Golf

This popular North Myrtle Beach golf course has been spared for at least another month

Possum Trot Golf Club’s signature hole is the 203-yard 13th, which features a bulkheaded water hazard fronting the putting surface that gets longer the farther left you go nearly to the back of the green. The green is backed by four bunkers.
Possum Trot Golf Club’s signature hole is the 203-yard 13th, which features a bulkheaded water hazard fronting the putting surface that gets longer the farther left you go nearly to the back of the green. The green is backed by four bunkers. The Sun News file photo

Possum Trot Golf Club has been given a reprieve for at least an extra month.

The Glens Group’s long-term lease to operate the North Myrtle Beach golf course expires at the end of this month, but the company has been granted another month by the course’s owners.

A request to the City of North Myrtle Beach to redevelop the course into residential housing and annex it into North Myrtle Beach was withdrawn in late August.

But Oct. 31 will likely be the final closing date for the 51-year-old, 6,966-yard Russell Breeden design.

“We’ll be open through October,” Glens Group and course general manager George Gore said. “I lose money in November and December so I’m not going to stay open for that. . . . [November] used to be [golf season] but it’s not anymore.”

Gore would be willing to extend the Glens Group’s operation of the course at least through the spring golf season but he believes there is a sales contract on the property that takes effect at the end of the year.

The 167-acre property is owned by a trust involving dozens of members of the Bell, Edge and Gore families – who are no relation to George Gore.

Possum Trot’s land is currently zoned SF6, which allows for single-family homes with minimum lot sizes of 6,000 square feet – the equivalent of about seven homes per acre.

In an email sent to North Myrtle Beach city officials on Aug. 24, attorney Robert “Shep” Guyton pulled the application, saying it was the result of resident concerns voiced during recent meetings.

The city received in July the initial redevelopment proposal to convert the layout into a mixed-use project called Tidal Walk from Guyton, who is representing the prospective purchaser of the property. Residents and the North Myrtle Beach Planning Commission have expressed concern over the density of the project and the detriment it could have to traffic.

The original request for annexation and a Planned Development District zoning distinction included 452 single-family detached homes, 264 attached multifamily units, and eight acres of an assisted living facility, with associate medical services that would include 60 to 80 beds.

After two workshop meetings, a new proposal was submitted at the commission’s Aug. 8 workshop that included reducing the total units to 512 in addition to the assisted living facility.

The new proposal also included three access points — one off Possum Trot Road and two off Tom E. Chestnut Road — and had about 54 acres of open space or pond area.

However, the reduced plan still didn’t appease residents or planning members, who deferred voting on the annexation three times, thereby noting keeping the recommendation from reaching NMB City Council for a vote.

Though the request for annexation has been withdrawn, Gore believes a redevelopment proposal will be reincarnated. “I don’t think they’re giving up,” Gore said.

Club fitter and club repairman Al Cloyd is based at Possum Trot but plans to move his operation to the Beachwood Golf Club driving range, where a building is being built for his use.

The road back

Former Myrtle Beach resident Roberto Diaz will have to make his way back to the PGA Tour through the Korn Ferry Tour (formerly the Web.com Tour) again.

Diaz elevated to the PGA Tour by finishing 25th on the 2017 Korn Ferry Tour regular season money list, claiming the final card given to the top 25 on the PGA’s feeder circuit. He retained PGA Tour status with a top-50 finish in the 2018 Korn Ferry Tour Finals series.

But after finishing 155th in the 2019 FedExCup standings, he finished 52nd in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals series, capped by a tie for 56th in the Korn Ferry Tour Championship on Sept. 2, and will have full Korn Ferry status in 2020 but no PGA Tour status.

Diazcardphoto
Roberto Diaz poses for a photo with his tour card in August 2017 after the final round of the WinCo Foods Portland Open at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) Steve Dykes Getty Images courtesy PGA Tour

Players in positions 125-200 in 2019 FedExCup points at the end the regular season were qualified for the Korn Ferry Tour finals and guaranteed full status on that tour in 2020 if they didn’t finish in the top 50 in the series to earn PGA Tour status.

The 32-year-old Mexico native lived in Myrtle Beach for seven years after graduating from USC Aiken in 2009 and represented the Champions Golf Academy at Barefoot Resort. He still lists Myrtle Beach as his residence on his PGA Tour profile.

This past season, he made 14 cuts in 23 starts, including two top-10s and five top-25s, and earned $620,178 after making just $235,635 as a rookie, when he had just one top-25 finish. He is 412th in the Official World Golf Ranking.

His best finish in 2019 was a tie for eighth in the Travelers Championship in June, and he shot a 62 on July 11 to hold the first-round lead in the John Deere Classic before falling into a tie for 74th.

He also tied for second in the ISPS Handa Melbourne World Cup of Golf in Australia in November, which is an unofficial PGA Tour event. He paired with reigning Australian Open winner Abraham Ancer to give Mexico its best finish in the two-person team event, besting a seventh-place effort in 1953.

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Alan Blondin covers golf, Coastal Carolina athletics and numerous other sports-related topics that warrant coverage. Well-versed in all things Myrtle Beach, Horry County and the Grand Strand, the Northeastern University journalism school valedictorian has been a sports reporter at The Sun News since 1993, earning eight top-10 Associated Press Sports Editors national writing awards and 18 top-three S.C. Press Association writing awards since 2007.
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