Myrtle Beach area golf courses, whose total once stood at over 120, continue to be under pressure in a still-oversaturated market. Local news outlets are reporting that River Oaks, a golf community just north of Highway 501, the main east/west thoroughfare entering Myrtle Beach, will close nine of its 27 holes and build more than 250 homes on 60 acres of former fairways and greens.
This is only the latest in a continuing spate of closures over the last decade in a market that was once called a “supermarket of golf.” Just last week we learned that the owners of Indian Wells Golf Club, part of the Founders Group International of 22 golf courses in the Myrtle Beach area, had asked the county zoning board to rezone the golf course to include condo unit development. (The golf course was previously zoned for single-family home construction. Needless to say, homeowners in the surrounding neighborhoods are not.
The Indian Wells plans may be more problematical than those at River Oaks, where owners will still have 18 holes of golf remaining -– at least for the time being. Founders Group has petitioned Horry County for a change in zoning on the 150-acre Indian Wells golf course to permit construction of 255 single-family homes and 257 townhomes. Because the golf course was already zoned for single-family houses, residents are choosing not to take the typical stand that their home values will be eroded by the loss of the golf course. They say they fear environmental issues.
Maryann Dube, president of the adjacent Woodlake Village’s homeowners’ association, told Myrtle Beach Sun’s online publication, “We’re going to be in big trouble if they build…The whole golf course floods tremendously, [and] they’re not going to be able to do anything to fix that.”
Nearby residents and members of the other Founders Group courses, almost all of them located inside residential developments, are bound to be nervous about the Indian Wells events. That club was among the first that the Chinese company owners purchased in the area nearly a decade ago; the organization has been in the news over recent years because of squabbles among its owners and charges of embezzlement against a few of its executives.
As a vacation home owner at Pawleys Plantation in Pawleys Island, SC, home to a Jack Nicklaus golf course owned by Founders International, I will be watching for related news in the coming weeks and months. Watch this space.