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Myrtle Beach Retains Its Status As A Golf Mecca

Monday, July 12th, 2010

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While Myrtle Beach is known worldwide as a golf destination, many probably do not know it’s also where the whole concept of a golf package was conceived.

Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, the non-profit trade association made up of most of the big-name course in the area, came up with the idea of paying one discounted rate for hotel, a few rounds of golf, and sometimes even airfare.

That marketing technique being used as much as ever today, maybe even more so, with the association pushing among its best deals ever due to the nation’s economic situation.

“We have over 100 golf courses from every designer here in the Myrtle Beach area and just the pure quantity of courses makes it a pure golf mecca,” says Steve Mays of Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday. “We did fairly well in 2009, but there are a lot of great deals to be had now. There’s a lot of buy four, get five rounds, same with the hotel nights. There are a lot of deals to be had here right now. Over 50 golf courses offer ‘juniors play free’ deals during the summer.”

Among the clubs offering specials is the legendary Dunes Golf and Beach Club, which many credit with helping to make Myrtle Beach the golf hotspot it is today. The story goes that about 60 years ago, members of the Golf Writers Association of America from the Northeast who were driving their way down to cover the Masters in Georgia each spring were looking for a good halfway point to stop, meet up, and maybe play a round.

Dunes ended up being that spot.

“They started, the golf writers, back in the ‘50s coming here as one of their annual meetings,” explains Dennis Nicholl of Dunes Golf and Beach Club. “And like any outing, it grew and grew and grew and became one of their major events every year at the Dunes Club. And it certainly got some great exposure around the world. There were people coming in from everywhere. That, Cecil Brandon from Brandon Advertising and Clay Britton and some of the names, some of the godfathers of golf, being in town here built Golf Holiday, and that really built the package business and really put Myrtle Beach on the map.”After that, courses were being developed all over Myrtle Beach, from low end to high end, inland to coastal, even the occasional something for the adventurous alligator-loving golfer.

“Obviously we have a lot of people ask us if [the alligators] are fake when they’re laying on the bank, but no, they’re real,” Nicholl says. “And we actually had a few years back, a female member had some guests out here and they thought it was fake and tried to tap in on the head with a club until it moved, and then obviously you’ve never seen a 75-year-old lady run so fast in your life.”

For more on the history of Myrtle Beach golf and current deals, check out GolfHoliday.com.

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