A group led by Chris Smith closed on the purchase of the Calabash, N.C., property last week. The sale includes the 27-hole golf course, clubhouse, resort check-in building that is being converted into a bar and grill, and a condo rental business.
Through a partnership, Chip Smith is the new owner of Brunswick Plantation & Golf Resort in Calabash, N.C., Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Online reported.
“We feel we’ve found a real diamond in the rough in terms of what we can do there,” Smith said.
Smith, the former TPC Myrtle Beach managing partner whose company Atlantic Golf Management has been operating Whispering Pines Golf Club in Myrtle Beach since November 2014, closed on the purchase of Brunswick Plantation last week, Myrtle Beach Online reported.
The sale includes the 27-hole golf course, clubhouse, resort check-in building that is being converted into a bar and grill, and a condo rental business that allows the possibility of stay-and-play packages, Myrtle Beach Online reported.
Smith and his Atlantic Golf Management partners—longtime area golf course superintendent Andy Apple and Grand Strand restaurateur Steve Harnish, who owns a number of McDonald’s locations—purchased Brunswick Plantation through their company Atlantic Golf Acquisitions NC, LLC. for $2.8 million, Myrtle Beach Online reported
They purchased the course from Caw Caw Land Corp., a company that includes three local residents and businessmen in president Mason Anderson and partners Jimmy McLamb and Tripp Sloane. The three friends developed the golf course and large housing development that surrounds it and includes well over 1,000 homes with room for more, Myrtle Beach Online reported.
Brunswick Plantation’s 27 holes are designed by Willard Byrd. The original 18 is nearly 7,000 yards and opened in 1992, and the final nine opened in 1998. The golf course is restricted by a conservation easement, so it has to remain some form of open green space, Myrtle Beach Online reported.
“I think there is a real market for that price-pointed golf course in both the package public play and membership side. I think we’ll do real well there,” Smith said. “It might be the best purchase we’ve made yet, even more so than TPC.”
The new owners began renovating the clubhouse about three weeks ago after the property was under contract. The interior was painted, the bar floor was re-tiled and new carpet has been installed in heavy traffic areas. “We’re just updating things,” said Smith, who has more renovations planned.
Smith first noticed Brunswick Plantation & Golf Resort was for sale when it was listed in an auction through Hilda Allen Real Estate of Georgia, which specializes in golf course sales and auctions. Smith did not bid on the course, and he believes Caw Caw retained it because the minimum bid wasn’t met. Smith was later contacted by a group of Brunswick Plantation homeowners who were interested in partnering to purchase the course to ensure it remained open for years to come. They wanted to partner with someone who had golf course management experience, Myrtle Beach Online reported.
“I ultimately determined I’d rather do it on my own,” Smith said. “With our due diligence, I thought it had a ton of potential. With our management practices we think we can turn it around and turn it into what it should be.”
Smith said he plans to promote affordable green fees. “I think there’s a huge market in Myrtle Beach for medium to low-end priced courses, more so than the high-end courses,” he said. “I’ll be very receptive to the local groups, memberships and the package business, and our packages will be affordable.”
Smith said there are 256 condominiums at Brunswick Plantation, and more than half are in the rental program that was part of the purchase and can be incorporated into golf packages that include rounds at Brunswick Plantation, Myrtle Beach Online reported.
The resort check-in staff is being moved into the main clubhouse and the 9,100-square-foot resort check-in building is being converted into a restaurant and sports pub that will serve dinners nightly, Myrtle Beach Online reported.
The restaurant, which hasn’t been named yet, will have a sports bar theme with several golf items, including some from Coastal Carolina alumnus and World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who is a friend and Smith’s former business partner in Banditos restaurant. Smith hopes to have the restaurant/bar opened by June, Myrtle Beach Online reported.
The new owners are offering golf memberships and social memberships, and have several member-only functions planned. “We have an active social calendar planned a year out,” Smith said.
Brunswick Plantation might not be Smith’s last purchase in the area. Smith said his group is interested in adding more courses in the market, if the time and place are right. “We move slow and methodically and try to grow slow instead of fast, so if the opportunity arises we’re there,” Smith said.