The Kilted Caddy Club & Café at Azalea Sands Golf Club in the North Myrtle Beach area is a step closer to becoming a reality.
But rather than compete with the established Myrtle Beach Caddy Girls, organizers of the business are joining forces with them.
A newly-formed group that registered Thee Kilted Caddy Club on Feb. 3 as a limited liability corporation with the S.C. Secretary of State has reached an agreement to lease the food and beverage operation at Azalea Sands and will provide female caddies to golfers who request them.
The group initially assembled its own staff of caddies, but has opted to contract with Myrtle Beach Caddy Girls to provide the caddies in Kilted Caddy-specific attire that will include kilts and collared polo-style shirts.
“If there’s going to be any competition it’s good to be a part of it,” said Myrtle Beach Caddy Girls owner Meghan Tarmey. “Either way they were going to do it, so I want to do it right. I want to be an outside company to come in and help them build it and provide the caddying services.”
Myrtle Beach Caddy Girls is an independent business that has provided fun female caddies outfitted in skirts or shorts, golf shirts, knee-high argyle socks and sneakers to groups playing on most area courses for the past several years.
Tarmey, a Myrtle Beach resident and Coastal Carolina graduate, has expanded the business into several cities across the U.S.
Mike Buccerone, president of East Coast Golf Management, which operates Azalea Sands, expects Kilted Caddies to be available and The Kilted Caddy Club & Café to take over the course’s food and beverage operation by early June. Contract details between the three parties are still being finalized.
“Everything will roll out at the same time,” Buccerone said. “We’ll get everybody on the same page and properly trained and move forward. All three parties have worked hard to get everybody on the same page, and I think it will be the best for everybody.
“I think it will be cool.”
The Azalea Sands clubhouse has been renovated by East Coast Golf Management. The pro shop has been separated 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. An outside deck is also being built.
So The Kilted Caddy Club & Café will potentially have the ability to remain open after the pro shop is closed.
“I think it will increase the golf traffic,” Buccerone said. “Whether somebody takes a caddie or not, that’s an added amenity. But I think what we’ve done to the restaurant compared to what it was, and putting a deck out back, it’s a place to have a drink if you’re not playing or just a place to hang out. The clubhouse has a whole new look and feel, and I like it.”
East Coast Golf Management will continue to operate the food and beverage operation until the expected June grand opening celebration.
Tarmey said a caddie locker room or dressing room is in the works. “It would be great for us to have a place where we can play on our down time,” Tarmey said. “We can hang out a couple hours and hit balls and if a group comes along that wants a caddie we’ll be there. It would be nice to have like a home golf course where we can hang out some.”
The involvement of the Caddy Girls has resulted in a few changes to the Kilted Caddy business plan.
David Boehm, the marketing director for Thee DollHouse gentlemen’s club who had been promoting Kilted Caddy, said he is no longer with the company. “Thee” has been shortened to “The” in the business’ title, and Tarmey said kilts will be lengthened some from the original uniforms and low-cut tops that exposed caddies’ stomachs are being replaced by polo shirts. “Those [original] uniforms are null and void,” Tarmey said.
A rate of $200 for an 18-hole round for two players with a cart and caddie has been promoted for The Kilted Caddy, though it’s subject to change as the business develops.
“They’re going to make more money on food and beverage and I’ll make more money on cross promotion and my girls getting the exposure,” Tarmey said.
It has been a busy year for the Myrtle Beach Caddy Girls.
Tarmey said she has 64 women employed as caddies, and after a flat January and February compared to last year, she said March was up 20 percent and she has had 30 or more caddies working in a single day several times over the past few weeks. She had 32 hired Saturday.
“We’ve been very busy with bookings every day,” Tarmey said. “April has picked up a lot and we have bookings through July. Half of those people are repeat customers, some that have been coming for five years and using us.”
Hootie MAM adds names
Comedian Larry The Cable Guy, Pro Football Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson, Bruce Smith and Richard Dent, and 2002 PGA Championship winner Rich Beem are among the recent commitments to the Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters Celebrity Pro-Am.
The event will be held at the Barefoot Resort Dye Club next Monday, and is sold out of all playing spots and spectator tickets.
Other athletes and celebrities who have recently committed include former NFL cornerback Jason Sehorn, wrestler Ric Flair, former Major League Baseball pitcher Chuck Finley, actor/comedian Gary Valentine, musicians Josh Kelley and Johnny Lee, and ESPN personality Stuart Scott.
They are added to a list of prior commitments that includes sports hall of famers Marcus Allen and Rick Barry, NASCAR driver and team owner Michael Waltrip, NHL Hall of Fame goaltender Grant Fuhr, and current or former football players Jim McMahon, Jimbo Covert, Mike Quick, George Rogers, Connor Shaw, Patrick DiMarco, Sterling Sharpe and Mike Golic.
Each amateur foursome in the event plays with a celebrity and pro golfer. In addition to Beem, pro golfers who have recently committed include PGA Tour member and former Grand Strand resident Kris Blanks, local touring pro Zack Byrd, Naval Academy graduate and Web.com Tour member Billy Hurley, who actively served in the Navy following graduation from 2004-09, Carl Paulson and Sam Saunders, the grandson of past Hootie participant Arnold Palmer.
They have been added to a list of commitments that includes golf legend Nancy Lopez, LPGA member Austin Ernst and PGA Tour champions Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, John Daly, Lee Elder, Tommy Gainey, Ken Duke, Billy Horschel, Brian Gay, Woody Austin, Scott Brown, Robert Gamez, Chris DiMarco, Jay Don Blake, Matt Bettencourt and Derek Lamely.
Among those who have withdrawn their names from the list of commitments are San Francisco 49ers running back and former USC Gamecock Marcus Lattimore, NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin, musician Johnny Lang and hockey legend Wayne Gretzky.
Finding a facility
First-year Coastal Carolina men’s golf coach Kevin McPherson is still in search of land near the university for an extensive practice facility that the school’s golf programs can call their own, and believes he’s slowly making progress.
“I feel like we’re getting a little closer,” McPherson said. “I met with some guys about the possibilities across [U.S.] 501. At least we’re meeting about it. We are talking about it, we just haven’t seen anything on paper.
“… Things don’t move as quickly as I want them to, based on being a little selfish for the players and trying to help them get better and find a facility that’s going to help them get better.”
McPherson said some of the large property across 501 from the college is partially owned by the university and partially owned by distributors that have operations there. That would be the ideal location, though he’d be content with anything within a five-mile radius of campus. He has high hopes if he’s able to create the facility.
“That’s the missing link. That’s the key to the puzzle,” McPherson said. “We’ve got a great place around here with golf courses, great academics and a university that’s just expanding. Hopefully it expands a little more toward the golf end.
“That’s the only thing we’re missing to be able to compete for some of the South Carolina recruits against Clemson and Carolina. Maybe one day we surpass them on the recruiting end. It could definitely happen.”
If the tract of land were large enough, McPherson would be open to sharing it with CCU’s Professional Golf Management Program or a First Tee program. “We’re trying to explore all avenues,” he said.
McPherson said he’ll worry about building a clubhouse and hitting bays after identifying some land. “We just need a practice facility for now,” he said. “… A practice facility is going to help us big-time.”
Prestwick on roster
For the first time in the 17-year history of the National Father & Son Team Classic presented by PGA Tour Superstore, Prestwick Country Club will be in the rotation of host courses.
There are eight courses committed for the 2014 event, which will be played July 24-26. It is expected to attract more than 1,000 players.
Prestwick joins Crow Creek Golf Club, Indian Wells Golf Club, King’s North at Myrtle Beach National, Long Bay Golf Club, Love Course at Barefoot Resort, Parkland Course at Legends Resort and Rivers Edge Golf Club.
Golf Ball on tap
The South Carolina Junior Golf Foundation will hold its 13th annual Columbia Golf Ball and Masters Viewing Party at the Moore Building on the state fairgrounds from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Thursday.
The event will include a silent auction, live auction, prizes, heavy hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. Tickets are $60 per person or $100 per couple and can be purchased at the door or through the SCJGF office by calling 803-732-9311.
Proceeds from the Golf Ball support junior golf development programs in South Carolina and nearly $500,000 has been raised over its first 12 years.
Items available include a Lowcountry deer hunting trip for two, tickets to the RBC Heritage and U.S. Open, a Napa Valley wine tour, autographed memorabilia and more than 100 rounds of golf in the state.
Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284. To view Blondin’s blog, Green Reading, or Twitter page, @alanblondin, visit myrtlebeachonline.com.