For the past 10 years I have been a golf director, booking packages for a large rental company in North Myrtle Beach and have read the letters sent to the editor from Thomas Brennan and will say that I do not always agree with all that he says, especially about new players out on the course, but I will have to agree with his Aug. 25 letter.
I believe the courses are lowering their image along with giving the customer the wrong opinion of golf here in Myrtle Beach. They are making all the freebies they are giving away more important than the actual game of golf. As Tom stated in his letter, we need a better marketing strategy to get the players here again, they will pay for a good experience on the golf course as long as the courses are kept in good condition and are reasonably priced. But the biggest thing that needs to be done is to address “Pace of Play.”
Slow play is the number one complaint we receive from golfers, next is the way the were treated at the course by personnel and last is condition of the course. Most of the courses have eliminated rangers riding around the course and ensuring that the “pace” is kept in check. The courses that still have rangers instruct them to not push the players to keep pace to avoid upsetting players so they will return in the future. What about all the groups behind that are being held up and waiting on every hole due to one foursome. Are they not concerned about the 4, 5, 6 groups of foursomes behind that have to wait and hit on every hole? Do they think they will be returning?
As seen on TV during the broadcast of every tournament being played, even the PGA and USGA are promoting “Tee it Forward” and “While we are Young.” campaigns. Why doesn't Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday along with all marketing for golf jump on the band wagon of this campaign? Why not advertise that Myrtle Beach Golf is a “Tee it Forward” destination. There are celebrities like, Nicklaus, Palmer, Woods, Sorenstam and even Clint Eastwood who are marketing the idea of moving the game along at a pace of play to make it enjoyable for all. All the courses need to do is make sure they have rangers out on the course making sure play is moving along the way it should. What better marketing could we have than on the coattails of these famous players and actors.
I am sure for the most part if a group is holding up the “Pace of Play” and they are asked to speed up or even pick up their balls and proceed to the next hole would not cause any concerns. of course there will always be some that will complain or even refuse, but I believe for the most part it will cause no ill will especially if the courses advertise heavily about being a “Tee it Forward” course. No one wants to spend 5 and 6 hours to play a round of golf. A novice golfer will have to learn to pick up their ball and move along, just as I did when I started playing.
So the courses do need to stop the pricing wars with severe discounts and free giveaways. Why would we want to be called the “Kmart of Golf?” Give the golf a decent price, a well maintained course and play within 4 to no more than 4 1/2 hours of play. Maybe if they get done in a reasonable time frame they will come into the shop and pay for a second round and everybody wins.
So, Myrtle Beach, get in the game and do it “While we are Young” or you will see more and more courses closing down due to lack of play. Lets get back to being the “Golf Capital of the World” not the place where you go to get a free hot dog or beer.
The writer lives in North Myrtle Beach.