The Kilted Caddy Club & Café at Azalea Sands Golf Club in the North Myrtle Beach area is a step closer to becoming a reality.
But rather than compete with the established Myrtle Beach Caddy Girls, organizers of the business are joining forces with them.
A newly-formed group that registered Thee Kilted Caddy Club on Feb. 3 as a limited liability corporation with the S.C. Secretary of State has reached an agreement to lease the food and beverage operation at Azalea Sands and will provide female caddies to golfers who request them.
The group initially assembled its own staff of caddies, but has opted to contract with Myrtle Beach Caddy Girls to provide the caddies in Kilted Caddy-specific attire that will include kilts and collared polo-style shirts.
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“If there’s going to be any competition it’s good to be a part of it,” said Myrtle Beach Caddy Girls owner Meghan Tarmey. “Either way they were going to do it, so I want to do it right. I want to be an outside company to come in and help them build it and provide the caddying services.”
Myrtle Beach Caddy Girls is an independent business that has provided fun female caddies outfitted in skirts or shorts, golf shirts, knee-high argyle socks and sneakers to groups playing on most area courses for the past several years.
Tarmey, a Myrtle Beach resident and Coastal Carolina graduate, has expanded the business into several cities across the U.S.
Mike Buccerone, president of East Coast Golf Management, which operates Azalea Sands, expects Kilted Caddies to be available and The Kilted Caddy Club & Café to take over the course’s food and beverage operation by early June. Contract details between the three parties are still being finalized.
“Everything will roll out at the same time,” Buccerone said. “We’ll get everybody on the same page and properly trained and move forward. All three parties have worked hard to get everybody on the same page, and I think it will be the best for everybody.
“I think it will be cool.”
The Azalea Sands clubhouse has been renovated by East Coast Golf Management. The pro shop has been separated from the food and beverage area, which now includes a small dining area, new bar and lounge area with leather couches and a large flat screen television. An outside deck is also being built.
So The Kilted Caddy Club & Café will potentially have the ability to remain open after the pro shop is closed.
“I think it will increase the golf traffic,” Buccerone said. “Whether somebody takes a caddie or not, that’s an added amenity. But I think what we’ve done to the restaurant compared to what it was, and putting a deck out back, it’s a place to have a drink if you’re not playing or just a place to hang out. The clubhouse has a whole new look and feel, and I like it.”
East Coast Golf Management will continue to operate the food and beverage operation until the expected June grand opening celebration.
Tarmey said a caddie locker room or dressing room is in the works. “It would be great for us to have a place where we can play on our down time,” Tarmey said. “We can hang out a couple hours and hit balls and if a group comes along that wants a caddie we’ll be there. It would be nice to have like a home golf course where we can hang out some.”
The involvement of the Caddy Girls has resulted in a few changes to the Kilted Caddy business plan.
David Boehm, the marketing director for Thee DollHouse gentlemen’s club who had been promoting Kilted Caddy, said he is no longer with the company. “Thee” has been shortened to “The” in the business’ title, and Tarmey said kilts will be lengthened some from the original uniforms and low-cut tops that exposed caddies’ stomachs are being replaced by polo shirts. “Those [original] uniforms are null and void,” Tarmey said.
A rate of $200 for an 18-hole round for two players with a cart and caddie has been promoted for The Kilted Caddy, though it’s subject to change as the business develops.
“They’re going to make more money on food and beverage and I’ll make more money on cross promotion and my girls getting the exposure,” Tarmey said.
It has been a busy year for the Myrtle Beach Caddy Girls.
Tarmey said she has 64 women employed as caddies, and after a flat January and February compared to last year, she said March was up 20 percent and she has had 30 or more caddies working in a single day several times over the past few weeks. She had 32 hired Saturday.
“We’ve been very busy with bookings every day,” Tarmey said. “April has picked up a lot and we have bookings through July. Half of those people are repeat customers, some that have been coming for five years and using us.”