The Myrtle Beach golf market is starting to get back to full strength following an outbreak of winterkill damage that caused more than a dozen courses to close at least nine holes for green renovations.
Four of the courses have reopened with new greens and others in the market are nearing a reopening, are in the midst of renovations or have largely recovered as Bermudagrass thrives in the summer heat.
International Club of Myrtle Beach, Aberdeen Country Club, Panther’s Run Golf Links and Lion’s Paw Golf Links have all reopened 18 holes with new greens.
International Club in Murrells Inlet closed on Memorial Day and reopened last Monday with Sunday ultradwarf Bermuda greens. While it was closed, the entire course was aerated, bunker drainage was improved on a number of holes and landscaping was done around the course, including new mulch around the clubhouse.
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“This was something we needed to do for a while, it wasn’t just the winterkill that did it,” International Club general manager Doug Donner said. “It’s amazing how quick it has grown in and they’re in great shape.”
For the remainder of July, the club is having a daily raffle using a percentage of green fees and has been giving out roughly $500 to $700 in prizes every day. Winners are informed through emails. The course also instituted a two-person team event with either best ball or scramble formats on Saturday afternoons for the remainder of the summer.
Panther’s Run at the four-course Ocean Ridge Plantation in Sunset Beach, N.C., closed on June 4 and reopened Thursday with TifEagle ultradwarf Bermuda greens that replaced MiniVerde Bermuda. Ocean Ridge golf operations and retail manager Roxanne Powell said there will soon be sand trap renovations and sod added to perimeter areas of holes on the course that have thinned out.
“We have to make a big splash for next spring since spring hurt us this year,” Powell said.
Lion’s Paw, another Ocean Ridge course, closed on June 4 and reopened on June 15 with 10 new greens that were sodded with MiniVerde ultradwarf Bermuda to match the course’s other eight greens. Ocean Ridge is running special pricing this summer.
“We’re excited to have everything back up and running and be back to 100 percent,” Powell said.
Aberdeen Country Club closed June 9 and reopened 18 of its 27 holes on July 9 after seven greens on the Woodlands and Meadows nines were replanted with TifEagle sprigs.
Aberdeen’s Highlands nine is still closed as its ninth green has been sodded and other greens continue to recover, and it could reopen next week. Some painting and cleaning was done while the entire course was closed.
The Bay nine at the 27-hole Sandpiper Bay Golf Club in Sunset Beach, N.C., is expected to reopen late next week with new Sunday Bermuda greens, and the course has a full 18 holes with the reopening of four greens with Sunday Bermuda on the Sand nine. Temporary greens were being used since the greens closed in early June.
On the Bay nine, more than 300 tree stumps left from the removal of trees this winter were removed and ground up, root-pruning was done to prevent tree roots from pervading cart paths and playing areas, and thin areas of fairways were sodded.
All but one green at the 54-hole Sea Trail Plantation in Sunset Beach, N.C., are open after a number of greens were sodded with Champion Bermuda last month. Six temporary greens were being used on the Byrd and Jones courses, and all but one on the Byrd Course are no longer needed. That green should reopen within a week.
Long Bay Club in Longs is expected to reopen within a couple weeks. It closed on June 14 to allow its Champion Bermuda greens to recover.
Brick Landing in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., is the most recent course to close for renovations and is replacing its Jones Bermuda greens with Sunday Bermuda. The course closed on June 28 and has an anticipated reopening on Sept. 12.
While the course is closed, the third fairway is being redone, approximately 30 trees are being removed to decrease shade around greens and hopefully improve conditioning, sprinkler heads around greens have been replaced, and a couple tee boxes have been sodded. The driving range teeing area and practice putting green are also being renovated.
Glen Dornoch Waterway Golf Links, Tradition Club, Myrtlewood Golf Club’s PineHills Course, Indigo Creek Golf Club, Diamondback Golf Club and Legends Resort’s Moorland Course are all also replacing greens and are expected to reopen later this summer.
Winterkill is a term used to describe grass that is damaged or killed by harsh winter conditions. It affects warm-season grasses, and warm-weather Bermuda is the predominant turf on greens, tees, fairways and roughs in the Carolinas.
It’s believed the widespread winterkill was caused by an ice storm and several consecutive days of below-freezing weather in early January, and may have been exacerbated by frosts in March following a warm February.