Golfers on the Grand Strand who receive new clubs for Christmas may not have to wait long to put them in play.
Many Strand courses plan to be open 364 days per year, closing only on Christmas.
But at least six courses will be hosting golfers on Dec. 25, and they’re already filling their tee sheets.
Indigo Creek Golf Club in Murrells Inlet, River Oaks Golf Club in Myrtle Beach, Beachwood Golf Club in North Myrtle Beach and Eagle Nest Golf Club in Little River will all be open with full service including bag drop, pro shop and snack bar and grill employees, and cart availability.
In addition, Myrtlewood Golf Club’s Palmetto and PineHills courses in Myrtle Beach are expected to be open to walkers at no charge, in keeping with a policy at the course for many years.
All of the openings are weather-permitting, and the forecast for Christmas Day as of Monday afternoon predicts mild temperatures with a high of 65, little wind and a 50-percent chance of morning showers.
“We will not lock our gate and allow the tradition to continue, as long as there is no threat of frost,” said Steve Mays, acting president of Founders Group International, which owns and operates Myrtlewood.
Indigo Creek is open all day with green fees between $23-$29 including taxes and cart.
River Oaks has tee times through 10:52 a.m. and an 18-hole rate of $29 plus tax for locals and $40 plus tax for non-locals.
Beachwood has 18-hole tee times through 12:30 p.m. with green fees up to about $45, and some nine-hole afternoon times.
Eagle Nest is open all day with green fees of $30-$33, and there were already more than 70 players registered as of Monday afternoon.
The Dunes Golf and Beach Club is also open to members only for walking.
The four Big Cats courses at Ocean Ridge Plantation in Sunset Beach, N.C., are closed on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to give employees two days off, and the three courses at Sea Trail Golf Resort in Sunset Beach, N.C., will be closed Christmas Day and just the Jones Course will be open on Christmas Eve.
Many courses are also closing their tee sheets early on Christmas Eve with only morning tee times in order to allow their employees to get home to their families.
Several more groups confirmed their courses would be closed on Dec. 25: Founders Group International’s 22 courses (with the exception of Myrtlewood), Arnold Palmer Golf Management’s five courses including Legends Resort, Mystical Golf’s three courses, Glens Group’s three courses, Barefoot Resort’s four courses, and sister courses Caledonia and True Blue.
Dunes Club renovating
The pro shop at The Dunes Golf and Beach Club is being fully renovated for the first time in about three decades and is projected to reopen around March 1 with new flooring, fixtures and colors that will better match the décor in the rest of the clubhouse.
The pro shop closed on Nov. 15 and the professional golf staff has been working out of a 48x12-foot trailer in the parking lot near the driving range.
Head pro Dennis Nicholl said the renovated pro shop will have two distinct sides that will be open to all visitors. One will have more of a lounge setup that will be member-focused and the other will be a resort side with merchandise geared more toward guests. There will also be a connected room with members-only merchandise featuring a new 1948 logo.
Heating and air, electrical and fire systems are all being replaced, as well.
“It should be a good splash for the membership and good for us to do some things with the merchandise we haven’t been able to do,” Nicholl said. “Because it has been so long it all had to be redone.”
Brunswick hit by fire
It got a little hot on a few holes, but golfers were able to play through a fire Thursday that burned the member clubhouse located at the pool at Brunswick Plantation & Golf Resort in Calabash, N.C.
The building, which housed an indoor pool, gym, library, offices and a meeting room, is a total loss.
Firefighters from North Myrtle Beach and Horry County were among several crews that helped control the fire.
The burned building is only about 50 yards from the golf clubhouse that contains a pro shop, restaurant and real estate offices, and the two share a common parking area, but the golf clubhouse was reportedly never in danger and play continued unabated.
Dresser, Barefoot recognized
The Steve Dresser Golf Academy at True Blue Golf Club in Pawleys Island and Barefoot Resort & Golf have each been recognized as a Top 50 in America Public Golf Facility and Driving Range by the Golf Range Association of America (GRAA) in the December 2017 issue.
Additionally, Steve Dresser was named to the GRAA “Top 50 Growth of the Game Teaching Professionals,” which recognizes instructors who are focused on growing the game.
The Top 50 Ranges/Public Facilities recognizes public facilities with nine holes or more of regulation golf that emphasize the range as a core amenity essential to the facility’s instruction and club-fitting programs while offering the general public a quality facility to hone their own games.
The large Barefoot driving range has 75 grass tees, measured greens and flags as targets, bunkers, lights, a putting green, three heated bays, several forms of technology used in teaching and fitting, food and beverage at Putters Pub, and weekly clinics through the Alasdair Dyer Golf Academy. Barefoot dispenses approximately 5 million range balls per year, according to the GRAA.
This is the third consecutive year the Dresser Academy has received the recognition. It features a short game practice area, bunkers, practice green, measured targets, indoor bays with mats, food and beverage, new range balls every three months, and teaching and fitting technology, and offers vacation golf schools, clinics, demo days and junior programs. The academy offers club-fitting using seven major brand fitting carts.
Dresser said he spends at least 40 hours per week teaching, and the academy is involved with juniors, seniors, women and minorities, is involved with the community through free clinics and speaking engagements, offers 11 different golf school options per week plus after school clinics and summer camps for juniors, adult clinics, short game schools, demo days, fitting days, etc.
“I guess they look for those who offer the ‘whole package,’ are generous with their time, teach players from all walks of life, devote most of their time to teaching and developing players and keep up with the latest technology,” Dresser said. “I've always felt that growing the game is my strongest suit.”
Player cards available
The First Tee of the Coastal Carolinas has released its 2018 Player Card, which for $100 gives holders rounds for between $25-$40 including carts at 29 courses in and around Brunswick County.
The card is designed for one round at that rate at each course, though some participating courses allow more discounted rounds. All card proceeds benefit the local chapter of the First Tee youth development organization, which impacts youth in Horry and Georgetown counties, and several counties in North Carolina.
Tee times for card holders must generally be made within 24 to 48 hours of the time. Participating courses include the four courses at Ocean Ridge Plantation, three courses at Sea Trail Resort, Farmstead, Crow Creek, Thistle, The Pearl, Carolina National, Cape Fear National and Rivers Edge.
The First Tee also has a Player Card for an additional 28 courses in other parts of Eastern North Carolina.
To order the card call 910-754-5228 or visit www.thefirstteecoastalcarolinas.org.