Natalie Gulbis’ Whirlwind Myrtle Beach Adventure is one to Follow
By Jim Maggio
Natalie Gulbis knows how to make a statement.
The LPGA Tour star has combined on-course achievements, including four professional wins, seven top-10 finishes in major tournaments and participation on three victorious Solheim Cup teams, to name a few, with an energetic personality and striking beauty that have landed her numerous product endorsements, high-profile network television show appearances (including Celebrity Apprentice and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation), and even a place in the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
So when Natalie recently took a brief break from her injury rehabilitation (she has been nursing an ailing hip that kept her out of Tour action for much of the 2014 season), she did so at the one place she knew was a perfect fit for her golf game, personality and active lifestyle.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina was ready and waiting – and as the newest spokesperson for one of the Myrtle Beach area’s leading golf vacation websites, MyrtleBeachTrips.com, Natalie made the absolute most of it.
The first day we caught up with Natalie, we’d barely taken our first sip of early-morning Starbucks when she came bouncing in, revved up and raring to go. “OK, guys,” she proclaimed, with a clap for emphasis. “The beach is waiting!”
Before the caffeine had even had a chance to kick in for the rest of us, Natalie Gulbis’ whirlwind Myrtle Beach adventure was already underway.
Yoga and stretching soon gave way to a quick run along the pristine shores of Litchfield Beach. Waiting in the wings was a paddleboard tour of nearby Pawleys Island Creek with Surf The Earth Rentals. “I love paddleboarding every chance I get, wherever I go,” Natalie explained. “And paddleboarding in Pawleys Island is a breathtaking experience – the perfect blend of natural beauty and great exercise!”
The morning workouts now complete, it was then off to The Hammock Shops Village for some shopping. Lunch would have to wait – Natalie was quickly drawn to the wide array of beach collectibles at Pawleys Island Mercantile (“Need some souvenirs for Mom!”); learning the ABCs of hand-made rope hammocks from the “Hammock Man” himself, Marvin Grant, at The Hammock Weavers; and the custom-made pendants at Whitmire’s Fine Jewelry, followed by a quick lunch at bisQit.
Her afternoons were reserved for golf, beginning with a visit to the River Club in Pawleys Island, a Tom Jackson design featuring the par-3 14th with an island green, and the risk-reward par-5 18th that wraps around a large lake and is reachable in two for those who dare. Renowned area instructor Mel Sole served as her golf tour guide for this afternoon. “Mel was great,” Natalie recalled. “He knows these courses on the South Strand like the back of his hand, and made it that much easier to appreciate the natural beauty and playability of the courses I visited.”
Natalie’s next afternoon golf excursion took her to Jack Nicklaus’ iconic Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club – her Myrtle Beach-area home resort, and also home to several holes that play dramatically in and out of an expansive saltwater marsh. These include the iconic par-3 13th and 17th holes, with tee boxes resting on a narrow dike that allows for memorable passage along the course’s back nine.
Though Natalie stuck one tee shot after the next onto the green, she marveled at the stern test presented by a 13th hole that typically plays short (often under 100 yards). “The wind really comes into play here,” she advises. “And with the tee box distance changes on any given day, you’ve got a unique challenge every time you play this hole.”
Her time at Pawleys Plantation wrapped up with a clubhouse members’ social, and an active day wrapped up with a late dinner at The Wicked Tuna along the scenic Murrells Inlet MarshWalk.
Such an action-packed pace would leave many yearning for a pillow by sunset. For Natalie Gulbis, it merely whetted her appetite for more on her return trip in fall 2014.
“Between the beach, the restaurants, the shopping and all the great golf right at your fingertips, I’ve just scratched the surface of all the great things I can do when I’m in Myrtle Beach,” she said.
“And I can’t wait to pick up where I left off when I come back!”
Think you can keep up with Natalie Gulbis? Enter for your chance to win a Myrtle Beach golf escape that includes golf and dinner with Natalie. Just visit MyrtleBeachTrips.com, and sign up for the “Myrtle Beach Natalie Gulbis Sweepstakes” today!