The public course in the Myrtle Beach, S.C. market has gone back to its original name after operating as Palmetto Greens G&CC for five years. Under new ownership and management, the property now features a renovated clubhouse that’s “built for speed.”
The old is new again at Colonial Charters Golf Club, reported The Sun News of Myrtle Beach, S.C., after the course in Longs, S.C., which had operated as Palmetto Greens Golf & Country Club in 2008, reopened during the weekend of August 24-25 with new ownership and management, following nearly two months of renovations.
Colonial Charters GC was scheduled to open to the general public on Monday, August 26, after first being open to residents of the Colonial Charters Master Community from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday of the preceding weekend for golf and an open house complete with free entertainment, beverages, hot dogs and hamburgers.
Pace Group, a development company headed by Myrtle Beach resident Van Watts, struck a lease-purchase agreement in July with course owner Mike Matheny to take over the layout, and hired East Coast Golf Management to operate it, The Sun News reported. East Coast also manages Azalea Sands, Rivers Edge Golf Club, River Oaks Golf Club, Indigo Creek Golf Club and Heron Point Golf Club in the Myrtle Beach region, as well as Rose Hill Golf Club in Bluffton, S.C., and has a marketing partnership with 13 additional courses in the Myrtle Beach “Grand Strand.”
A new Colonial Charters sign in the entry road’s median off South Carolina Route 9 was the first indication of approximately $250,000 invested in changes and improvements to the golf course and clubhouse, according to Mike Buccerone, President of East Coast Golf Management.
Every room of the clubhouse has been repainted, The Sun News reported, and the building also has new crown molding, trim work, lounge furniture, patio furniture and dining room furniture, including 10 tables, 50 chairs and 18 bar stools. Four new flatscreen televisions and five new air- conditioning units have also been added.
The wooden rectangular bar remains, but the cooking hood exhaust system was replaced and relocated from the interior of the bar to the kitchen, which has been renovated with new or repaired equipment and appliances. Buccerone expects to have periodic theme dinners for residents and members now that menu options have expanded, The Sun News reported.
“This clubhouse is very functional, and it’s built for speed now,” Buccerone said. “Every room has been redone. We want to create a ‘wow’ factor when they first come in, compared to what was here. We want to create more of a country club atmosphere, though we tried to keep [the improvements] within the integrity of what was here.”
On the golf course, which had been closed for a week before the lease agreement took effect, drainage work is ongoing, The Sun News reported. Three primary irrigation issues involving leaks and pump damage had to be repaired, Buccerone said.
Bunkers have been reconditioned with new sand, and the course has a new fleet of golf carts and new maintenance equipment.
“We wanted to get in here and get the golf course as healthy as we could going into the fall and winter, so when we come out next year we’ll be that much healthier and better,” Buccerone said. “It will be an ongoing effort to continue to enhance the product.”
Superintendent David Trout, who has been overseeing the course’s renovations, will serve as superintendent at both Colonial Charters and Azalea Sands Golf Club, where he has worked the past three years, The Sun News reported. East Coast Golf Management Operations Manager Dave Harbaugh, a longtime golf professional at Myrtle Beach’s Wild Wing Plantation who joined East Coast Golf in January, has acted as the foreman of the project. “We’ll cross-utilize a number of employees both at the front and back of the house,” Buccerone said.
Colonial Charter’s course, originally a John Simpson design that opened in 1988, lost about 300 yards when it was redesigned for a reopening in 2008 by Matheny, with the help of designer Rick Robbins, into a 6,427-yard par-71, The Sun News reported. The redesign featured increased water hazards, more open space on and around fairways, and more undulation in greens with surrounding mounds as backdrops.
Native cord grass has been relocated to water banks and more will likely be moved, The Sun News reported. Man-made multi-level rock waterfalls to the left of the eighth green and right of the 14th green might be utilized again by the spring, it was noted.
Colonial Charters, which has more than 900 existing homes in the surrounding community, is single-teeing with comfortable 10-minute tee times, The Sun News reported. “It’ll be a fun golf course – nothing that’s going to beat players up,” Buccerone said.
A full-length driving range is expected to remain for several years until its acreage is need for lot sales, he added. The initial phase of new housing will be the continuation of a development behind the clubhouse, it was reported.
“It’s a fun project,” Buccerone said. “You’re basically going in on the ground floor and trying to restore something, and seeing the community interest. People have been coming out of their homes and thanking us. It’s a nice feeling.
“I feel good about coming in and giving the community back their home,” he added. “I think they’re going to continue to rally around it and support it moving forward.”
That support seemed likely, based on a comment by Keith Jester, President of the Colonial Charters Master Community Association “I’m very excited about what they’re doing over there,” Jester told The Sun News. “The clubhouse looks nice and the golf course looks as good as it has in years.
“The people over there seem to me to be dedicated to make this a community-friendly golf course and clubhouse,” Jester added. “I’m really excited for our residents, and most of the people I talk to are also excited about it.”
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