Golf – A Challenge Worth Taking

I have been on vacation in South Carolina this week.  The weather has been absolutely perfect and I love just relaxing on the beach.  My husband and son always golf, which is fine with me because then I don’t have to worry about them complaining about being bored on the beach.  This year, however, I felt like I wanted to give golf a try because I had a little FOMO (fear of missing out) going on.

My husband and son were taking a lesson so I asked my husband to sign me up too.  Why not??  As the day of the lesson came closer, I wanted to cancel it.  I thought my time would be better spent on the beach. Cancellation fees would probably apply so I bit the bullet and went to the lesson.  I am really glad that I did.  My instructor Ali was awesome; she was very supportive, down-to-Earth, and easy going.  She gave me a lot of great tips and I felt really good about myself when I left the lesson.  The Steve Dresser Golf Academy is one of the best in the Myrtle Beach area.  My husband and son also learned a lot in their advanced lessons and club fittings.

At home, I had been to the driving range a total of ONE time before my lesson.  I had taken other lessons years and years ago.  The thought of actually playing a round of golf scared me.  I didn’t think I had enough skill to get out there.  Well, I decided that there was no time like the present to give it a try.  I am in one of the most popular golf locations in the US and there are golfers of all levels getting out there every day.

 

There is a par 3 course, Tupelo Bay, which is not far from the condo we are staying in.  My husband said it was only 9 holes and I wouldn’t need to hit it very far, being that it was a par 3.  Again, I figured we’re here in one of the largest golf meccas so no time like the present to give it a try.  Since the par 3 was just “mini golf on steroids”, we decided to do the executive course, which was a par 3 and 4 course.  Nerves set in as we pulled up to the first hole, but when I saw others who hit the ball like me, I felt a lot better.  I didn’t do great, but I hit the ball and I have my first round 9 holes under my belt.  I, again, felt pretty good about myself walking off that course.

Golf is on the television all the time at my house.  I have been to PGA tournaments.  I hear my husband and son say how much you need to practice and how aggravating it can be.  So why do I want to get into this aggravating yet fulfilling hobby?  It is something we can do as a family and I can go out with friends who golf.  When I posted that I was taking a lesson on Facebook, a friend commented that she was in a beginner league at home and why don’t I join?  I told her ABSOLUTELY.  She said it was a lot of fun and a lot of laughs.  I may not improve my game, but fun and laughing are good for the soul.

So next step is getting some gear and just getting out there and doing it.  I am proud of myself because I am taking on a challenge of learning something completely new to me.  I have been writing a lot lately about my yoga journey and mindfulness, and this post may seem out of place.  However, I feel that taking on this challenge and being present in the moment of just concentrating on hitting the ball is just another way to be mindful.  Not letting every day worries and cares get in the way of my present purpose.

What is a challenge that you have taken on that has become a success for you??

My Happy Place ll: Surfside Beach, SC

We always come to Surfside Beach in April (see previous post), but we’ve never come in the summer.  As many of our friends said when we told them we were coming in July…”Why would you go to SC in July…it’s not hot enough at home?”  Well…we came for several reasons.  #1 – We love it here!!!,  #2 – My son can golf for FREE with an adult, #3 – Rentals across the street or on the beach are so much cheaper than driving 1-2 hours from home for a vacation.  The ONLY drawback is the drive…it was 18 hours, but we stayed over night and it really isn’t that bad when you break it up.

IMG_6668

We found our rental through a realty agency and were disappointed with their customer service.  We decided that we were going to come to SSB late so when I checked VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) most rentals in our price range were gone.  If we decide to come again next summer, I will definitely book earlier.  The rental we chose was great…I have no problem with the rental.  It was the service from the rental agency that was not acceptable.  We were directly across from the beach with an ocean view and it cost less than if we drove to a place 2 hours from home which was not even near the beach.  So worth it!!!   IMG_6652

Another perk when coming in the summer is that many of the activities that aren’t available in April are open.  For instance, water parks, water sports (including parasailing and banana boat rides) and there are more  frequently scheduled boat trips.  We took advantage of the dolphin watch out of Crazy Sister Marina in Murrell’s Inlet.  It was a brand new boat with a knowledgeable staff.  It took us a while to find the dolphins, but when we found them…there were quite a few.  The boat ride itself was awesome and be sure to put sunscreen on your face because even though it is cool and breezy out on the water, you are getting a ton of sun.  (Sorry about the bad picture, I’m an awful photographer on a rocking boat:)

IMG_6727

Golf is everywhere down here and my husband and son were in their glory.  Many of the courses are free for 16 and under with a paying adult.  My husband paid $54 for both of them plus a cart which is cheaper than paying for just himself and a cart at home.  I gave him a round of golf at a course that he’s wanted to go to and it was not included in the juniors golf free program…Prestwick Golf Club.  It was still cheaper than most of the courses at home if he had to pay for both of them and a cart.  I used  MyrtleBeachGolf.com to book the tee time.  Very simple and you can sign up to get emails about special deals. IMG_6687

Okay…yes…and you have to eat…right?!  There is no shortage of restaurants and cafes.  It is crazy how many places there are to eat.  Most of them are busy too…if you go to a place at dinner time and it isn’t busy, you should probably rethink going there:)  I have a favorite restaurant in Myrtle Beach and a favorite restaurant in Murrell’s Inlet.  My favorite in MB is Margaritaville.  Yes it is a chain and yes it is one of the millions of products from Jimmy Buffett, but I LOVE it and we have to go every time we are in this area.  The dinner wait was ridiculous, but  if you go for lunch or go early for dinner there is usually no wait or a short wait.  The Cheeseburger in Paradise and Volcano Nachos are yummy.  I am partial to the Margarita Flight.  If you do have to wait, you can take a walk around Broadway at the Beach.

IMG_6692

Lastly, there is Creek Ratz in Murrells Inlet.  It is a fun little place that has live music just about every night.  They have seafood, salads, sandwiches and raw bar.  Their hush puppies are yummy and the view is second to none.  If you like a place with a great atmosphere, this is your kind of place.

IMG_6665 (2)

Where is your go-to vacation spot?

My Happy Place: Surfside Beach, SC

I have been coming to Surfside Beach, SC for about 10 years.  The first time I came, my friend’s parents had a time share week that they were going to lose if they didn’t use it.  She said that all I’d have to pay was $500 for the booking and I could go pretty much wherever I wanted.  My husband and I had always wanted to go to Myrtle Beach, so we had her book it.  The place she booked was actually in Surfside Beach and boy are we glad that she did.  Myrtle Beach is all high rises and is very busy.  Surfside Beach is just south of MB and it is quieter with houses and condos right on the beach.  We love it here and have returned every year (unless we went to Disney:)

IMG_6418

When we first starting coming, my son was 3 and he just liked to play at the beach.  As he got older, it was miniature golf (there are about a billion mini golf courses to choose from) and now it’s real golf.  It was a lot cheaper to do mini golf…lol!!!!  This is the mecca of golf courses and he can golf free with my husband until he is 16.  Quite a deal.

IMG_6416

When I chose the name of my blog, My Happier Place, I have to say that Surfside Beach was my original happy place.  It is beautiful, relaxing, clean and the people are very friendly and helpful.  It is a 1 hour 45 minute flight from Boston and you just can’t beat it for a pick me up after a cold winter.  We always find a rental on VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner).  We have found beautiful condos right on the beach and have never been disappointed with our choices.  The renters have been great and we don’t have to pay any extra fees that you have to pay when you go through a rental agency.  The rental we are in for this trip even included sheets and towels (which you often have to rent) and even had little shampoos like in a hotel:)

IMG_6345

My favorite thing to do when I am here is the beach.  I just love the sound of the waves crashing…I could sit and listen to it all day.  I’m happy with my book of crossword puzzles and a bag or container so that I can collect shells.  After a winter of staying inside most of the time, my body just craves the vitamin D (sun) and vitamin C/sea.  I also love to get my feet into the sand because being grounded to the earth is so important for your health (read Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson).

IMG_6332

As I said before, the boys love their golf.  There are other things to do in the area.  Of course, there is LOTS of shopping.  There is also the Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet.  I got a great deal on Groupon. I got 4 tickets for a cheaper price than buying the 3 I needed AND all tickets are good for a week.  Right now they have a Lego exhibit woven into their zoo.  They also have a butterfly house, sculpture garden and boat ride through the old rice fields.

Brookgreen Legos

We have had a hard time finding restaurants that we really love down here.  EVERYTHING is fried in the South and it tastes good for about a day and then you’re just sick of it.  If you love fried, then you are all set.  We did find a great Italian restaurant in Myrtle Beach last nigh called Villa Romana.   So yummy and so much food.  The owner/chef came out and greeted EVERY table in the place.  When have you ever had that kind of service.  He’s been there 39 years so you know he is successful and it shows.  The food and service were excellent.  We also love to have breakfast ON the beach so we go to the Surf Diner at least twice during our week.  Good food and PERFECT location.

IMG_6341

 

There is also a pier in Surfside Beach right outside the Surf Diner.  It is $1 to walk out on it and we just never paid the money to go.  This year we did and we weren’t disappointed.  There are lots of people fishing out on this dock AND because they are throwing bait over the side…..sharks were milling about.  Very cool!!

IMG_6356

If you want a family-friendly, relaxing vacation that won’t bust your budget….try Surfside Beach, SC.  It is even cheaper if you drive, which we did one year.  If you enjoy road trips, it isn’t too bad of drive.  We just always think  “We could fly their in less than 2 hours” so the drive isn’t for us.

Where is your favorite vacation spot??