Imagine playing a round of golf at the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island, then boarding a luxurious 104-foot yacht with a few of your closest friends and cruising down the coast to Hilton Head to play Harbour Town. Sort of makes the winding drive down U.S. 17 seem passé by comparison.
Tour operator PerryGolf is launching just such a service this fall as part of a new partnership with McMillen Yachts Inc. The golf cruises are being offered during McMillen’s shoulder seasons – late October to early December, and mid-April to early June.
PerryGolf, best known for taking golf groups to play the world’s trophy courses, has been operating golf cruises in Europe for several years. Its partnership with McMillen Yachts is its entree into the U.S. cruising market.
“We feel strongly that’s it’s one of those unique experiences that no one is really doing,” said Gordon Dalgleish, president of PerryGolf.
Dalgleish emphasizes that itineraries are flexible and can be tailored for small golf groups. A tentative five-day, four-night itinerary, posted on PerryGolf’s website (www.perrygolf.com), suggests a trip that begins in Charleston, with golf at the Ocean Course, Harbour Town and May River Golf Club. The listed cost for golfers is $5,300.
McMillen Yachts (www.woodenyachts.com), based in Beaufort, S.C., operates six yachts through a fractional-ownership program. The company refurbishes classic ships, outfits them with modern amenities, then puts them back in service.
Two of McMillen’s yachts are available for the golf tours. Earl McMillen, owner of the company, said Freedom, a 104-foot yacht built in 1926, was in a state of disrepair when he bought it for $100 in 2002. After lining up investors, he put the ship through a five-year restoration before relaunching the flagship of his fleet in 2009. It can accommodate up to 10 guests.
“It’s a head-turner,” Dalgleish said.
The other ship that could be used for golf tours is Enticer, a restored 85-footer that was built in 1935 and has room for six guests.