Golf Holiday: Rounds increased during peak golf months

By Jennifer Grove - bio | email

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday says rounds were up during the peak golf season this spring.

Overall though, it has been an up-and-down six months for the business of golf in the Grand Strand.

"We were hoping for a good year starting right out of the gates January 1, and the weather didn't help us," Dave Genevro, general manager of Barefoot Resort and Golf, said.

Come March, however, they say they could not have asked for much more in terms of weather.

"Nature and fate kind of smiled on us this spring at a time when we needed it," Chris King with Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday said.

Golf Holiday had been hoping cabin fever built up over the winter would send more golfers down in the spring.

"I think we saw the results of some of that," King said. "I think there was a lot of pent up demand for golf and we were fortunate there was an up-tick of rounds played."

King says the area was up about 5.5 percent for the busiest months of the year: March, April, and May.

"That's not to say that everything is ideal," King added. "We've still got a long way to go to get back where we need and want to be, but we believe the spring of 2010 was a good step in the right direction."

Even though there were more tee offs, King says aggressive discounts chipped away at profit margins.

"The golf market here is not immune from the forces that have affected the entire economy," King acknowledged. "So, yes, there was aggressive pricing throughout the spring and that certainly played a role in the increased play."

"Everybody here at the beach, we had to entice the golfers to come down," Genevro echoed. "There were free nights free rounds, discounted rates. We all had to do that to compete with other destinations."

Barefoot says they were still able to come out ahead, but not everyone was so lucky. King says while rounds may have been up, many courses saw revenue remain fairly flat.

King says now that the weather is heating up, so is another round of summer discounts as they look to bring in more visitors so the Grand Strand golf game can come out on par.

"I think what you're seeing is a lot of the people coming down here on vacation [and] now they're packing the clubs," King said. "You get the eight o'clock tea time, your off by noon and you know the heat's not that big of a factor."

To entice golfers out onto the links later in the day, many courses offer afternoon tee time discounts.

King says summer golf is becoming an increasingly important shoulder season and he expects the Grand Strand will see that trend manifest itself this summer.

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