played at Barefoot Love (Wednesday), Arrowhead (Thursday), Grande Dunes & Waterway Hills (Friday), Meadowlands (Saturday).
Honestly, there isn't a ton to tell. My golf game was poor. Normally, years ago, i'd shoot about 100 a round. I was shooting around 120 a round (double bogie & triple bogie with the occasional par showing up). Fortunately, one of the guys on the trip gave me some great advice on the last day which seems to fix a major hook that has appeared in my game over the last 6 years. My chipping and putting are fairly solid. I just need to seriously think about a golf camp or some golf lessons to fix a few things. Anyone know of a golf camp, feel free to email me about it.
Wednesday and Thursday it was warm, about 70-75 degrees each day. Friday was a major rain day, with our groups getting rained out after 9 holes at Grande Dunes, which really sucked because it was a beautiful course. Saturday was a 10am tee time at Meadowlands and it was about 50 degrees to start. By the 12th hole it was about 60 degrees but a stiff cold wind made it a miserable day. St. Patty's Day we spent it around Myrtle bars, and lots of college kids were out and about.
Here's my Top 5 observations while down at Myrtle:
1. This was priceless, spotted him at Finn McCool's in Myrtle Beach on St. Patty's Day:
2. It seems that everyone, over the age of 23, is married. I know this isn't just true for Myrtle, but most of the rest of the country outside our metro area. If I moved to Myrtle i'd be an outcast. Single at 35?! The horror! Going out to Broadway on the Beach was a joke. There are 3 groups of people: College Kids, Married People and Golfer Tourists. I'm not one of those guys who goes on vacation and expects to meet someone out at the bars. Shit, I don't even do that in Hoboken, I just go out to have fun. But it certainly is a bit more fun when you have something, anything, to even give you a slight bit of interest to be out and drinking. I was there 4 years ago when one of our crew did pull down an extremely good looking girl on a bachelorette party. But more often than not, that is the exception, not the norm.
3. Slow is normal. Everything is just a bit slower in the south, and that's ok to the locals. We were at a bar with 3 bartenders and about 200 people. The bar was packed, and they were mostly serving beer, shots and the occasional Captain and Coke to yours truly. Slow. Slow. Slow. Give me 3 bartenders from up here, and that bar would have made about $3,000 more on St. Patty's Day from just pumping out the booze faster.
4. Saving $100-150 on a trip to Myrtle by going in March just isn't worth it. I'll pay a bit more to stop this whole Russian roulette with the weather. In my last 3 trips I have yet to get 4 days in a row of nice weather. I can handle rain, within reason, but when it is also 60 degrees out versus 70 degrees, it makes a big difference when i'm cold and wet versus warm and wet. Next year i'm going to spend a bit more and go during April, if I can get the others to agree.
5. Is a vacation really a vacation when you golf 5 days, drink everyday and get about 6 hours of sleep a night? I was ridiculously lucky to wake up without a hangover each day, but coming into work today i'm beat. I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation. I'd like another 2 week trip during the summer (similar to my Australian 2 week tour from 7 years ago), if I can swing it. I'd love to just find an isolated paradise where I can relax, recharge the internal batteries and come back refreshed. Thinking about a place like Turkoise, which was recommended by a friend, but not sure how I feel about going to something like Club Med. Just isn't....me. I'd like everything Turkoise has...too bad I just can't get like 3-4 friends to go along for the ride.
I never was a "great" golfer, but I grew up with golf courses all around me. During the mid to late 80's, my dad was the CFO of a small family owned company that built golf courses & involved in real estate. Like I wrote before, my dad wasn't the kind of guy to let his kids sit around during summer and do nothing. No matter how successful he became, he was all about instilling a work-ethic in all his children. Even to this day i'm working a 9-5 job and a bartending job. I don't "need" the 2nd job, but with my PSE&G situation and my new condo purchase, having such a job helps. Even down at Myrtle i'd see guys who are retired and working at the golf course or driving taxis. I can honestly say that when I retire from working I can absolutely see myself going to Myrtle and working at the local courses for a few extra bucks a week.
One of my early jobs in high school was working at a golf course as a bag drop coordinator. Members or guests would come to the course, i'd fetch their golf bag from their car, load them up on a cart and get them ready to play. I'd get a dollar or two a bag, and by the end of the day i'd have $80-100 in my pocket.
While I was down there I remembered a good story from those days, when I started working at one of the corporate owned golf courses around 1986. I got the job because of the connection with my dad, of course. My first day was early in April, when there weren't too many golfers out playing on a Saturday. I didn't get the impression the established employees at the golf course were too happy with me from the get-go. In my mind, and I could be wrong, but being a kid of management and getting a fairly decent job like working the bag drop, didn't go over too well with the other guys there that I was "Frank's Son".
I knew what the job entailed, I was basically a "go'fer" (Go 'fer this, Go 'fer that), but they really stuck me with some crappy work to do. Like my first task was to clean the entire bag storage shed. The shed, if you can imagine, probably hadn't been cleaned for a very long time. There were thick layers of dust and cobwebs. They wanted me to hand clean each bag rack, the bags, the floor, everything. It took me hours, and it was a miserable task. But I kept my mouth shut and did it. When I was done, Ted the manager, looks it over with a half frown and I could see his mind just coming up with more work for me to do on a slow Saturday afternoon.
The next task was cleaning and gassing all the golf carts. There were about four rows of carts, with 15 carts in each row in a large wooden shed. The carts in those days were gas-powered, not battery. They had a regulator on each, which limited their speed. So, i'd take them around, hose them down with a super-strong gas powered hose, and then if the carts were less than half-full i'd top off each cart from the two gas tanks.
Easy enough, right?
Well, lets keep in mind I was 14. Lets also keep in mind that I was new. Lets also add...I made a major mistake.
I cleaned them without a problem. I also topped off each cart...with what I thought was gasoline.
The next day my mistake was realized when the mechanic from the maintence crew, the lead dog, asks to see me in the maintence shed. I get there and first you have to appreciate what this guy looks like. Imagine someone from the Hells Angels decided to be a mechanic. He was tall, with long brown hair, perscription glasses that would automatically darken when exposed to light. Many tattoos and smoked a carton of cigarettes a day. He was the big dog, and had about 5 other maintenence guys working for him who were from 16-22 year old.
I get to the maintenence shed, and he has a bunch of carts around him, each opened up, with the various engine components stripped from the carts. 94.1 WYSP is blaring in the background, and pictures of Playboy centerfolds are all over the walls. It smells like gasoline, oil and cut grass in the shed. He sees me and walks over, and the rage was palpable. He goes off on me asking why the fuck I put diesel into the golf carts.
Yep, I didn't notice the "D" and the "R" labels on the two gas tanks. I assumed, incorrectly, that they were all the same, and gassed up about 30 gasoline carts with diesel. He had to strip them all down, empty the fuel lines, tanks and fix all of them because the half-witted 14 year management kid is too retarted to read a letter.
There are moments in your life where you are extremely embarassed and mortified. This was one of them in my young life. I told him I was sorry, but he didn't give a shit, really. I walked away and just felt...bad. It also didn't help that the guys who worked in the pro shop didn't like me, now I had gone and done that stupid mistake which i'm sure they were yukking up over beers when I left for the day.
Fortunately they didn't fire me. I messed and made an honest mistake.