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Disappearing Golf

It was announced recently that the Wild Wing Planation, a golf resort in Myrtle Beach, would be developing condos on several of its courses. Only one course will remain when all is said and done.

It was announced recently that the Wild Wing Planation, a golf resort in Myrtle Beach, would be developing condos on

Wild Wing Golf

Myrtle’s disappearing golf

several of its courses. Only one course will remain when all is said and done.

This is indicative of the problems facing golf in the U.S. Areas like Myrtle Beach, Northern Michigan and others are tremendously overbuilt, leading to falling green fees and the deduction by owners that they’d be better off developing the land than waiting for players to return to their fairways.
This has yet to happen in Canada — but don’t bet that some courses aren’t already considering the idea. There are several courses in the Toronto area with for sale signs out (including some well known ones) and last year saw the bankruptcy of Paris Grand. Canada’s golf courses aren’t in dire positions — yet.
Here’s the entire list of courses that have closed or are scheduled to close in Myrtle Beach, courtesy of the city’s local newspaper. I’ve played a few of them, and though there are a few standouts, the list is proof that there was a lot of marginal golf in the area.
Burning Ridge West | Myrtle Beach, closed 9 holes in June 2005 for housing, the other 9 contracted to a developer
Robbers Roost | Myrtle Beach, closed in 2003, undeveloped
Crown Park | Longs, closed 9 of 27 holes in 2003, contracted to become homes
Gator Hole | North Myrtle Beach, redeveloped in 1999
Raccoon Run | Myrtle Beach, closed in Aug. 14, 2005, for housing
Belle Terre | Myrtle Beach, closed Nov. 4, 2005, for housing
Bay Tree Plantation | North Myrtle Beach, all 54 holes expected to close for housing May 16, 2006
Colonial Charters | Longs, submitted plan to alter course for redevelopment
Eastport | Little River, expected to close for redevelopment in spring 2006
Deer Track South | Surfside Beach, owner negotiating sale to homebuilder
Island Green | Myrtle Beach, Owners negotiating with developer that is mulling building homes on at least nine of 27 holes
Wild Wing Plantation | Conway, will redevelop into housing 45 of 72 holes beginning in June
International World Tour | Myrtle Beach, requested zoning change to allow the possibility of condos on 9 holes
GEORGETOWN COUNTYWinyah Bay | Georgetown, closed in January 2005 for housing
BRUNSWICK COUNTYCalabash Golf Links | Calabash, N.C., closed Nov. 15, 2005, for housing
Marsh Harbour | Calabash, N.C., closed in 2002, undeveloped
Ocean Harbour | Calabash, N.C., closed in 2001, undeveloped
Ocean Isle Beach Golf Club | Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., closed Aug. 14, 2005 for redevelopment
Angels Trace Golf Links | Sunset Beach, N.C., sold to Coastal Communities, plans not announced
In other news: Bob Weeks hinted at a changes to Scoregolf.com in his blog yesterday and I’m thankful to be part of it. Starting soon, I’ll be writing a couple of times a month on the site, largely about golf courses, architecture and how this influences the game. I’m looking forward to it. Joining me will be Ian Leggat and another notable name that I’ll let Bob announce. Of course I won’t be posting those columns here, but I will link to them. Similarly, my National Post golf column starts up next week as well. The expectation is the column will appear either Wednesday or Thursday and I’ll likely post them here on that day…. The Orlando Sentinel’s Steve Elling has announced the Bay Hill tournament will now be called the Arnold Palmer Invitational. It is a smart move… Lorne Rubenstein has a fine column in Golfobserver.com about the plight of Palm Beach Post golf writer Craig Dolch, whose son is suffering from a life threatening illness. Several of golf’s best-known names have chipped in to help.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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