My wife and I are spending a couple of weeks on the South Carolina coast at Pawleys Plantation after our son’s marriage in Vero Beach, FL a week ago. As you might expect in February, the weather was much more suited to golf in Vero than it is in Pawleys Island, SC. The 530 miles between those two cities makes a big difference in terms of climate.
This morning (Saturday) in Pawleys Island, it is 38 degrees and the Saturday men’s golfing group just called off its round. Although the sun is shining brightly, the wind is blowing at about a 10-mph clip. My wife has headed for a walk on the beach, but I believe the over/under on her beach walk will be about five minutes; I have been out there on cold days and the wind blows stronger and the air feels much colder than they do just one mile inland.
Mindful of Mark Twain’s quote that “Everyone talks about the weather, but no one ever does anything about it,” I understand that when it comes to golfing, especially in the winter, there is no perfect climate in America; okay, I have heard San Diego comes close, but if your target is the Southeast for a retirement location with golf, you will have to pick your poison. Florida this time of the year is terrific, with many days in the 70s and even the worst days tolerable in terms of temperature, even if it rains a bit. But, oh, those summers in Florida can be relentlessly hot and humid, forcing the inveterate golfer to play early in the day or late.
On the Carolina coast, summers can be almost as hot as in Florida, but the ocean breezes and almost predictable afternoon thunderstorms – they last a few minutes and cool things down a little bit for an hour or so – make summer golf in the Carolinas slightly more tolerable. But winter is a catch-as-catch-can endeavor, as the men’s group at Pawleys Plantation found out today. Bottom line: If you can stand the heat, Florida golf is the best bet year-round. But if you don’t mind losing a few days of golf each winter, South Carolina is a great alternative.
By the way, my wife just returned from the beach. She says she made it just over six minutes. She loves the beach.