CALABASH, N.C. – As you drive North on U.S. Highway 17 from North Myrtle Beach and over the state line, tourist traps and miniature golf courses give way to Mom-and-Pop seafood restaurants, quaint beach cottages, and rustic roadside gift shops. Anchoring the coast of this pristine region are the Brunswick Islands – a group of barrier islands that run from the world famous “seafood capital” of Calabash, North Carolina, all the way north to the Cape Fear River south of Wilmington. The scenery is unrivaled, as Carolina Oaks and Pines blend together to give the area a true mid-Atlantic feel.
This is Brunswick County, one of the undiscovered gems of the Grand Strand and truly North Carolina’s “Golf Coast.” This bucolic setting is home to nearly a third of the Strand’s golf courses, ranging from bargain level public access tracks and mid-range surprises to high-end daily fee and semi private layouts. With marshland layouts such as Marsh Harbor and Oyster Bay, Brunswick County lays claim to some of the most scenic courses in the entire state.
A slew of new high-end, daily fee courses such as Arnold Palmer’s River Edge, Tim Cate’s Tiger’s Eye and The Thistle, Rick Robbins’ Crow Creek, and Willard Byrd’s Farmstead have opened their doors over the past three years. Now, with over 30 golf courses, Brunswick County has clearly established itself as one of the east coast’s premier golfing destinations.
With affordable family owned and operated facilities like the Calabash Golf Links, The Meadowlands Golf Club, and Brunswick Plantation, Brunswick County can cater to the budget-minded golfer as easily as it can the affluent. There truly is something for every level of golfer, economic and skill, in Brunswick County.
Yet somehow, the numerous golf courses of the area have eluded hordes of golfers from the Midwest and Northeast over the years. Is it because of the county’s remote location and rural infrastructure and position just outside of the shadow of Myrtle Beach? Or is it simply because the locals have remained tight-lipped about their little jewel so as not to spoil its shine? It’s hard to say. But one thing is for sure: Brunswick County has not been overlooked because of the product being offered.
So if you seek a golf trip that revolves around thirty-six holes a day, a beer and a bed, then Brunswick County is the prescription for what ails you. Unlike its commercialized cousin to the south, this area once described by early settlers as “some trees and some marshlands” is more likely to overwhelm you with wildlife than nightlife. Between the seafood restaurants, the unspoiled beaches, the offshore fishing and a handful of eclectic shops and restaurants, Brunswick County offers golfers and nongolfers a myriad of other recreational opportunities.