Coastal Carolina University has entered into the first stages of an agreement that may ultimately allow the institution to lease Quail Creek Golf Course, which is located adjacent to the CCU campus in Conway.
The terms of the agreement require Coastal to pursue state approval for a five-year lease of the course. The property would also be placed in a perpetual conservation easement. If Coastal's board endorses the plan, it will then require approval from several state agencies. Ultimately, the South Carolina Budget & Control Board must concur with the terms, though its final decision will not be rendered before the spring of 2005.
Coastal has been looking to secure access to a golf facility for several years now for the purpose of strengthening the accreditation of its professional golf management program. Coastal has one of only 15 professional golf management programs in the nation accredited by the Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA).
Glenmark, a West Virginia company, has an option to buy Quail Creek from its current owners. If the company follows through with the purchase, it would lease the course to the university.
Mark Nessleroad, CEO of Glenmark, said he was pleased that the company could potentially assist Coastal in achieving its goal of using Quail Creek as a university facility. "It's a good business transaction for both parties, and we're delighted to help the university advance its interests," he said. Glenmark recently developed campus projects for West Virginia University and is expanding its business activities to the Grand Strand.
The current owners of Quail Creek, Classic Golf Group, were instrumental in making the opportunity possible for the university. Ed Jerdon and Rowland Thomas, the group's managing partners, said the company has always wanted the university and the golf course to become formally linked. "We couldn't be happier," Jerdon commented. "We're pleased to help make this possible, and it is truly a win-win for all concerned."
Ronald R. Ingle, president of Coastal Carolina University, views this undertaking as essential for the advancement of Coastal's golf management program. "Quail Creek would be a first-class teaching and learning facility for our students, and its proximity to our campus is also a very positive feature," he said.
Ingle said the university is also discussing partnership possibilities with Horry-Georgetown Technical College regarding the operation of Quail Creek, which could serve as a valuable learning laboratory for HGTC's golf course maintenance and turf management programs.