Golf

Fore!: Some Myrtle Beach-area golf courses have already reopened, others on the brink

A tree sits uprooted at the Surf Club in North Myrtle Beach after high winds from Hurricane Florence.
A tree sits uprooted at the Surf Club in North Myrtle Beach after high winds from Hurricane Florence. jbell@thesunnews.com

The Myrtle Beach golf industry has proven to be resilient in the wake of weather occurrences that have forced courses to temporarily close, and it is again bouncing back quickly from Hurricane Florence.

Several golf courses reopened on Monday as Florence was just exiting the area as a tropical depression, and most will be reopening in the coming days.

The Grand Strand should be nearly at full strength with approximately 90 courses, including 80 that are open to the public, reopening by the end of the week and will be nearly unblemished by the onset of the fall golf season.

Most courses avoided serious damage from the storm and required only the cleanup of tree limbs and debris, and in some cases the recession of water.

“The positive thing is there is not a lot of significant damage out there,” said Steve Mays, president of Founders Group International, which owns and operates 22 Strand courses. “It’s just waiting on water and cleanup. From that perspective we dodged a bullet.”

The forecast for a full week beginning Wednesday of daily highs in the 80s with sunshine will help courses that aren’t impacted by river flooding dry out and provide ideal golf weather.

Courses that reopened Monday include Whispering Pines Golf Club, River Oaks Golf Club, Man O’War, The Wizard and the Grande Dunes Resort Course.

A plethora of courses are scheduled to reopen Tuesday including True Blue, Myrtlewood Golf Club’s PineHills and Palmetto courses, Pawleys Plantation, Tradition Club, Willbrook Plantation, World Tour Golf Links, Pine Lakes Country Club, River Hills Golf & Country Club, Indigo Creek, Wachesaw East, Beachwood Golf Club, Prestwick Country Club and Arrowhead Country Club.

On Wednesday, anticipated reopenings include Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, Glen Dornoch, Possum Trot, The Pearl East and West courses, Crow Creek, Thistle Golf Club, International Club of Myrtle Beach, Arcadian Shores Golf Club, Colonial Charters, Diamondback Golf Club, Litchfield Country Club, Long Bay Club and River Club.

Courses expected to open Thursday include Tidewater Plantation and Golf, Rivers Edge Golf Club and Farmstead Golf Links.

At the four-course Barefoot Resort, the Dye and Love courses are expected to reopen Tuesday, the Fazio Course on Wednesday and the Norman Course either Thursday or Friday.

At the four-course Ocean Ridge Plantation in Sunset Beach, N.C., Tiger’s Eye and Leopard’s Chase are expected to reopen Wednesday, and Lion’s Paw and Panther’s Run are scheduled to reopen Thursday.

The three-course Sea Trail Plantation in Sunset Beach plans to reopen its Jones Course on Wednesday and the Byrd and Maples courses by Thursday or Friday.

Arnold Palmer Golf Management has five courses in the area, including three at Legends Resort, where the tentative schedule is to reopen the Heathland Course Wednesday, Moorland on Thursday and Parkland on Friday. Heritage Club and Oyster Bay Golf Links could reopen later in the week.

At the three-course Myrtle Beach National Golf Club, the Southcreek Course has an anticipated Wednesday reopening, while the West and King’s North courses will likely need a few more days for water to recede. Other FGI courses Indian Wells, Wild Wing Plantation, TPC Myrtle Beach and Founders Club at Pawleys Island are also waiting to dry out.

“Altogether we fared pretty well, and before the rains Sunday and Sunday night we’d probably have a bunch more golf courses open tomorrow,” Mays said.

Two courses that may have prolonged waits for a full reopening are The Witch off Highway 544 and Aberdeen Country Club off Highway 9. Both are expected to be impacted by the Waccamaw River, which is expected to set a new record for its water level and flooding.

The Witch head pro Graham Williams said he hopes to have the back nine opened later this week but the front nine is susceptible to Waccamaw flooding.

“We’ve been through it three or four times now, we’ve gotten accustomed to it now,” Williams said. “When it rains like this we know the river is coming up. It never affects the front nine as far as the grass, you just can’t get around with a cart.”

In anticipation of heavy flooding at Aberdeen, golf carts, maintenance equipment and other belongings have been removed from the golf course. Flooding during historic rainfall in 2015 did not reach the clubhouse, but flooding after Hurricane Matthew in 2016 did.

“We’ll hope for the best there and hope it stays out of the clubhouse, but we’re prepared as much as you can be for rising water,” said Mays, whose company owns and operates Aberdeen.

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