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February 3, 2014

Myrtle Beach council delays vote on fate of Whispering Pines

The Myrtle Beach City Council is not expected to vote Tuesday on a motion that would close the struggling Whispering Pines Golf Course and it is unclear when the topic will be discussed.

The Myrtle Beach City Council is not expected to vote Tuesday on a motion that would close the struggling Whispering Pines Golf Course and it is unclear when the topic will be discussed.

The motion was suggested by Councilwoman Susan Grissom Means, who will not attend Tuesday’s meeting.

“I asked them to delay that item because I’m not going to be there,” Means said.

Assistant city manager Ron Andrews said the golf course has lost an average of $250,000 a year over the last four years.

“And it probably goes further back than that,” he said at a Jan. 14 council workshop. “We just simply can’t compete with the other golf courses.

The 6,700-yard course, which first opened for play in 1962, is the only city- or government-owned course among approximately 100 on the Grand Strand.

In December Andrews proposed to shorten the Whispering Pines layout into an executive course consisting only of par-3 and par-4 holes and eliminating longer par-5s, allowing 40 acres of the course where all or part of holes 1-5 currently are located to be set aside for other recreational uses.

City Council members have expressed different opinions of what the city should do with the golf course.

Councilman Wayne Gray said he was in favor of the executive course transition. Councilman Mike Lowder said he agreed with the idea of closing the course, but thought a two-week turnaround to make a decision was too quick.

Councilman Randal Wallace said he has always argued to keep the course as is, but is beginning to see that something needs to be done.

Mayor John Rhodes said he eventually wants to close the course, though he wants to delay action until Andrews can present financial and logistical information on the different options for the course at the annual city budget retreat in April.

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