Myrtle BeachAugust 9, 2010

My Town: Kelly Tilghman

Myrtle Beach has lots of hustle and bustle, but the northern part of town offers places to escape the noise

Tilghman says Tidewater GC & Plantation is a course that's one with the landscape.

Tilghman says Tidewater GC & Plantation is a course that's one with the landscape.

There's a trace of sadness in Kelly Tilghman's voice when talking about Gator Hole GC, the course in North Myrtle Beach her family owned from 1980-2002 and where the Golf Channel commentator spent much of her youth growing up with her four brothers.

"It's now a Home Depot parking lot, which breaks my heart," says the 41-year-old Tilghman. "It was a staple of my childhood. I worked all the odd jobs there, in the pro shop, the snack bar, driving range, the cart barn. You name it, I did it."

Still, Tilghman has a great affinity for the area, where her father served as mayor of North Myrtle Beach for 14 years and her mother continues to reside.

COURSES

If I could play just one more round of golf anywhere, it would be at the Surf Golf & Beach Club. We lived just off the course growing up. My brothers and I would sneak out at sunset and play until dark. There's public access, but it has a true country club atmosphere. If you play there, make sure to have a BLT at the grill. And don't skimp out...go for it with mayo and everything.

Tidewater GC & Plantation offers stunning views of the Atlantic and the Intracoastal Waterway. It's a course that's one with the landscape. When you're driving in, you feel like you're entering another world.

I played a lot of golf at the Dunes Golf & Beach Club in high school. It's in an older part of town. Great atmosphere, and the course is really one of the best in the state.

Locals call Pine Lakes CC "The Granddaddy." At many Myrtle courses, there's a get-you-in and get-you-out attitude. This is a classic, old-school setting. After the round, stay and have a toddy at the clubhouse. It's got a very stately, colonial feel.

WHERE TO STAY

Ocean Drive Golf & Beach Resort is away from all the hustle and bustle. It offers easy access to the ocean and to some classic local spots. If you're familiar with the Shag Dance, there is a bar called Fat Harold's. Have a drink there and watch the old shagging pros do their thing. You might even see my mom.

Ocean Creek Resort is midway between Myrtle and North Myrtle. It's a beautiful resort, and it's got great access to fine dining and the nightlife at Barefoot Landing, including the Alabama Theater, where they have all sorts of concerts and shows.

I also recommend looking into renting a private beach house anywhere north of Main Street in North Myrtle Beach. There are houses that can hold eight, 10, 12 people, as many buddies as you have. Go to the grocery store, load up on everything you need and it's a home away from home.

Ocean Drive Golf & Beach Resort (left, courtesy of Ocean Drive Golf & Beach Resort) offers easy access to the ocean and to some classic local spots. The Alabama Theater (right, courtesy of the Alabama Theater) holds a variety of concerts and shows.