With the current state of the economy, it’s not surprising that there’s has been a significant down turn in the financial well being of many golf courses across the country and the golf industry in general. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina has long been a top golf U.S. golf destination. The Grand Strand has boasted more golf courses per square mile than anywhere else in the country and is the home to premier courses designed by Greg Norman, Tom Fazio and Pete Dye. However the economy is turning this once booming golf resort town into a ghost town of fairway, greens and empty clubhouses. The following is an excerpt from an article by the Myrtle Beach Golf Association.
Prior to the economic crash, the Myrtle Beach golf industry had been in a steady decline since 1998, culminating in the loss of over one million paid rounds of golf annually; the closing of 23 golf courses and the loss of over 2,000 golf industry jobs. Well 2008 was the worst year yet, and 2009 is expected to be far worse! Since 1998, the incompetence of the area’s self-proclaimed marketing gurus, Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, and their stumblebum ad agency, along with sleazy hoteliers, many of whom you can find listed in the Myrtle Beach Golf Association’s Lodging Basement, have virtually decimated the once flourishing Myrtle Beach golf industry. While the litany of these bunglers and fly-by-nights’ decade of incompetence, moronic screw-ups, mountains of non-stop financial extravagance and rampant waste, along with their 1950’s era marketing, could easily fill another separate website, the most recent and most costly squandering of the area’s precious marketing dollars – since Golf Holiday’s estimated $10 million dollar debacle that was the PGA Tour – Energizer Senior Tour Championship, and their subsequent fiasco of building what became an even bigger money-pit, the TPC of Myrtle Beach, which they blew an estimated $20 million dollars on – was a multi-episode joke that they produced in conjunction with Golf Channel, where it was also aired. This comedy was a hammy travelogue of dopey and embarrassing episodes called “The Myrtle Beach Road Show,” which almost overnight was dubbed “The Myrtle Beach Road Kill” by golfers and golf industry movers and shakers alike. Did we mention that this disaster cost the Myrtle Beach golf industry an estimated $1.3 million dollars. We had hoped that things would turn around for the remaining Myrtle Beach golf courses, and for a while it appeared that they were, but despite the tripling of the Myrtle Beach golf advertising and marketing expenditures the Myrtle Beach golf industry continues to flounder, when, in fact, they should be doing much better. Add to all that, no Tiger, nobody watching golf on TV and the economy in a mess, and getting worse by the minute, and the outlook for Myrtle Beach golf is, at best, “shaky".
If you’ve been to Myrtle in the past year, I’d be curious to get your take on the situation down there.