Field Notes: Growing Myrtle Beach still has room for firsts

With an estimated 44 people moving to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, every day now, the population of the Grand Strand has more than doubled in the last 20 years. 

And as Tracy Connor, the longtime head of the Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association likes to point out to destination golfers: “We have as many or more hotel equivalent hotel rooms than Las Vegas.”

And the Myrtle Beach area has more than 75 public golf courses to choose from and will be landing a couple of firsts soon, including its first PopStroke mini golf entertainment experience in early March and its first PGA Tour event in early May. 

Arcadian Shores Golf Club

“We’ve certainly got great golf courses and we’ve got a great variety and great price points for everyone,” Connor says. “And we have that beach, which is pretty special. If you’re a golfer and haven’t been here in recent years you’ll be amazed at all the off course activities there are, especially with some unbelievable dining experiences.”

Connor said the area logs around three million golf rounds a year, many coming from destination golfers from the Northeast states of New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and its fair share of Canadian golf business. And while the area hasn’t announced any new projects in the last few years, Connor says many improvements have taken place. 

“We just did a little survey of our golf courses in the area and over the past 2 ½ years there has been about $40 million spent on capital projects to improve our existing golf courses,” he says. “Coming out of COVID-19 in we had the best golf year in memory. And 2022 was far better than 2021 and 2023 was far better than 2022. And right now we have 4 percent more rounds on the books for 2024 than we did this time last year. We don’t want to jinx it, but the trajectory of the golf industry here in Myrtle Beach is very, very solid.”


If you’ve planned a golf trip in the past few years to a top-notch resort or high-end strand alone destination you’ve likely checked out a website that has some impressive aerial photography. 

Courses that once “sported” a few golf photos and a PDF scorecard have stepped up their game to include golf’s latest marketing tool — drone video and photography. 

“Let’s say you’re booking a boys trip for the weekend and you’re spending a bunch of money you want to pick the courses that are going be the best in the area,” said Nick Loggarakis, CEO of Golf Course Flyovers. “When you’re spending $200 a round you want to see what you’re paying for. Allowing golfers to see an immersive experience of what you have to offer is going make their decision much easier to go with your course over another.” 

Loggarakis founded the Chicago-based company 18 months ago and has provided drone footage/photography to about a dozen courses, mostly in the Midwest.   

“A lot of these courses are starting to catch up, but most are still behind on their digital presence,” he said. 

A basic drone package from Golf Course Flyovers costs $6,000 with additional tiers with added features such as a famous person voiceover that could raise the cost a few more thousand dollars. 

Loggarakis said it’s hard to argue with the impact of drone video or photography.   

“Just from my own personal decision-making when looking for golf courses I will always go with the ones that have content and are showing me what they’re offering rather than me clicking on the course tab on their website and literally just getting a  scorecard and three photos because I don’t know when those photos were taken,” he said. “And I’m not getting an idea of what the course really looks like. Is it well manicured? Are the bunkers playable? All those sort of things that I’m looking for before making a decision to go spend my money and spend my time somewhere.”

Golf Course Flyovers’ aerial view of the first hole at Grand Geneva Resort and Spa’s Highlands in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

The 28-year-old Loggarakis believes golf marketing via websites is at a crossroads.

“In comparison to some different industries, we’re ahead of the curve with golf courses,” he said of his company’s service. “The resorts that we’ve worked with have a younger team of marketing directors that understand what needs to be done to keep moving the needle forward. But a lot of courses we talk to they just don’t quite understand the value yet and aren’t ready to make the jump into doing this type of thing.

“Remember, golf courses are big, their holes are long, so just standing at a tee box or in the middle of the fairway, behind the green looking back at the tee from a ground perspective is not going to give you the full view of what the course has to offer and how the course is going to play.”


Pinehurst Resort is gearing up for the opening of its first 18-hole course in nearly three decades by offering a Premier Golf Package. Available beginning April 3, this inclusive package allows golfers to play as many rounds as possible and includes all golf fees and premiums, accommodations and daily breakfast and dinner.

Starting at $1,724, golfers can play the new Tom Doak-designed No. 10 course, along with No. 2, the site of the 2024 U.S. Open in June, and the Par-3 Cradle course, billed as the most fun 10 acres in all of golf. 

Pinehurst No. 10 will be unlike any of the resort’s other courses.

The landscape underlying Doak’s newest design features all that is natural to golf in the North Carolina Sandhills, including native wiregrass, extensive sandscapes, towering longleaf pines and rolling hills. Midway through the course, though, Doak takes advantage of rugged dunes carved out by mining operations around the turn of the 20th century. The result is a spectacular course with more than 75 feet of elevation change that winds its way around the course.

“No. 10 starts out fairly gentle, then it starts going into the old quarry works where it gets downright crazy for a little bit, then the course gets up on the hill and there’s a beautiful, sweeping view,” Doak says. “All of the holes coming in are challenging, even when you move down into the gentler terrain. It’s a dramatic golf course; more than I originally thought.”

Golfers can reserve their stay by 1-800-487-4653 or go online at


Cushman & Wakefield, a $10 billion real estate services firm, has an interesting statistic on a golf trend, which includes those who travel to golf course resorts for fun and sun. The Chicago-based company finds that competitive socializing concepts have grown 386 percent since the beginning of 2021. “So this explosion of golf entertainment — it’s cool, and yes it brings some flavor and energy to the industry — but it’s more than a fun idea,” says David Lorentz of the National Golf Foundation. “It’s a smart business play, and that’s allowing our industry to fight for those most valuable scarce resources that everyone else is battling for as well — our time, our attention, our money and our happiness.” … If you’re looking to see some of the game’s future pros you may want to travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, in mid-April to catch the ACC Men’s Golf Championship at Charlotte Country Club. The most recent PGA Tour University rankings list seven of the top 20 players in the nation from the ACC. … Looking for a cool historic location for a round of golf and to support a great cause? The PGA of America’s REACH Foundation has awarded the 2025 Places to Play Spectator Championship Legacy Grant to Gillespie Golf Course in Greensboro, North Carolina. The grant will aid the revitalization of Greensboro’s oldest municipal golf course, which had a prominent history during the civil rights movement. Opened in 1941 and designed by famed architect Perry Maxwell, Gillespie has an incredible backstory during the racial strife of the 1950s. On Dec. 7, 1955, one week after Rosa Parks refused to give her bus seat to a white man, the “Greensboro Six,” a group of heroic Black men, were arrested for daring to play the white-only golf course.