Spring is the most popular time of year to take a Myrtle Beach golf trip, but it’s not for everyone. The Swafford Golf Tour has made their annual sojourn to Myrtle Beach for 26 consecutive years in February, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Group leader Dan Swafford, who organizes the 70+ man trip, took a few minutes to discuss why a winter, beach golf vacation works for his crew.
Swafford’s 2014 trip lasted 10 days, included more than 200 holes, and more fun than he wanted to recount on the record!
His group annually includes players from 14 states and all of them, with the exception of the Texans, suffer through a lack of golf during the long winter months, which accounts for the timing of the trip.
“[Most of ] us are from the northern states and it breaks our winter up,” Swafford, who lives in Ohio, said. “It’s so economical and the golf courses we get to play are outstanding. We don’t play that kind of stuff around here and for the cost you get, you can’t beat it anywhere around the country. I’ve been on other trips and nothing beats Myrtle Beach.”
For the Swafford Golf Tour, nothing beats their annual Thursday round at Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, a layout they’ve played every year since it opened in 1994. Over the years, they’ve gotten to know the course’s staff and owners and they have a Thursday night fish fry and hog roast at one of America’s 100 best public courses.
“That is like Christmas,” Swafford said of the Caledonia cookout. “We look forward to that day more than almost any other out of the year. It’s a special day for us. They treat us like family, and they are our family.”
The fun certainly didn’t stop at Caledonia. The rest of the itinerary included, but was not limited to, golf at Carolina National, Diamondback, Heather Glen, the Love Course at Barefoot, True Blue, Pawleys Plantation, Willbrook and Heritage.
While the winter of 2014 was unusually cold, even here in South Carolina, the Swafford Tour, which was in town from February 14-23, enjoyed outstanding weather. The only hiccup for Swafford was a cancelled flight in Dayton that caused him to rent a car and drive down.
“The weather we had this year was unbelievable,” Swafford said. “It was between 55 and 70 (degrees) every day. I played in shorts six of the 10 days.”
By now the post-trip surveys are in and, not surprisingly, the Caledonia experience carried the day, in another memorable year.
An annual golf trip that began with three guys driving through the night and taking the gondola across the Intracoastal Waterway to play Waterway Hills in 1989 for the first round, is already looking forward to another year.
So are we.