News of Heron Point’s impending close and rumors of more sales on the horizon is further evidence of the changing golf landscape in Myrtle Beach. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends upon with whom one is speaking. An unprofitable course that is need of upgrades, as is the case with Heron Point, realistically has very little hope of prospering. The decision by the course owners and current management company (East Coast Golf Management) to close December 14th comes as no surprise. Other course owners will be the benefactors as they will absorb the play from Heron Point in the coming season. Efforts are being made to relocate Heron Point golf course employees.
Earlier this year Cypress Bay Golf Club closed with plans for residential development in the works. With the recent purchase of the Classic Golf Group (4 courses) by Chinese investors, reports of Wicked Stick being sold (under contract) to a developer, and the sales of Crown Point and Sea Trail, things are changing rapidly. The Myrtle Beach area once was home to over 100 golf courses, and now sits at 84. There are plenty of rumors about other pending purchases, so this year’s change is likely a sign of things to come.
There is a lot of discussion lately about the overall golf economy in the United States. Perhaps it is still too early analyze all the data, but Americans are beginning to show their resilience as they climb out of the recession and begin spending some discretionary dollars. A lot of attention has been placed on the fact that middle-aged golfers are leaving the sport. It is hard to measure just how much of the U.S. golf woes are related to the economy, and how much could be related to other factors, but golf spending, and perhaps more importantly, the time to play, is certainly affected by those who are still in the family and career-building stages of their lives.
There’s no doubt the Myrtle Beach area had (and may still have) an over-abundance of golf courses. Following the real estate boom of the late 90s and and early 00s, the bubble burst later in the decade, and the recession that ensued, the golf business has been challenged and still faces some significant hurdles. With the current number of rounds being played in Myrtle Beach, fewer courses would certainly provide some relief for surviving course owners. Although yet another course closing may seem negative on the surface, the overall results may in the long run prove positive to all but the homeowners around Heron Point at the Myrtle Beach Golf & Yacht Club. Plans for the property are still undetermined.