Litchfield Country ClubREAL ESTATE

Myrtle Beach remains a strong golf and real estate choice

By William K. Wolfrum,
Staff Writer

In 2001, the golf boom hit its apex in Myrtle Beach, as 120 courses dotted the Grand Strand, according to the Myrtle Beach Sun News. Myrtle Beach had, without a doubt, become the ultimate destination for traveling golfers throughout the globe.

But, with the area obviously overbuilt for golf, closures started to come, with 14 Myrtle Beach courses closing for housing developments as the real estate market went through the roof. In 2006 alone, Bay Tree Plantation has closed three courses while Wild Wing Plantation has closed two.

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Several other courses have either been sold in preparation for shutdown or are openly on the market. An overbuilt Grand Strand golf market and a red-hot real estate market have combined to close 14 courses in the last five years.

This trend may slow, but many experts, including a recent report by a Capital Markets financial analyst don't believe the "bubble will burst," and many others seem to agree.

"Where the bubble may burst eventually is with the single-family they are building," Director of the Coastal Federal Center for Economic Development Gary M. Loftus said. "But it's all a function of the dirt. The single-family homes will continue and be upscale because the dirt's so expensive."

Joel Warner, owner of Warner Custom Homes and builds homes in the Crow Creek golf community, told the Myrtle Beach Sun that things were evening off, but that he couldn't imagine any type of slump occurring.

"The investor market is dropping off. I do think prices are starting to stabilize," said Warner. "I'm seeing that in building materials, supplies and labor. But I do think that this Grand Strand area is going to continue to boom with all the baby boomers."

But while real estate is stealing some of golf's thunder on the Grand Strand, the area still is one of the ultimate destinations for golfers to visit and live. A recent Golf Digest story ranked the Myrtle Beach area is the No. 1 golf home community in the nation.

Tidewater Golf ClubGolf Digest editors said they chose Myrtle Beach for this honor due to the amount of quality golf courses in the area, along with a relatively low cost of living and good weather.

But in the end it was the unbelievable amount of quality golf courses in Myrtle Beach that made it impossible to ignore the Grand Strand for the top choice.

"Americans bought more than a million vacation homes, and golf was a deciding factor in nearly a third, so people are buying these things like crazy," said Golf Digest senior editor Peter Finch. "There's a boom in golf course homes. It's all over the country. We know that our readers are interested in this."

And while fuel prices and other factors would at first glance appear to work to keep golfers home, Americans been continuing to flock to the Grand Strand area to play its magnificent courses.

"Some courses are closing, but overall every thing is about the same as it as last year, as far as what we do," said Tom Perry of Myrtle Beach Travel.

So despite the course closures and a real estate market that may finally be leveling off, it appears Myrtle Beach will hold on to it's reputation as "the king" of golf destinations for the foreseeable future.

July 10, 2006

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.

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