Quail Creek at Coastal Carolina University opens for play
The facility, now called Quail Creek Golf Club at Coastal Carolina University, will be operated as a public course by Coastal's Professional Golf Management (PGM) program.
Students enrolled in Coastal's PGM program will staff the course, under the supervision of head golf professional Chip Weisgerber and assistant pro Charles John. Horry-Georgetown Technical College (HGTC) will be responsible for maintenance of the golf course and the associated grounds. Allison Butler, an HGTC graduate, is course superintendent. Assistant superintendent is Zeke Mims, also a graduate of HGTC.
"This partnership exemplifies innovation and creativity," said Coastal President Ronald R. Ingle. "Through this lease agreement, we are able to provide a unique learning laboratory for the students at Coastal and HGTC, who can learn every aspect of the golf course industry in a professional setting."
H. Neyle Wilson, president of HGTC, said the relationship between the two schools "is the perfect example of creative, collaborative teamwork necessary during these times of state funding cutbacks. This will be a win-win situation for everyone involved - especially students."
"Quail Creek will provide our students with access to a facility that they can call their home course," said Charlie Thrash, director of Coastal's PGM program. "They will have more opportunities to play and practice, and some will even be able to complete the program's internship requirements on campus. We will be able to strengthen the PGM-related educational curriculum, and we will be able to increase PGM enrollment." There are currently about 150 students enrolled in the program.
Coastal is one of 17 golf programs across country that is accredited by the Professional Golfer's Association of America. The PGM program requires a four-and-one-half year college curriculum for aspiring PGA professionals. The program provides students the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for success in the golf industry through extensive classroom studies and internship experience. Coastal students have interned at courses ranging from local ones to Pebble Beach, Pinehurst and Oakmont Country Club.
The Golf Course Management Technology program at HGTC is the only two-year program of its kind in the state, and has been ranked by Golf Course Management magazine as one of the country's top three two-year programs. More than half of the superintendents and assistant superintendents at Grand Strand area golf courses are graduates of HGTC, and others serve as superintendents at such renowned courses as Pinehurst, Harbourtown Golf Links and Savannah Harbor.