Pines Lakes Country Club will host the 2014 Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Sunday Aug. 24. The event will take place at the Hall of Fame Garden behind the clubhouse.
This year’s inductees are George Hilliard, Russell “Doc” Burgess and Critt Gore.
Hilliard served as the executive director of the Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association for 26 years before retiring this past April. Hilliard became the MBAGCOA executive director after 26 years of service in the US Air Force as a highly decorated colonel and was awarded the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, four Meritorious Service Medals and eleven Air Medals.
Hilliard spent the past 26 years dedicated his time to the development and implementation of policies, projects and programs that benefited the Myrtle Beach golf industry. He spearheaded numerous programs that include the Grand Strand Tee Time Network – the area’s first computerized tee time reservation system, the Myrtle Beach Golf Passport discount rounds program, the industry’s health insurance program for course employees and his lobbying efforts nationally and statewide gained significant tax reductions for course owners. He also served for a decade as tournament chairman of the American Junior Golf Association’s Ping Myrtle Beach Junior Classic and ran the GSTTN for its first 18 years through 2007.
Burgess past away this past year and will be represented at the ceremony by his son, Russell Burgess Jr.
Russell Burgess was a dentist by trade but he combined a strong work ethic along with great vision and a keen intellect to become one of the Myrtle Beach area’s more influential figures throughout its emergence as a world-class golf destination from the 1960s into the 2000.
Burgess helped form the Myrtle Beach National group in the 1970s and was vital to its growth. Myrtle Beach National grew to own and/or manage 14 courses before merging with Burroughs & Chapin Golf Management in 2012 to form National Golf Management. He remained active in assisting Myrtle Beach national well into his 80s and was a significant contributor to the golf industry over several decades.
Burgess also held a law degree and was a professor and assistant dean of the Loyola University School of Dentistry in Chicago, and was a pioneer in introducing technology to the golf industry to make it more efficient.
Critt Gore is a native of Bradford, Pa. and he moved to the Grand Strand with his family as a teenager. He farmed in the Bucksport and Myrtle Beach areas before building and eventually selling three Dairy Queens in Myrtle Beach and Conway.
Gore found his way into the golf business in 1980 when he and three other investors purchased Possum Trot Golf Club in North Myrtle Beach. He quickly discovered that he enjoyed the business.
Gore was the managing partner of Possum Trot, which built a reputation as a friendly course, and was part of the groups along with Paul and Jack Himmelsbach that built Heather Glen Golf Links in 1987 and Glen dornoch Golf Links in 1996. He would also operate those two as well.
As a hands-on manager, Gore often did the work of a pro in the pro shop as well as superintendent duties including mowing and spraying herbicides and pesticides. “ He ran Possum Trot from the beginning and learned how to do it the hard way,” said Gore’s son George, general manager of Heather Glen and Glen Dornoch.
Gore was a member of the MBAGCOA board of directors from 1986-89 and served as president in 1988-89. He has also been on the boards of marketing cooperative Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, The Grand Strand Tee Time Network and The Dunes Golf and Beach Club, where he began as a junior member under the age of 30 and is a two-time club champion.
Congratulations to these very deserving gentlemen and their families. The golf industry in the Myrtle Beach area has most certainly benefited from their efforts.