Myrtle Beach may be best known for big-time golf, but it's also a mecca for mini-golf.
Sure, the Grand Strand has more than 100 championship courses featuring oceanfront and Intracoastal Waterway layouts surrounded by maritime forests and Lowcountry wetlands. But Myrtle Beach also has more than 50 putt-putt courses featuring make-believe dinosaurs, volcanoes, waterfalls and pirates.
Serious golfers come to Myrtle Beach to test their skills against the best, and the same is true of scratch putt-putters. The Grand Strand hosts the annual US Open of Prominigolf and the Masters of Mini-golf, and is home to the US Mini-golf Olympic Training Facility. Believe it or not, there is such a thing a pro putt-putt golfer.
So if your game isn't good enough for the real golf courses of the Grand Strand, or if you prefer to keep the game fun, step up to the rubber mat and prepare to hit one in the clown's mouth. Here are five places to play the best putt-putt rounds in town:
* Captain Hook's Miniature Golf: If you and your family enjoy “The Lost Boys” book and famous characters Peter Pan and Tinker Bell, they will get a kick out of this course. Base1d on the J.M. Barrie classic, the 36-hole layout follows a treasure map through caves, pirate ships and alligator-infested swamps. Loudspeakers play music and scenes from the book and cannon blasts splash the water while you try to focus on your shot.
* Hawaiian Rumble Minigolf: Experience putt-putt golf beneath an active volcano at this Hawaiian-themed course in North Myrtle Beach. Try to focus on your shot while the earth seemingly shakes under your feet with each rumble from the fire-spewing volcano that serves as the centerpiece of the course. Not only it is a fun place to play a friendly round, Hawaiian Rumble also hosts serious competition at the annual U.S. Open of Prominigolf. The clubhouse has a talking parrot, and the US Olympic training center is located out back.
* MayDay Golf: Mayday, mayday! Your plane has just crashed on an African mountainside and you have to putt your way out. That's the theme of this jungle-style layout that features a big yellow airplane atop the hilly course. Located in North Myrtle Beach, this 36-hole course was featured on the Travel Channel's “Mini-Golf Madness” as the “Best Survival Course” in the U.S. The other 18-hole course includes a helicopter rescue, so buckle up and play both layouts.
* Mount Atlanticus: This towering, 36-hole layout sits high above the Myrtle Beach skyline and offers a great view of the downtown district. But it’s also a great challenge for putt-putters, thanks in part to the steep vertical incline. Golfers climb their way through the pre-historic setting around a myriad of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures. The first floor is indoors and features a tricky 18th hole that offers a free round with a hole in one and your name on the wall of fame alongside other ace-makers.
* Shark Attack Adventure Golf: The newest miniature golf course on the Strand is so much more. Located in the heart of downtown Myrtle Beach, this oceanfront lot also includes a spacious bar and restaurants, as well as an arcade and a souvenir shop. The course itself is a tribute to the scariest fish in the sea. Shark trivia questions greet golfers at every hole and the centerpiece of the layout features a great white surprising an unsuspecting fisherman. The oceanfront bar is the perfect place for a post-round drink and some live music.