Whispering Pines in New Hands for More Green

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When a golfer lands at Myrtle Beach International Airport, it takes everything he or she has not to lace up the spikes and run to the nearest golf course.

Good news — the nearest course is really, really close.

We’re talking next door close.

Whispering Pines Golf Course, the plush city-owned spot right by the airport, welcomes traveling golfers in — and sends them off — with a relaxing and enjoyable 18 holes that won’t break the bank. The traditionally designed, tree-lined course is peppered with challenging lakes, sand and slopes but isn’t prohibitively difficult for novices. Residents and visitors alike love coming here for its easy access, helpful staff and delightful golf experience.

Fans of the course, however, had reason to sweat recently when the city bandied about plans to close Whispering Pines and open up athletic facilities on the property to balance a budget shortfall. Thankfully for the golfing community, the city handed over the management reins to Chip Smith, owner of Murrells Inlet-based Atlantic Golf Management, who will run the course. The plan is to inject a little TLC into Whispering Pines, attract more golfers, and then drive additional revenue with each long drive. Smith is a long-time Myrtle Beach resident and business owner who knows a lot about what it takes to run a course. He is the owner of TPC Golf Course in Myrtle Beach, which was recently placed in the hands of National Golf Management, the largest golf management company on the Grand Strand. For frequent Myrtle Beach golfers, all this hand-changing talk will make sense.

For folks just getting acquainted with golfing here, it simply means better services, improved golfing conditions, and even more enjoyable player experience.

In the meantime, Whispering Pines is still open, which is good news, and offering plenty of daily tee times at reasonable rates. Book online to secure a spot for roughly $50 a person for 18 holes with a cart now in the late fall. If you're playing with a partner, look for the “best value” banners to save about 25% and play midday for as low as $37. Like most area courses, this is a discounted rate from those of the peak summer months.

While you’re enjoying your game, do take a moment to look up into all those whispering pines for some avian wildlife, since the course was designated a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” in 1998 — the only course in the Myrtle Beach area to receive this distinction.

Oh, you’ll also see a few airplanes as well.

A few things to keep in mind while playing here: it’s a non-metal spikes facility (they offer spike changes); collared shirts and hemmed pants or shorts are required; play maxes out at four hours and 15 minutes per round; and staff will prepare a cooler for you, as personal coolers are prohibited. Tee time cancellation must occur 48 hours prior to play, and carts are required before 3 p.m.

Golfers access the course on Harrelson Boulevard, which also borders the airport. For those staying at the Driftwood, the course is an extremely short drive from the ocean. Simply pick up Harrelson as you head south on Kings Highway, and then take a right, heading west. You’ll be seeing green before you know it.

And don’t forget this is the easiest spot to knock out a quick round before you’re wheels up and headed back home — and it’s well on its way to being one of the best, too.

Have you ever golfed Whispering Pines? What did you think?

(Posted: 10/29/14)

(Photo Courtesy: onthegreenmagazine.com)