Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Friday, June 24, 2011


“Golf is a good walk spoiled.” - Mark Twain

Golfy Boyz 2011
The Golfy Boyz of 2011 at Tiger’s Eye. From L to R: Jeff, Trevor, Lee, Bartimus Magnificus, Gary, Job Johnny, Marty, Elisson.

Given that we ride golf carts more often than not, Twain’s quote perhaps should be amended to read, “Golf is a good ride spoiled.” But that takes all of the poetry out of it, while simultaneously reminding us what lazy slobs we have become.

Last week’s Epic Golfy Adventure differed from our earlier annual snark-hunts in one major respect: We elected to head eastward to Myrtle Beach rather than crisscross the state of Alabama hacking up the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

For me, going to Myrtle Beach could have provoked a certain degree of nostalgia, for I had been to this part of the world before. It was fully a half-century ago when Eli and his brood made an overnight stop just a few miles south of Myrtle Beach at the Litchfield Inn on Pawleys Island. We had ended up there after having departed Ocala, Florida that morning... a long day’s drive in the days before the superslab. That long day would have been shorter but for Eli’s unfortunate (and soon-to-be-discontinued) practice of traveling without lodging reservations; the Litchfield Inn - a good deal more upscale than our normal travel lodgings back in the day - at least had a room for us.

My recollections of that long-ago evening are necessarily vague. Strangely, I can remember what I ate for supper: pompano. Perhaps it was because it was a fish with which I had, until that day, been unacquainted, the novelty served to engrave the experience in my memory.

There would be no desperate, last-minute searching for a hostelry with a vacancy on this trip. Our lodgings - a condo in North Myrtle Beach - had been arranged well in advance, as had our golf. And given that our accommodations were equipped with kitchen facilities, we were able to prepare our own meals to whatever extent we desired.

We never saw the beach, never got a glimpse of ocean. The only sand we saw was in the numerous bunkers scattered about the courses we played. But that was fine with us: We were all too happy to ignore the hypertrophied Tourist-Trap into which Myrtle Beach has evolved over the past fifty years. Think of Panama City Beach on steroids and you have an idea of the place.

But the golf... ahhh, the golf. Not for nothing is this place considered a Golfer’s Paradise.

The heinous-looking clubhouse at The Wizard.
Taking a page from last year’s book, we confined ourselves to a single eighteen-hole round a day. No more thirty-six hole marathons. We played the Moorlands course at Legends Golf Resort and The Wizard in Myrtle, and Tiger’s Eye across the state line in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. Moorlands - ranked among the top 50 toughest courses in America by Golf Digest - was by far the most difficult, with inverted-teacup greens reminiscent of Pinehurst Number Two... or, less charitably, like the local Putt-Putt. We found ourselves wondering where was the dinosaur, the clown’s mouth, the windmill? The Wizard had greens that were fast but flat enough to be manageable - and a butt-ugly clubhouse that looked like a castle in poor repair. Tiger’s Eye had challenging par-threes and fairways drier than a tiger’s anus Mother Teresa’s cooter the Gobi Desert. And all - thank Gawd! - were blessed with ocean breezes that kept the summery heat from becoming too oppressive.

The Moorlands course at Legends.

As for the business of Eatage and Drinkage, there were no complaints. Myrtle Beach offers plenty of dining options, the best of which involve either meat or fish... but for our meat, we elected to take the route of In-House Preparation. Friday’s dinner consisted of charcoal grilled two-inch-thick New York strip steaks, accompanied by roasted asparagus, sautéed mushrooms with smoked paprika, Campari tomatoes with feta and basil, and Hasselback potatoes, washed down with a few bottles of 2009 J. Lohr Estates Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon. It was a kingly meal, yet it set us back a mere $21 each... economical and ridiculously tasty!

Meat, Mushrooms, & ’Maters

There was more, of course. An excellent Asian dinner at E Noodles & Co. - mango-jalapeño beef, crispy red curry duck - by chef Eddie Kwong, formerly of Atlanta. Calabash-style fried seafood in (where better?) Calabash, North Carolina. And a good supply of single malt Scotch whisky.

The weather cooperated, with none of the predicted scattered thunderstorms coming to bedevil us. At sunset Saturday evening the skies looked threatening, but aside from a few wayward drops, the dark clouds never delivered on their grim promise.

Scary Sunset

So, the $64 question for next year: Myrtle Beach? Or a return to Alabama? Enquiring minds want to know. At this point, however, I have no frickin’ clue... and I’m happy with either alternative.


DogsDontPurr said...

Campari tomatoes? How do you make that? Sounds interesting!

Elisson said...

@DogsDontPurr - Campari tomatoes are smallish tomatoes-on-the-vine, about twice the size of a large cherry tomato. I buy them at Costco. For this particular dish, I just quartered the tomatoes, dumped some crumbled feta cheese, shredded basil, and a drizzle of olive oil on them, and then seasoned the whole mess with kosher salt and black pepper. Easy and delicious!

DogsDontPurr said...

D'oh! I was thinking that you were somehow using Campari to make a dressing or marinade for the tomatoes. It never occurred to me that "Campari" is a type of tomato! Too funny.

Jim - PRS said...

Black socks on the golf course? Stag film golf?

Elisson said...

Aw, crap! Forgot the Lone Ranger mask.

Claude said...

I had to google Hasselback Potatoes. It looks so good! I'm told: crispy outside, tender inside.. Will try....

Firehand said...

And don't forget:
"A golf course is a waste of a perfectly good rifle range."