City losing big bucks on golf course, searching for other alternatives

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - City documents show the Whispering Pines Golf Course has lost more than $2 million on paper since 2009. Now Myrtle Beach City Council is looking at new ways to try and stop losing money.

"We want to try and look at what specific changes need to be made to take Whispering Pines to a successful development of 200 acres," said Mayor John Rhodes. "Whether it's to continue the golf industry whether it's to go into sports tourism with athletic fields soccer lacrosse softball or even a cross country track."

City staff drew up a new proposal that would cut the existing 18 holes at Whispering Pines down to a shorter, par-62 executive style course. This conversion would also free up 40 acres of land that the city can develop into a new park, sports complex, or athletic fields.

As part of the agreement that past the course on from the military to the city, Assistant City Manager Ron Andrews said the city is required to use the 200 acres only for recreational use.

"As long as it's continued use is recreational then the conversion would be ok," added Andrews who helped construct the proposal.

Andrews said the main reason the city opted for this deal years ago was to offer a cheaper alternative for locals trying to play on area course during the early 1990s when the golf industry was at one of its highest peaks.

The course was most successful when it was appealing to locals, added Andrews.

"We sort of over the years been more aggressive at trying to compete for the golfers and perhaps that's not something we should be doing," said Andrews.

If city council opts to make the conversion, it was cost about $125,000 to complete and take anywhere from six to eight months to finish.

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