Friday, March 31, 2006

Myrtle Beach Golf Courses Reaching Saturation

It seemed every year Myrtle Beach would claim more and more new courses opening. I first noticed when they were claiming sixty courses then a couple years later it went up to eighty. Finally, they boasted over 100 courses.

Now some of the courses are being closed and the land used for housing.

Tim Mcdonald of TravelGolf.com had the following to say about it:


Angels Trace Golf Links in Brunswick County, N.C., in the norternmost reaches of the Grand Strand, is closing its North course for renovation April 17, but club officials said they can't say how long it will be closed.

Director of Golf Bill Long said he didn't believe the course would be closed for good, though a source told TravelGolf.com the North course would close permanently to be redeveloped.

"We're going to re-do all the greens and all the sand traps," Long said. "It's an on-going process. As far as the final outcome, nobody really knows what that's going to be."

A number of Grand Strand courses have sold out to devlopment the last few years, as profits in the golf industry have dropped and the value of area real estate have soared.

North Carolina developer Mark Saunders bought the course earlier this year, to go with his earlier purchases of the Ocean Ridge Plantation and the Ocean Isle Beach Golf Course.

Saunders bought the Ocean Isle Beach Course last summer and quickly closed it with plans to build a housing development. He also owns other housing developments in North Carolina.

Ocean Ridge Plantation, home to three highly-regarded courses, flirted with foreclosure in 2004. The Gore family, long-time owners of the courses and undeveloped land at the site, broke up their holdings and sold the three courses. At roughly the same time, Saunders bought the undeveloped portion of the land from Sunset Beach, N.C. city councilman Ed Gore.

The owners of the golf courses defaulted on a loan, according to the Myrtle Beach Sun newspaper. Saunders reportedly purchased the loan from RBC Centura and initiated foreclosure proceedings.

The courses were due to be auctioned in Brunswick County, with Saunders expected to be the only bidder, but the auction never took place, director of golf Tom Plankers told TravelGolf.com.

"All I can say is that Mark has 100 percent control of Ocean Ridge Plantation now," Plankers said. "He has the courses, the real estate and everything. The auction didn't take place."

Saunders did not return phone calls from TravelGolf.com.

Angels Trace has two 18-hole courses designed by Clyde Johnston.

You better get to Myrtle Beach and play your favorite courses, you never know if they'll be there the next time.

Golf Times

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