Fires do minimal damage to MB golf courses

The wildfires that scorched areas of the Grand Strand, destroying homes and forcing evacuations along the coast, apparently did surprisingly little harm to some of the largest areas of open space: Myrtle Beach's golf courses.

Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday announced Friday morning that the golf community managed to escape damage from the wildfires that rolled through northern Horry County starting Wednesday afternoon.

The wildfires were contained to areas west of the Intracoastal Waterway in the northern section of Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach, and only threatened three golf resorts: Waterway Hills Golf Club, Grande Dunes Resort and Barefoot Resort and Golf. None of the courses experienced any damage to the actual courses, with only cosmetic damages at two of the four Barefoot Resort courses, a spokesperson for Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday said. Cheryl Harden, representing Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, said Waterway Hills Golf Club experienced no damage and opened for play on Thursday morning. The Members Club at Grande Dunes Resort saw minimal damage to a berm that separates sections of the course from S.C. Highway 31 but was open for play Thursday morning, while play at The Resort Club at Grande Dunes was not affected by the wildfire. The four courses at Barefoot Resort and Golf were closed Thursday due to the smoke and the closure of the Barefoot Bridge across the Intracoastal Waterway. The Norman Course and The Dye Club reopened Friday morning for play. The Love and the Fazio Courses received no damage to the courses, though trees and several access bridges at both courses suffered what the spokesperson called "cosmetic damage." The Love Course is scheduled to reopen on Saturday morning. The Fazio Course remains closed after losing a 200-yard bridge that connect three holes on the back nine. The course will be open for play as soon as the bridge is repaired, the spokesperson said. "The Barefoot Resort golf courses survived the wildfires that burned through the area this week with minimal damage," Tom Staats, a partner with the Barefoot Companies, was quoted as saying by Harden. "The Dye Club and the Norman Course reopened this morning and both are filled with golfers. "The Love and Fazio courses were fortunate to only realize damages to the surrounding plant life, and not to the courses. We are planning to open the Love Course Saturday morning and hope to have the Fazio Course back and ready for golfers next week." Harden said Bill Golden, president of Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, is confident most golfers traveling to the Grand Strand likely would not have their plans affected by the fires. April is the area's busiest month for golf tourism, Golden said.