Date of Award
Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)
Planning and Landscape Architecture
Dr. Victoria T. Chanse
Frances F. Chamberlain
Dr. Stephen J. Klaine
Traditionally, the golf industry has maintained a large presence in the state of South Carolina, particularly along the coast. One of the premier areas for golf is the Grand Strand, which is a large stretch of beaches extending from Little River, South Carolina and terminating at Winyah Bay in Georgetown, South Carolina. It consists of more than sixty miles of an essentially uninterrupted arc of beach land. Along the Grand Strand of the South Carolina coast exist 116 golf courses registered with the Myrtle Beach Golf Association and of these 116 courses 21 are closed for redevelopment. (Myrtle Beach Golf Association, 2009) That means that eighteen percent of the golf courses along the Grand Strand are closed. Given that the average golf course is about 150-200 acres, roughly 3,675 acres of land (about ¼ of the total acreage of the city of Myrtle Beach’s city limits) (City of Myrtle Beach, 2000) is not being used for its intended purpose and is just sitting vacant on one of the state of South Carolina’s most rapidly developing areas.
Some of these courses have begun to be redeveloped strictly for housing. So far, no attempts exist to save the golf aspect or any of the intended open recreation space. Current redevelopment plans fail to consider other recreational opportunities that could occur and there is a lacking in the understanding, protection, and use of the current ecology. With all of these courses rapidly closing and the tremendous decrease in tourism and the economy, a design solution is needed to boost tourism and the golf economy while preserving and enhancing the natural beauty of the Lowcountry that has charmed tourists and locals alike. The Myrtle Beach area and the state of South Carolina have an opportunity to set an incredible precedent for other states to follow that will demonstrate smart land use, smart ecological principles, and create a sense of community through creative adaptive reuse.
The Grand Strand of South Carolina is sitting at a cross roads in its development practices. These presently abandoned and once thriving golf courses located in one of the nation’s largest and most successful golfing destinations can be divided into lots, sold off, and forgotten or transformed into something that the state of South Carolina, the city of Myrtle Beach, and the golf industry can be proud of. These new courses will be celebrated as a resurrection of a forgotten recreational landscape as well as the future of golf course development in the Lowcountry and across the state of South Carolina. To achieve this vision, I am proposing a new design that will address all current and important issues regarding golf course redevelopment and will focus on enhancing the land that is already existing while also utilizing smart development principles, creating recreation opportunities for all users (golfers and non golfers), and employing ecological principles for habitat enhancement, water management, and Lowcountry aesthetics.
Haynes, Christopher Lee, "A New Future for South Carolina's Abandoned Golf Courses" (2009). Master of Landscape Architecture Terminal Projects. 24.