Golf course now filling coffers

Whispering Pines Golf Course was once a financial burden to the city of Myrtle Beach.

This summer, Atlantic Golf Management owner Chip Smith has written the city four checks totaling $134,184 for his operation of the course over the past year through a concessionaire agreement.

He reported paid rounds played that are comparable to the heyday of Myrtle Beach golf in the 1990s and a profitable operation, and both sides are now moving forward on a five-year option for Smith’s company to continue operation through 2024.

Smith said the course played 50,149 rounds for the city’s 2016-17 fiscal year through June 30, which is an increase from the 45,753 rounds the course played in 2015-16, and far outpaces the Myrtle Beach area average of about 36,189, according to figures compiled by the Grand Strand Tee Time Network.

Smith said the course had $1.724 million in revenue compared to $1.538 million in 2015-16, and full-year revenue projections from the first fiscal year he operated the course in 2014-15 were about $1.1 to $1.2 million.

Smith said the average price per round has been $32.86 over the past year, and locals pay $30 year round.

“We’ve held our local rate at $30 plus tax because it is a municipal golf course owned by the city and we felt it was important to keep a good affordable rate for the locals and that has done well for us,” Smith said.

Smith said he played about 5,000 package rounds, but he plans to join marketing cooperative Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday on Jan.

Per the concessionaire agreement, Atlantic Golf is paying the city 3.5 percent of gross revenue each year once the course surpasses $1.1 million.

The company also covers the $22,800 city lease payment to Horry County for the practice facility land, adds 10 percent of practice facility net sales, and adds 3 percent of total sales that include golf, merchandise and food and beverage.