Golf on the Hammock Coast, state earns worldwide recognition

7 Mar

Golf on the Hammock Coast, state earns worldwide recognition

South Carolina has been named one of the world’s top 5 golf destinations by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators, and the Hammock Coast is one of the driving forces behind the Palmetto State’s popularity. 

Caledonia Golf & Fish Club in Pawleys Island is routinely ranked as one of the best courses in America.

South Carolina was the only American destination on the IAGTO list that also included Cypress, Dubai, Los Cabos and Thailand.

Established in 2000 and recognized as one of the most prestigious awards in the global golf tourism industry, the 2023 edition of the IAGTO Awards celebrates not only these five golf destinations, but also the outstanding service provided by 60 golf resorts, golf courses, hotels, receptive operators and tourist boards in 22 countries. Members of IAGTO across five continents were invited to vote for destinations and businesses that delivered a great experience for golf travelers in 2022.

South Carolina’s Hammock Coast is comprised of six coastal communities, including Pawleys Island and Litchfield, two of the state’s most popular golf hot spots.  

The Palmetto State is home to 350 courses and Georgetown County layouts such as Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, True Blue Golf Club and Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club are among the best. The Hammock Coast offers 14 courses, including 12 public layouts that are part of the Hammock Coast Golf Trial that attract golfers from across the nation. 

The area’s public courses played an estimated 440,000+ rounds of golf in 2022, helping drive the local economy on and off the course.

“South Carolina’s Hammock Coast, with its natural beauty, world-class golf courses and commitment to customer service, embodies the best of the Palmetto State’s golf scene,” said Bob Seganti, general manager at Caledonia and True Blue, both of which are ranked among the America’s top 100 resort courses. “It speaks to the quality of the South Carolina golf experience that it was the only American destination to earn a place among the world’s best, and it’s gratifying to know we helped contribute to the honor.”

A celebrated sector of South Carolina’s $29 billion tourism industry, golf had an estimated $3.3 billion impact on the state’s economy in 2021 – contributing to 38,000 jobs and $18.3 million in Admissions Tax collections that year. Golf generates more income than any other single entertainment or recreation activity in South Carolina, and visitors who play golf during their trip to South Carolina spend an additional $1.1 billion off-course.

Pawleys Plantation and Country Club is one of 12 public golf courses on the Hammock Coast Golf Trail.

In Georgetown County, home of the Hammock Coast, admission taxes – generated, in large part, by golf – totaled $967,489 for the fiscal year ending in 2021-22. That was up 30 percent from the previous year.

“Golf is a driving force in the continued and dramatic tourism gains experienced here on the Hammock Coast over the last several years,” said Mark A. Stevens, director of tourism development for the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce. “It’s clear from the IAGTO designation for South Carolina, as a whole, just how positive golfers around the world view our state, our region and Georgetown County.

“It’s another definitive statement to how important tourism is to the economy. The Hammock Coast brings people here for our stunning stretch of Atlantic Coast beaches, our rich American history, and our undisturbed natural areas that offer opportunities for fishing, birding, kayaking and more. And, without a doubt, visitors from all over North America — and, indeed, the world — come here for an unparalleled golf experience.”

About South Carolinas Hammock Coast

Georgetown County’s casual charm and Southern hospitality earned it the nickname of South Carolina’s Hammock Coast. Adventure and relaxation blend together in perfect harmony, like the flowing and ebbing of waves on the county’s famed beaches. With six communities – Garden City, Murrells Inlet, Litchfield, Pawleys Island, Georgetown and Andrews – comprising the pristine coastal area between Myrtle Beach and Charleston, visitors can experience South Carolina’s Hammock Coast like never before.

By Chris King for the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce and South Carolina’s Hammock Coast

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