There will be but one kilted female business on the Grand Strand.
The resolution of a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by the Tilted Kilt restaurant chain against The Kilted Caddy Club & Café has resulted in a change in name and operating model for the business at Azalea Sands Golf Club.
The Kilted Caddy Club -- which was the creation of Michael J. Peter, the longtime owner of Thee DollHouse in North Myrtle Beach -- has changed its name to Thee DH Caddy Club and has strengthened its ties to the adult gentleman’s club just a half mile down U.S. 17 South.
The Kilted Caddy Club & Café opened in June 2014 featuring female caddies dressed in plaid kilts, knee-high socks and logo-bearing golf shirts, as well as a festive atmosphere and similarly-dressed female waitresses and bartenders in the Azalea Sands clubhouse’s renovated bar and grill area.
Tilted Kilt, which is scheduled to soon relocate a closed Broadway at the Beach location to 21st Avenue North in Myrtle Beach, filed its lawsuit two weeks after The Kilted Caddy Club’s opening.
Kilted Caddy Club president Kevin Brady stated prior to its opening that despite their ties, Thee DollHouse and the caddy club would remain separate entities and no female DollHouse employees would also be working at Kilted Caddy Club.
But the businesses have now embraced the connection. Peter said in an email to The Sun News through Brady that the DH “stands for DollHouse,” and the slogan on the entrance sign is the same as the adult club’s slogan: “Thee Legend Lives On.”
“Thee DH Caddy Club caters to a golfing clientele during the day and then provides a Mercedes van (for transportation), VIP tables and top notch service in the evenings,” Peter said. “… While having fun in the evening with your buddies you can hire your cocktail waitress or entertainer to caddy if she's completed the caddy training, or just have her pour your drinks and keep score.”
Peter, a national mogul of adult entertainment and spinoff businesses who is also affiliated with the Pure Platinum and Solid Gold franchises, termed the case’s resolution as a sale of the Kilted Caddy Club to Tilted Kilt that is “part of a mutually beneficial settlement agreement.”
“We acquired some of the rights to the names and it has been resolved to our satisfaction,” said Mike Lynch, corporate counsel for Tilted Kilt and the brother of company CEO/president Ron Lynch.
Though it now owns the name, Lynch said Tilted Kilt has no intention of opening Kilted Caddy businesses.
“We’re not going to be doing the same thing they’re doing on the golf course,” Lynch said. “We have [Tilted] Kilt girls present at golf events, but we’re not going to be using the caddy club. We do have rights, but we have our own brand.”
The case concluded on Oct. 30 with a Stipulated Judgment on all of Tilted Kilt’s claims against The Kilted Caddy Club “pursuant to a confidential settlement agreement between the parties … with all parties bearing their own costs and fees,” wrote U.S. District Court of South Carolina judge Bruce Howe Hendricks.
Under the agreement and judgment, The Kilted Caddy Club is permanently prohibited from selling products, offering services or creating an internet entity using the words “Kilt,” “Kilted Caddy” and/or “Kilted Caddy Club & Café,” or using its previous logo or caddie uniform. Caddies are now wearing a plaid green skirt and polo golf shirt with the new DH Caddy Club logo as well as socks over the calves.
The Tilted Kilt is also taking over all websites and social media accounts affiliated with Kilted Caddy Club, and it appears the websites, Twitter and Facebook accounts for Kilted Caddy Club have all been taken down or transitioned to Thee DH Caddy Club. A new DH Caddy Club website is expected to be operating by 3 p.m. Tuesday.
The Kilted Caddy Club & Café has been operating through a five-year food and beverage vendor lease, with an option for an additional five years, with East Coast Golf Management, which manages Azalea Sands and its pro shop through a lease and management agreement with the course’s owners.
Brady said the contracts with East Coast have been transferred to Thee DH Caddy Club, whose executives hope to expand to other markets where Peter has adult clubs.
East Coast partners Mike Buccerone and Chuck Hutchison could not be reached for comment Monday.
The Kilted Caddy Club initially contracted with the decade-old Myrtle Beach Caddy Girls to provide all caddies, but that arrangement was dissolved after three months when MB Caddy Girls owner Meghan Tarmey cited a breach of contract, which Kilted Caddy Club officials contested in an email to The Sun News.
The Tilted Kilt lawsuit listed as defendants The Kilted Caddy Club & Café, East Coast Golf Management, Thee DollHouse, Michael J. Peter and Associates, and Michael J. Peter. All claims against defendants were dismissed. The case was set to go to trial sometime after July 11, 2016.
Peter said Thee DH Caddy Club has special winter rates of $150 for a caddie and cart for 18 holes and $80 for nine holes, and it will generally offer golf packages from $275 to $2,500 per person, the latter including a VIP booth at Thee DollHouse, chauffered Mercedes-Benz van service and top-level dining, hotel accommodations, liquor and champagne.