Myrtle Beach does not need another average golf course especially with a dreary ”clubhouse.” However, Myrtle Beach always could benefit from world class attractions and unique entertainment concepts.
Whispering Pines might very well thrive with the following changes and wind up meeting local needs as well as putting more heads in beds:
1. Become a world-class golf training facility. There is really only one in the United States at present at the PGA School at Port St. Lucie, Florida. It caters to very serious golfers and pros and is very expensive. There are some others on the East Coast like at Sea Island, Ga. and Reston, Va. catering to a very high-end clientele.
Whispering Pines could become the world class alternative for the middle class. It has the same amount of land to work with. The amount of infrastructure is surprisingly low and affordable compared to some of the alternate ideas that have been floated. For example, a lighted practice range with a covered tee area, large indoor and outdoor putting greens, multiple sand traps/ chipping areas, etc.
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Also, the indoor facilities would have golf simulators and other state of the art equipment to analyze and assist players at all levels. This level of equipment can be too expensive for individual teaching pros but a relatively modest expense for a large facility. I'm sure that many of the teaching pros around the area would like to be part of this.
2. Allow players to choose how many holes they want to play and charge by the hole. This is catching on elsewhere for people who have limited time, limited budget, are beginners or oldsters, or those who just want to get a little practice in. This would be a great way to present a unique concept...There is not one course on the Grand Strand to my knowledge that encourages anything less than 18 hole play.
3. Replace the clubhouse with a fun brewpub with 30 international beers on tap. A beer expert is already managing the snack bar. As an extra attraction, have golf simulators in the pub.
I think it would not be long before a private hotel chain would want to come in to accommodate the school as well as the airport.
The writer lives in Murrells inlet.