The First Myrtle Beach Golf Course
Myrtle Beach Golf
Hall of Fame
Myrtle Beach Golf Ambassador | 2017
Robert J. LeComte was born in Brooklyn, NY, moved to Wilmington, DE in 1955, and enjoyed a productive 37-year career in marketing at E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. Upon retiring from DuPont, LeComte brought his expertise and business acumen to Myrtle Beach, where he joined Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday.
Over the course of his career, LeComte created the two most significant title sponsorships in the destination’s history. He brought in DuPont as a sponsor to the World Amateur Handicap Championship, leading to one of the longest title-sponsor relationships in all of sports.
With LeComte as the driving force, the World Amateur became an iconic event in the world of golf, attracting players from around the globe. In addition to leading the World Am, he also assumed additional responsibilities in promoting his favorite golf destination.
LeComte’s tenacity led to securing Energizer as a title sponsor for the Senior Tour Championship, bringing a high-profile, professional golf event to Myrtle Beach. The Senior Tour Championship provided international exposure as well as a national live television audience, showcasing the Golf Capital of the World.
LeComte’s dedication and professionalism will forever have an impact on the community he cherished and the game he loved.
Myrtle Beach Golf Pioneer | 2017
In 1965, Vernon Brake entered the hotel business on the Grand Strand. He quickly realized that to be successful as a hotel owner, he also needed to be involved in the golf packaging business. In 1970, he and several friends purchased The Breakers Hotel and, as managing partner for 34 years, Brake saw the property grow from its original 71 units to 667 units. Golf was a large contributor to this growth. As a result, The Breakers joined with other partners to form Myrtle Beach National Golf Club (MBN), which built three golf courses designed by the Arnold Palmer Group. MBN ultimately developed 10 courses and became one of the driving forces behind the area’s growth.
As golf on the Grand Strand exploded, Brake became an integral part of the Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday Board of Directors and, for 28 years, served in all capacities.
As the need for computerized golf reservations grew, Brake became a charter Board member of the Grand Strand Tee Time Network. He served as a charter Board member of the Hotel/Motel Association and as a Board member of the Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Dunes Golf and Beach Club. He was also instrumental in the development of Arrowhead Country Club.
Retiring at age 74, Brake is a brilliant example of finding what you love to do and making it your life’s work.
Golf Course Developer | 2016
Edward Burroughs hails from one of the most significant families in Myrtle Beach’s history, and his unerring vision and leadership were instrumental to the area’s growth throughout the 20th century. Burroughs was the guiding force behind decisions that led to the donation of land that is now Myrtle Beach State Park, helped found Coastal Carolina University, and was vital to the development of Highway 17 Bypass.
This Grand Strand giant was also essential to Myrtle Beach’s emergence as an international golf destination. He sold land to the Dunes Club, allowing for the construction of most iconic layout among Myrtle Beach golf courses, but he is most renowned for his development of Myrtlewood Golf Club.
The area’s first 36-hole golf course, Myrtlewood was located in the middle of town and helped jump start Myrtle Beach’s transformation from sleepy beach community to acclaimed golf destination.
Golf Media Trailblazer | 2016
One of the most decorated junior golfers in Grand Strand history, the game has been a vital part of Kelly Tilghman’s life. She lived on the third hole at the Surf Club, one of Myrtle Beach golf’s most venerable layouts, and her family owned Gator Hole Golf Club, where Tilghman worked every job imaginable and honed a game that earned her a scholarship to Duke University.
Upon graduation from Duke, she played professionally across the globe for four years before retiring to take a position with the then upstart Golf Channel. Tilghman’s stature grew along with the network’s, and she went on to become the first full-time female play-by-play broadcaster in American sports history when she led PGA Tour coverage on Golf Channel.
Her play-by-play work eventually extended to NBC’s coverage of the 2012 London Olympics, but Tilghman has carved out a hall of fame career – in Myrtle Beach and beyond – as a result of her work in golf.
While her star rose nationally, Tilghman continued to maintain ties to the Grand Strand. Over the years, she has returned to the area on numerous occasions, along with Golf Channel’s cameras, to highlight the work of the Myrtle Beach Chapter of the First Tee.
“Welcoming all to the Dunes Golf and Beach Club with South Hospitality” | 2015
Goings started at the club as a dishwasher, but moved outdoors where he became the head looper at Myrtle Beach’s most famed course. A razor sharp memory made Goings an outstanding caddy master, despite only playing the game once in his life. His personality endeared him to Dunes Club members and guests alike. Fellow Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Famer Jimmy D’Angelo once said of Goings, “He treats everybody like they are the President of the United States … He’s the world’s best.” Goings worked at the Dunes Club for 53 years, setting a standard for work ethic and service that served the entire Myrtle Beach golf community well.
He married Maxine Hughes Goings on March 26, 1964. The couple had two daughters, Leta and Philecia, who graduated from Coastal Carolina University. Goings lived his entire life in Georgetown and Horry counties, and when he wasn’t with his family or working, he was likely at Mt. Olive AME where he served as an usher and trustee.
“The Granddaddy – the Birthplace of Myrtle Beach Golf” | 2015
Miles immediately established a goal to improve the profile of Pine Lakes and was wildly successful. He coined the venerable Robert White design as the “Granddaddy,” ensuring everyone knew that Pine Lakes was the birthplace of Myrtle Beach golf. Under his direction the once languishing course developed a thriving membership and rivaled the Dunes Club as the area’s premier social hotspot. It was Miles’ idea to serve clam chowder at the turn and he also brought Rolls Royce golf carts to the course, marketing plays that attracted national attention to Pine Lakes and the area. While Miles was most known for his success at the Granddaddy, he worked with fellow Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Fame member Cecil Brandon to help launch Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday. When the golf package was born in Myrtle Beach, Miles sent a limo to ferry the first package customers to the course. His willingness and ability to think outside the box helped Myrtle Beach become the destination it is today.
Miles married Beula Gatewood on December 31, 1959. They have two children, Scott and Melissa.
Founding Father of the Myrtle Beach Golf Community | 2014
A tireless work ethic has made Critt Gore a cornerstone of the Myrtle Beach golf community. Gore, along with a group of investors, bought Possum Trot in 1980 and he has been an integral part of the community ever since. With Gore’s hard work setting the tone, Possum Trot built its reputation as the Grand Strand’s friendliest golf course, but he was just getting started.
Gore was part of a group that built Heather Glen in 1987 and Glen Dornoch in 1996, two layouts that significantly enhanced Myrtle Beach’s national profile. While the native Pennsylvanian was busy running three successful properties, he always had time to help the community as a whole. Gore was a member of the Myrtle Beach Golf Course Owners Association board of directors from 1986-89 and served as president of the organization in 1988-89.
Gore was a leader by example. He had the foresight to develop golf courses and the tenacity to do any job that was required to make his properties a success, a combination that has made him a Myrtle Beach golf legend.
Golf Pioneer and Myrtle Beach Visionary | 2014
A man of uncommon vision, Doc Burgess is truly one of the giants of the Myrtle Beach golf community. His combination of a keen intellect and strong work ethic made him one of the driving forces behind the area’s emergence as a world-class golf destination.
Burgess, a dentist by trade, helped form the Myrtle Beach National group in the 1970s and was vital to its growth into one of America’s most successful multi-course facilities. He remained active in assisting Myrtle Beach National until the time of his passing on June 17, 2013.
Burgess, who also held a law degree and was a professor and assistant dean of the Loyola University School of Dentistry in Chicago, was a pioneer in using technology to make the golf business more efficient. He was the impetus behind pushing the Myrtle Beach Golf Course Owners Association to develop a computer-driven tee sheet, which led to the creation of Tee Time Network.
Burgess was always striving to improve, whether that was making golf course operations more efficient or revolutionizing the tee time reservations system. His willingness to work hard, combined with a strong personality, made Burgess one of Myrtle Beach’s most influential figures, as it was transformed from a sleepy beach town into the world’s most popular golf destination.
First Executive Director - Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association | 2014
After 26 years of service in the U.S. Air Force as a highly decorated officer awarded the Silver Star, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, and 11 Air Medals, in 1988, Hilliard became the first Executive Director of the Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association.
His next 26 years were dedicated toward the development and implementation of policies, projects, and programs for the Myrtle Beach golf industry. With the help of a dedicated golf community, Hilliard spearheaded numerous programs to include the area’s first computerized tee time reservation system, the Myrtle Beach Golf Passport program, the industry’s health insurance program for golf course employees, as well as national and statewide lobbying efforts to gain significant tax reductions for golf course owners. He also served as Tournament Chairman of the AJGA’s Ping Myrtle Beach Junior Classic.
In 2005, Hilliard was awarded the National Golf Course Owners Association’s Champion Award that recognizes individuals who have garnered significant victories on behalf of golf course owners. He was also named 2012 Father of the Year by the National Father & Son Team Classic.
Active in the community and church groups, Hilliard has been supported by his wife Helen, four children and 14 grandchildren.
A Visionary for the Growth of Golf in Myrtle Beach | 2013
Myrtle Beach was home to just 10 golf courses in the mid-1960s, but visionary builder Edward Jerdon saw a prosperous future for the sleepy beach community.
Jerdon, one of the most accomplished builders in the South, built and co-owned six Myrtle Beach area golf courses, helping jump-start the area’s emergence as golf’s most popular destination. Recognizing the untapped potential of the South Strand, Jerdon and his investors built Sea Gull Golf Club in 1965, paving the way for many great golf courses to follow in Pawleys Island. They also built and owned Quail Creek and the East and West courses at Burning Ridge, layouts that helped make Highway 501 a hotbed for golf. Jerdon was also the inspiration and effort behind Indian Wells Golf Club and International Club.
A New Jersey native, Jerdon moved to the area after completing a tour in the U.S. Army in 1955. Jerdon’s influence extended beyond the courses he owned, which spoke to the respect he commanded within the community. He served as president of the Dunes Club and Surf Club, two of the Grand Strand’s most prestigious clubs. In addition to his golf work, he also spearheaded the construction of numerous churches, schools and hotels.
A Pioneer of Myrtle Beach Golf Course Construction | 2013
A true pioneer, Casper Benton left Myrtle Beach in the 1920s for New York to learn the business of golf course instruction. He returned to build the foundation of the world’s most popular golf destination. In 1927, Benton built the Grand Strand’s first golf course, Ocean Forest Country Club, which would later come to be known as Pine Lakes. Benton lived on-site while the courses were under construction and three of his four children were born nearby. When Ocean Forest Country Club opened, he became its first greenskeeper, nurturing a layout that helped lead Myrtle Beach to national acclaim.
Benton’s contributions to the Myrtle Beach golf community were only beginnning at Ocean Forest Country Club. He would build the Dunes Club, the area’s most iconic course, and his namesake company, C.L. Benton & Sons, would eventually construct Tidewater Golf Club, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club and True Blue Plantation, all courses that have been ranked among America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses by Golf Digest.
He launched the C.L. Benton Company in 1938 and his influence is still felt throughout the area as the Benton family continues to be an integral part of the Myrtle Beach golf community.
North Myrtle Beach Course Developer and Marketer | 2012
J. Bryan Floyd helped develop the first 54-hole golf facility in the Myrtle Beach area and then worked for more than 30 years to market the area nationally as a year-round golf destination serving as a founder of Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday (1967) and a founder of Tee Time Network. He was one of the Presidents of Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday and served as a Board Member from 1986-2001.
Floyd developed a passion for the game in the 1950s and helped develop golf courses in the North Myrtle Beach area in the late 1960s and 1970s. His contributions included Robbers Roost Golf Course and Possum Trot Golf Course, and three courses at Bay Tree Golf Plantation in Little River, which were opened in 1972. He remained a managing partner at Bay Tree from 1980-1996.
Floyd lived in North Myrtle Beach from 1958 until his death in 2004. He served on the North Myrtle Beach City Council for 22 years and was mayor of North Myrtle Beach from 1974-1980. He was awarded the Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian honor in the state of South Carolina, in 2001.
Envisioned a World-Class Golf Destination | 2012
As Chairman of the Board for Burroughs & Chapin, Inc. from 1990-2012, Egerton Burroughs led efforts to establish one of the area’s top golf management companies, develop a central reservation option for golf packages, and hire world-renowned golf course architects to design courses that would draw national attention to Myrtle Beach.
Egerton’s vision for Myrtle Beach and its golf industry led to development of a world-class community at Grande Dunes. He also helped other golf course owners to realize their dreams of building nationally-ranked courses, enhancing Myrtle Beach’s reputation as the “world capital of golf.”
Under his leadership, Burroughs & Chapin stepped forward in 2001 to save and preserve Pine Lakes Country Club. Although on the National Register of Historic Places, its clubhouse was derelict and the course in need of work. Egerton assured that they were meticulously restored to their glory days when the club hosted prominent business, entertainment, and sports figures as Ocean Forest Country Club.
Grand Strand Growth Champion | 2011
Charles “Charlie” W. Byers moved to North Myrtle Beach in 1947. A founding member of the Dunes Golf and Beach Club, he is widely recognized as the smiling golfer in the front center of the famous July 8, 1961 cover of the Saturday Evening Post. One of five men to open the first golf club in North Myrtle Beach, The Surf Golf and Beach Club, he served two terms as its first president. Charlie then opened two more golf courses, Seagull Golf Club in Pawleys Island and Quail Creek Golf Club in Conway. He opened these despite criticism that “no one would drive that far from Myrtle Beach to play golf.” Based on the success of these courses, he developed Burning Ridge Golf Club, Indian Wells Golf Club and Crown Park, increasing the depth of golf on the Grand Strand. Charlie believed that the Grand Strand golf industry should cooperate for the betterment of Myrtle Beach as a whole. He was an important influence on the foundation of Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday which has successfully promoted and branded Myrtle Beach worldwide, increasing local business opportunities, area-wide employment, and the number of visiting golfers. He was also a force behind the creation of the Golf Course Owners Association.
Myrtle Beach’s Marketing Innovator | 2011
Paul Himmelsbach moved from New York in 1977 to join the Grand Strand golf industry. He leveraged his relationships with national media to position Myrtle Beach among the world’s premier golf vacation destinations. A founder of On The Green magazine and its sister publication, On The Beach, his publishing ventures have informed millions of visitors about Myrtle Beach and its world-class golf courses. As a partner in two advertising agencies providing golf marketing services, he spearheaded the creation of a marketing cooperative between On The Green and the number one golf magazine in America, Golf Digest, that showcased the quality and quantity of golf courses in Myrtle Beach and enhanced the area’s brand. In 1984, he co-created the World Amateur Handicap. Competitors and golf vendors come to Myrtle Beach annually from every state and many foreign countries for a week of golf, generating millions of dollars for the economy and worldwide publicity for Myrtle Beach golf. A golf course developer, Paul partnered with others to create The Glens Golf Group, known for award-winning golf courses, including Heather Glen, Glen Dornoch and Shaftesbury Glen, that are are ranked among the Grand Strand’s best.
PGA of America – Spotlight on Myrtle Beach | 2010
Gary L. Schaal, a golf industry leader for more than 30 years, began his career in 1973 as an assistant golf professional in Myrtle Beach. Within 2 years, he was a head professional. By the late 1980s, he was already co-owner of several local golf courses, past president of the Carolinas Section PGA, CPGA Horton Smith Trophy winner, CPGA Professional of the Year, and a member of the PGA TOUR’s Tournament Policy Board. From 1993 to 1994, Schaal was president of the PGA of America, the largest professional sports organization in the world with over 20,000 members. As president, he drew media attention to Myrtle Beach and the resulting publicity boosted the Grand Strand’s growing national and international reputation. In 2005, Schaal was named to the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame. He has also been designated a “living Legend” through the PGA of America’s “Legends of the PGA” Program.
Myrtle Beach Golf Package Innovator | 2010
George W. “Buster” Bryan was one of the founding fathers of the golf package business. His leadership transformed Myrtle Beach from a sleepy beach town with a 3-month season into a year-round golf vacation destination. Bryan built the Caravelle Hotel in 1959 and soon realized that Myrtle Beach could expand its tourist season beyond summer by offering golf vacation packages. In the 1950s, he created Myrtle Beach’s first golf promotion group, “Golf-o-tel”, combining 8 courses and 8 hotels into a marketing cooperative. The group bought advertising that took Myrtle Beach’s package message far beyond the Carolinas. Bryan understood the power of positive publicity. He raised funds to host a gathering of influential golf writers and became a driving force behind the Golf Writers Championship. For 50 years, the gathering ensured that writers stopped in Myrtle Beach on their annual trips to cover The Masters and recommended golf vacations here.
Mr. Golf of Myrtle Beach | 2009
W. Cecil Brandon, Jr. has long been credited as the mastermind behind Myrtle Beach’s booming golf industry. Through his tireless marketing efforts, he brought worldwide recognition to the Myrtle Beach area, and to the state of South Carolina.
In 1967, Brandon helped found Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, a nonprofit alliance of golf courses and accommodation properties, which transformed Myrtle Beach from a three-month-a-year family vacation site into a year-round golf destination. He worked closely with the PGA TOUR to build the Tournament Players Club of Myrtle Beach and helped bring the PGA Senior TOUR Championship to the Grand Strand for six consecutive years.
He was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 2002, and was honored with the 1996 Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian honor awarded by the governor of South Carolina. Brandon’s legacy in Myrtle Beach continues with Brandon Advertising, which he founded in 1959.
Myrtle Beach's Tourism Advocate | 2009
A 40-year veteran of the golf industry, Clay Brittain, Jr. played an instrumental role in uniting the golf and tourism industries in Myrtle Beach. Brittain was also an important partner in the birth of Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, a marketing cooperative formed with the goal of promoting the Myrtle Beach area as the world’s premier golf destination, in 1967.
In 1971, Britain was one of the original partners in the Myrtle Beach National Company and developed it into one of the largest course and accommodation ownership groups in the Southeast.
Awarded the 2005 Ashby Ward Pioneer of the Year Award for the significant impact he made in the Myrtle Beach area, Brittain was largely responsible for establishing the PGA golf degree at Coastal Carolina University. He was later honored for his contributions to the community in 2001, when the Clay Brittain, Jr. Center for Resort Tourism at the university was named in his honor.
Myrtle Beach’s Junior Golf Pioneer | 2009
Carolyn Cassidy Cudone will always be remembered as the pioneer of the Myrtle Beach Junior Golf Association. Disenchanted by the lack of collegiate golfers representing the “Golf Capital of the World”, Cudone created the area’s original junior golf program in 1981 and was the driving force behind the program over the next 20 years. Thanks to her insight and hard work, more than 15 of her Grand Strand area junior golfers earned college golf scholarships.
One of the finest women golfers of her generation, Cudone captured 10 U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur Championships, including five consecutive wins from 1968 to 1972, the longest consecutive winning streak in any USGA Championship. In addition to capturing the South Carolina Women’s Amateur title a record seven times, Cudone was a member of two U.S. Curtis Cup Match teams (a team member in 1956 and the team captain in 1970). She was inducted into the South Carolina Golf Hall of Fame in 1979.
Myrtle Beach Golf Ambassador | 2009
Jimmy D’Angelo’s most significant contribution to the Myrtle Beach golf industry was not limited to his play on the course, but also his marketing acumen in promoting Myrtle Beach golf and The Dunes Club.
D’Angelo served as the first golf professional at the esteemed Dunes Golf and Beach Club from its 1948 opening day until he retired in 1968. During his tenure at the Dunes Club, D’Angelo developed the Robert Trent Jones testimonial dinner for writers in Myrtle Beach in 1954 to attract writers to the emerging Myrtle Beach golf destination. The event evolved into the weeklong Golf Writers Association of America Championship – a media golf tournament that became a pre-Masters tradition and brought media attention to the area for more than 50 years. His relationship with the media culminated in the July 9, 1961 front cover of the Saturday Evening Post, which depicted guests in the Dunes Club locker room waiting out a thunderstorm.
Original Architect of Myrtle Beach's First Golf Course | 2009
One of the most renowned golf course architects of his time, Robert White was the original architect of Myrtle Beach’s first golf course, the Ocean Forest Country Club, that opened in 1927, and is now known as Pine Lakes Country Club.
The first president of the United States Professional Golf Association of America from when it was founded in 1916 until 1920, White was hired to build the Ocean Forest Country Club in 1927 and combined his native Scottish golf influences with a unique twist of Southern hospitality. When it opened in 1927, Ocean Forest became a playground for the rich and famous, with professional golfers Sam Snead and Gene Sarazen, as well as the country’s most prominent families, the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts, as frequent guests.
White was a founding member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects in 1946.
After retiring, White was a Pine Lakes resident until his death.
Myrtle Beach Golf Visionary | 2009
While on a golf vacation, General James (Jim) Hackler, Jr. revolutionized the Myrtle Beach golf industry with the concept of combining tee times and accommodations to form the first golf package – an idea that would make Myrtle Beach synonymous with the ultimate golf destination.
He was instrumental in the 1972 opening of Bay Tree Golf Plantation, Myrtle Beach’s first three-course facility, and helped bring the 1977 LPGA Championship to Bay Tree, attracting national media attention to the Grand Strand area. Hackler was also active in the ownership and development of Heather Glen Golf Links, Robber’s Roost, Possum Trot and The Classic Group.
Hackler was a highly-decorated, two-star Major General in the United States Air Force, served as a fighter pilot in World War II and was a recipient of the Silver Star Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
A devoted community and civic leader, Hackler was actively involved in numerous local organizations.