Chinese investors acquire three Myrtle Beach courses for $11 m; Classic Golf Group disbands

GGG of Myrtle Beach, S.C., owner of the Classic Golf Group management company, has sold its last three courses in Myrtle Beach to a group of Chinese investors for approximately $11 million. The final documents for the sale of Burning Ridge Golf Course in Conway, Indian Wells Golf Course in Garden City Beach and Founders Club at Pawleys Island were signed on Sept. 25, 2014. Myrtle Beach Online reported both the ownership group and management company will now disband after being a part of the Myrtle Beach community for 50 years.

The buyer, Yiqian Funding, was represented by Manhattan attorney Nick Dou, Mr. Dan of the Chinese parent company and Keller Williams Realty agent Jane Zheng.

This marks the eighth course purchased by Chinese buyers in Myrtle Beach in the last 15 months, Myrtle Beach Onlinereported. Three of the investors met with GGG Myrtle Beach and Classic Golf Group during the sales process and some have also met with Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes.

“They want to invest in Myrtle Beach,” Classic Golf Group General Manager Rick Taylor told the publication. “They want to be part of the community. They like Myrtle Beach and want to be part of it.”

Taylor will work for the emerging management company called Founders Group on these three courses and possibly more. Taylor told the online publication that the buyers are expected to make investments in the three courses and that all course employees will retain their jobs.

“They’re very conscientious of people having jobs,” Taylor said. “They don’t want anybody to leave. They want us to have a relationship with them and want everybody to feel as much at home as they are now.”

Based on existing zoning, the new owners have the option of redeveloping some of the land at all three courses into single-family housing, though the courses would remain open during that time.

The majority of land at Founders Club and Burning Ridge is zoned for single-family homes with a minimum of 10,000-square-foot lot sizes. Indian Wells has similar requirements with a minimum lot size of 6,000-square feet. Rezoning requests have not been made. 

The buyers hope the purchase will lead to additional Chinese golf tourism, a recent trend in the industry. According to Taylor, the investors have sales contracts for other Strand courses that may emerge soon.

“They feel they have an avenue in China to bring people here,” Taylor said. “[Marketing cooperative Myrtle Beach] Golf Holiday has been doing a lot of work with China, trying to attract them to come to the Myrtle Beach area, and they believe that also. That’s probably as big a strategy as they have.”

In June 2013, a businessman that goes by the name of Mr. Pan purchased the Sea Trail Resort in Sunset Beach, N.C., for $8.5 million. Mr. Pan is described as a successful businessman with several real estate ventures in China. His full name was not disclosed in the proceedings.

In March 2014, Shengwen Lan purchased the Crown Park Golf Club in Longs, S.C., for an estimated price of between $1.5 million and $2 million. Three months later the husband and wife restaurant owners Chun Lan and Shi Lin Zou acquired Black Bear Golf Club, also in Longs, for approximately $1.5 million.

“Rick will probably be looking over 10 golf courses in the very near future,” GGG Partner Ed Jerdon told the Myrtle Beach Online.

Jerdon is the last living partner of GGG Myrtle Beach and is in the Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Fame.

The GGG courses operated independently prior being leased and managed by the Links Group from 1989-2001. In 2001, The Links Group filed for bankruptcy, leading to the official formation of GGG and Classic Golf Group. At it’s peak, Classic Golf Group managed a total of five courses, according to Myrtle Beach Online. 

Jerdon is stepping away from the Myrtle Beach Golf Industry for the first time in 50 years.

“I think I’ll kick back and take a look to see what things look like,” Jerdon said. “I enjoyed construction, but it was completely different; it was a relief from construction. We had a good time and we managed to have good partners and we never had any conflicts. That makes for a pleasant journey.”

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