NORTH MYRTLE BEACH — The Myrtle Beach Caddy Girls may have some competition in the Grand Strand golf market, at one golf course at least.
Thee Kilted Caddy Club & Café is attempting to set up shop at Azalea Sands Golf Club in the North Myrtle Beach area with a business model that appears to be similar to that of the MB Caddy Girls – an independent business that has provided fun female caddies to groups playing on area courses for the past several years.
Azalea Sands is one of six Strand golf courses operated by East Coast Golf Management, and there is a proposal for Thee Kilted Caddy Club to lease the golf club’s food and beverage operation as well as provide female caddies outfitted in kilts for golfers who request them.
East Coast president Mike Buccerone said the two parties verbally agreed on the initial concept, “though negotiations are still ongoing with regard to the final product. We haven’t signed any business agreements yet,” he said.
Representatives of Thee Kilted Caddy Club declined comment.
Buccerone said he has a meeting scheduled Friday with Thee Kilted Caddy Club representatives that he hopes will cement the partnership.
“I hope the original plan that was discussed comes to fruition,” Buccerone said. “Hopefully Friday we’ll have this wrapped up and move on.”
Thee Kilted Caddy Club was registered Feb. 3 as a limited liability corporation with the S.C. Secretary of State. Horry County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier said company officials have not acquired a business license to operate in unincorporated Horry County, where Azalea Sands is located.
Thee Kilted Caddy is being promoted by David Boehm, the marketing director for Thee DollHouse gentlemen’s club in Atlantic Beach, and the caddie business has been promoted at the adult club, though it appears the two businesses will be operated independently.
Fiesta del Burro Loco waitress Annie Bowen said she was hired as a Kilted Caddy after responding to a Craig’s List posting and meeting with Boehm, and said the caddies have been assured that no women who work at Thee DollHouse will also be working as caddies, and caddies are not permitted to work at Thee DollHouse.
She said she and a group of caddies recently went through about 30 minutes of basic training on caddie duties and took a group picture that is posted at Thee Kilted Caddy page on Facebook.
“It’ll be a fun time,” said Bowen, who has friends who work as Myrtle Beach Caddy Girls but she never applied. “I’m excited to have a job outside all day.”
The caddie uniform, according to Facebook posts on Thee Kilted Caddy page, consists of kilts and low-cut tops, in color combinations that include pink and white.
Thee Kilted Caddy representatives have purchased billboard and radio ads, and Boehm has made public promotional appearances with women purported to be Kilted Caddies and appeared on the Mad Max Morning Show on 107.1-FM last week with three caddies.
Boehm and Thee Kilted Caddy representatives have declined multiple requests for interviews with The Sun News, saying they aren’t ready to discuss the business, though Boehm said Tuesday that an owner would be available for comment on March 31.
Boehm has promoted a rate of $200 for an 18-hole round for two players with a cart and caddie. Bowen said the caddie will receive $100 of that plus tips.
Azalea Sands has caddie-less public rates as high as $59 and is advertising 48-hour rates on its roadside sign of $39 in the morning and $29 in the afternoon per player with a cart.
Buccerone said that one group had hired a caddie but the outing was canceled, so he doesn’t believe any caddies have been on the course with a group yet.
Calls to hire a Kilted Caddy have been going to the Azalea Sands pro shop based on the number provided in advertising. But Buccerone said golf course personnel will not directly book the caddies and Thee Kilted Caddy is establishing its own number for bookings and will be given green fee rates in line with area golf package providers.
The Azalea Sands clubhouse has been renovated by East Coast Golf Management, sectioning off the pro shop from the food and beverage area, which now includes a small dining area, new bar and lounge area with leather couches and a large flat screen television.
So Thee Kilted Caddy Club & Café will potentially have the ability to remain open after the pro shop is closed.
“It looks like a sports bar inside,” said Buccerone, whose company has also replaced the clubhouse roof and purchased a new fleet of golf carts. “We’ve done some good work to it but we don’t have anybody to legally take over the food and beverage operation yet. For now we’re running Azalea Sands Golf Cub as Azalea Sands Golf Club.”
Though new to the market, the idea of female caddies at an individual course isn’t unique. At least four clubs in the Las Vegas market offer similar in-house female caddie programs.
Rio Secco Golf Club has a T-Mate female forecaddie program at a cost of $200 per caddie, and Walters Golf has three courses that offer a Par Mates program for $225 per caddie.
T-Mates have existed for eight years at Rio Secco. Assistant pro John Hildreth organizes the program and said he has 18 caddies and will have up to a dozen in use on a busy weekend day in the spring or fall seasons. “We have good success with it,” Hildreth said. “We get a lot of positive feedback and a lot of repeat business.”
Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284.