Golf

Bob Gillespie

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

Rain, rain … : Myrtle Beach loses rounds, gains irrigation from daily showers

Posted 7/18/2013 2:35:00 PM

When it rains, it pours … and the wet weather that South Carolina has endured in recent weeks has had an impact – for good and not so good – on golf along Myrtle Beach’s Grand Strand.

That was the judgment of Myrtle Beach course owners interviewed by WPDE-TV reporter April Baker, who concluded that the wet weather was a mixed blessing for the area’s golf courses.

“I wish that I controlled the button, and I could turn rain on at 8 (p.m.) and turn it off at midnight three times a week,” said Claude Pardue, president and CEO of Mystical Golf, which operates three courses – The Witch, The Wizard and Man O’ War – in Myrtle Beach. “But it doesn’t work that way.”

Baker reported that spring rainfall, heavier than the norm, and an unseasonably cold spring took their toll on Grand Strand courses such as Pardue’s and those operated by National Golf Management.

“The heavy amount of rain that we had really impacted those last-minute travelers, those travelers that drive in and, if they see the weather is going to be bad on the weekend or see that we are going to have some rain (on the weekend),” said Steve Mays, vice president for marketing and sales for National Golf Management, which operates such courses as Myrtle Beach National’s three layouts.

Baker said the number of golfers was down, and the number of paid rounds in the spring dropped three percent over 2012. On the other hand, the extra rainfall helped some course owners save on costs for irrigating their properties.

“I don’t have to irrigate and spend the money on irrigation,” Pardue told Baker. “My entire course gets water as opposed to just the places that my sprinkler hits or that I throw water at. And not irrigating for a few days (also) saves a bit on electricity.”

The increased rainfall also helped make courses greener and thus more attractive to players, Pardue told WPDE. “People that played my three golf courses (this week) had an incredibly good experience, and a lot of that is because (of) the beauty of the golf course which is, in part, because of the rain you’re talking about.”

Nearly midway through the summer season (June-August), Myrtle Beach courses are much more eye-appealing due to the rain. That should carry over into the fall season starting in September – the second of the year’s “peak” golf seasons along with the spring – according to WPDE’s Baker.

To view Baker’s “Carolina Live” report, click here.