Mel Sole has now spent more than a half century helping others improve their golf games.
The 68-year-old native of South Africa and owner/operator of the Mel Sole Golf School is celebrating 50 years as a golf instructor and member of the PGA of South Africa this year, including the past 27 years as an acclaimed instructor on the Grand Strand.
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“We’re in it because we love the game, we love helping people,” Sole said. “If you’re a good teacher and getting good results it gives you a lot of satisfaction. Even taking a 36 handicap and five or six years later they’re a 9 handicap, that makes you feel good and it’s the enjoyment you get out of teaching.”
Sole began teaching on the Strand in 1989 with his own swing instructor and teaching mentor Phil Ritson at the Phil Ritson Golf School at Legends Resort. He said he quickly purchased the business from Ritson, who instructed nine-time major champion Gary Player, and moved the Phil Ritson-Mel Sole Golf School to Pawleys Plantation in 1991.
The name changed to the Mel Sole Golf School a few years ago and he added a second area location in 2012 at the Grande Dunes Resort Course.
The schools are on the move, however. Sole said Founders Group International, which acquired Pawleys Plantation and the Grande Dunes Resort Course in April 2015 as part of a 12-course purchase from National Golf Management, informed him it no longer wants to house his schools.
Sole said he has reached a verbal agreement to move to the Tupelo Bay Golf Center in Garden City Beach, and is still looking for a second location.
“I think [Tupelo Bay] is going to be a really good location for a golf school and the traffic there will work out well for us,” Sole said. “It’s very central and has accommodations right there and will be great for families, so we’re looking forward to a new venture.”
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