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  07/22/2014

An agreement has been reached between the City of Myrtle Beach and Murrells Inlet-based Atlantic Golf Management for the management company to take over operations of the struggling city-owned Whispering Pines Golf Course.

The Myrtle Beach city Council voted unanimously to enter into an agreement with Chip Smith, who owns Atlantic Golf Management. Smith also owns TPC Myrtle Beach.

Atlantic Golf will begin operations immediately, focusing on cleaning up the course. “It needs a lot of TLC, Smith said. “It’s growing season right now and you are either growing grass or you’re growing weeds.”

There were several management companies vying for the contract to operate the Whispering Pines facility. The City Council chose between Atlantic Golf and Huntsville, Alabama based Robertson Golf Management. Mayor John Rhodes said that Smith’s local connection gave Atlantic the edge. “Mr. Smith has got that feel of Myrtle Beach,” Rhodes said. “Being here almost his entire life, I think he’ll have his heart in it.”

Smith has been in the area for more than 30 years. He also owns Banditos Restaurant & Cantina on Ocean Boulevard and partnered with the city to extend the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk by one block to include the back side of his restaurant.

Smith stated that Whispering Pines is an important part of the community but it has been lacking procedures and programs. He also said that it is a really good golf course with a good layout.

Atlantic Golf’s proposal includes that they will take full financial responsibility of Whispering Pines and pay the nearly $23,000 annual lease to Horry County for the course’s driving range. The city leases the range from the county.

Smith said Atlantic Golf will also evaluate the golf course’s employees and could possibly offer some of them jobs with the company. The company would aim to hire students from Coastal Carolina University to manage the pro shop and both CCU and Horry Georgetown Technical College students to manage food and beverage sales.

The proposal also includes the development of a junior golf program.

Best wishes to Chip Smith, Atlantic Golf Management and the City Of Myrtle Beach in their endeavors to reestablish Whispering Pines Golf Course as very beneficial part of the local golf scene.