MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Coined the "Mini Golf Capital of the World," the City of Myrtle Beach is home to 15 different companies offering dozens of challenging putt putt courses.
And no matter where you head, it's likely to be an adventure. Whether it's cannons and pirate ships, stream filled obstacle courses, or 85 foot high 18th holes, you'll find plenty of variety in the Myrtle Beach putt putt scene.
And whether you're young - or just young at heart - it's easy to find fun in the "Mini Golf Capital of the World."
Dave White is a retired truck driver from Virginia. He said in his five million miles of driving, he's seen his share of mini golf course towns.
"I've been to several different places, played this game and real courses as well and this is amazing," David White said.
WMBF News caught Mr. White playing at Mt. Atlanticus which is billed as the largest course in Myrtle Beach. It is surely the tallest at 85 feet, with two 18 hole courses.
"Both courses finish at the top," stated Mt. Atlanticus General Manger John Stack. Mr. Stack has managed the course since it opened in 1998, a vivid contrast to the credit management business he left.
"Something different, if you don't love people, this is not the job for you. I've always loved people, this is my life," Stack grinned.
The Atlantic Ocean and old Pavilion views are perched on what was once the three-story Chapin Company department store from the 1920s. And the view draws more than golfers.
"People don't wanna leave; they do they want to hang out and watch the parasailing, take pictures. Grand place, really is," Mr. Stack boasted.
But it's the skinny long turf between two lagoons on the 19th hole that will win you a lifetime free membership. John's advice?
"I tell people the main thing to do is put your chewing gum in the left side of your mouth, stand on your left foot, close your right eye, and go for it," John Stack laughed.
Luckily when Anchor Michael Maely stepped up to putt, he gave him a hefty handicap, but it still was not enough.
"If you get past the fence we declare you the winner," Mr. Stack informed Michael.
But for Michael, "Into the lagoon I go... But hey, I made it past the fence, right?"
Mr. Stack said nearly 7,000 people have sunk that putt.
Over at Treasure Island the goal on this hole is the water.
General Manager of Treasure Island and Spyglass, Bobby Cooke, is also a mini golf course designer.
"This was part of the design, but we had to modify it. To make it where it would work over and over again," Mr. Cooke said.
He says Treasure Island is believed to be the first adventure style golf course in Myrtle Beach and one of the first of its kind in the country. He's been here since it was built in 1981, drawing fans from around the globe.
"There are folks that do travel and these are the folks that are fun to talk to when they come in and they start asking you. And I say you know, these people do not just come out for entertainment. These people are really into miniature golf," Mr. Cooke stated.
About 10 blocks down Highway 17 is Cooke's other course that will have you dodging cannon balls and pirate ships between the putts at Spyglass.
"People are on the t area, and they don't know it's coming! And the holes are surprisingly tricky too," Cooke laughed.
In the end, Cooke's experience pays off. And everyone we talked to agrees. It's less about the low score
And more about the spirit that comes with the game
John Stack jested, "Hey look, if you got a fifty, I just think you got more for your money."
Out of everyone WMBF News talked to, no one was exactly sure who first coined the title "Mini Golf Capital of the World," but they say no one's tried to take the honor away from Myrtle Beach yet.
And here's an interesting mini-golf fact: whether they're lost, damaged or stolen, the number of golf balls that pass over the mini-golf course green each year really add up. Each course owner said they go through roughly 2,000 balls a year!
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