NORTH MYRTLE BEACH — In the words of Aundie Pemberton, marketing director for the Kilted Caddy Club & Café at Azalea Sands Golf Club, a new experience in Myrtle Beach golf tees off this weekend that “is going to be fun, bubbly and summertime happiness basically on the golf course.”
The business has a grand opening at 11 a.m. Saturday that will include a pig roast, bagpipe band, performance by singer and Kilted Caddy Mackenzie Rose, Blu Energy promo girls, live radio station remotes and a get-acquainted rate for Kilted Caddies.
The introductory rate for this weekend is $99 for a twosome, cart and caddy that will purportedly provide merriment along with some caddy duties. Pricing thereafter is expected to fluctuate with the market and time of year, starting Monday with a summer rate that is less than $50 per golfer plus either $150 or $130 per caddy, depending on whether the group is a twosome or foursome.
The Kilted Caddy uniform consists of a white collared polo golf shirt accented in pink plaid, a pink plaid kilt and knee-high white socks.
“We’re following along the lines of restaurant chains like Tilted Kilt, Twin Peaks and Hooters, that have done well, and we’re taking that concept to the golf course,” Kilted Caddy president Kevin Brady said. “The idea is to open and prove out this model and take it to Florida. Then we’ll look at other destinations like Texas, Arizona, California and Nevada where they have 350 days of sun. This is our beta test.”
The Kilted Caddy Club & Café will be operating through a five-year lease with a five-year option with the course owners and East Coast Golf Management, which manages the pro shop and golf course operation. East Coast operates six Strand courses.
“We’ve got a new concept and it’s going to be a win-win for everybody,” East Coast president Mike Buccerone said.
Kilted Caddy Club has contracted with Myrtle Beach Caddy Girls owner Meghan Tarmey to provide the Kilted Caddies. Tarmey’s business 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. Each caddy has at least minimal training in caddy duties.
Azalea Sands will be the home course for the Myrtle Beach Caddy Girls as well, complete with a locker room. “If we do it right and maintain a very high level of professionalism and the girls do their jobs right, I think everybody will be happy,” Tarmey said.
Caddies will be only one aspect of the Kilted Caddy Club & Café experience.
For starters, Azalea Sands has 20 pink carts with the Kilted Caddy logo. Ten of the carts have the logo of sponsor Tito’s vodka and the other 10 have a Jim Beam logo.
The bar, restaurant and lounge areas will remain open until at least 10 p.m. nightly, as Brady hopes to attract additional customers from outside Azalea Sands. “This will be the spot where the golfers from all over the area, no matter what course they’re playing, can come over here when they’re finished and enjoy some good food and drink,” Brady said.
An octagon caddy shack in front of the clubhouse will have a caddy or two at the ready, a renovated patio has a pergola covering that can be open or closed, and the area around the clubhouse is expected to include a gas grill, gas fire pit in a sandbox, stage for a “Concerts on the Green Summer Series” and other entertainment, cornhole, horseshoes and darts.
Because there are few houses around Azalea Sands, “that gives us the freedom to play music and have a fun atmosphere,” Brady said.
A lounge has a pair of couches and a pair of large flatscreen TVs, the bar has been renovated, the dining room has four TVs.
A liquor menu with specialty drinks has been created and a new menu features breakfast sandwiches, appetizers, salads, sandwiches, entrees, snacks and deserts. A line of Kilted Caddy merchandise will be available for purchase.
“They’ve really put a lot of money behind renovating the clubhouse. It’s really nice,” Buccerone said. “They’re trying to make it a social atmosphere, so if it works it will be great.
“I’m excited we had a group that was able to come in and spend the money to do the necessary renovations for Azalea Sands where I think it will be a benefit to everybody.”
The front and back nines have been flipped so the ninth finishes at the clubhouse, encouraging players to stop into the restaurant at the turn.
The Kilted Caddy Club will have signature nights, beginning with Champagne Wednesdays, a gathering of Myrtle Beach Caddy Girls and Kilted Caddies that is open to the public running from noon into the evening. A theme for Saturdays is being developed.
Brady has hired Pemberton from Oklahoma, Jack Glasure as the restaurant and bar manager and Katie Fisher as an executive assistant and caddy liaison.
The club also has its own bartenders and servers who will be trained to be caddies when business warrants it – they will have shorts and black logo shirts while working inside –and Brady said he’ll always welcome more applicants.
Brady said the Kilted Caddy business is owned by a group of investors, and he can exercise an ownership interest at his discretion.
Rounds with a Kilted Caddy at Azalea Sands can be booked by calling 843-272-1881.
Though new to the market, the concept of female caddies at an individual course exists elsewhere, including four clubs in the Las Vegas market. Rio Secco Golf Club has had a T-Mates female forecaddy program for the past eight years at a cost of $200 per caddy, and Walters Golf has three courses that offer a Par Mates program for $225 per caddy.
Rio Secco assistant pro John Hildreth organizes the T-Mates program and said in March that up to a dozen will be in use simultaneously on a busy weekend in the spring or fall seasons.