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  • Writer's pictureLeigh Gerstenberger

Whispering Pines

Updated: Apr 30

On a recent golf trip to Myrtle Beach my friend Eric made a tee time for us at Whispering Pines Golf Club.  Knowing that we had a 2:45 PM flight back home on the last day, Eric, who’s always thinking ahead, thought that this venue, directly across the street from the airport would be our best opportunity to get in a final eighteen holes on the last day of our junket and make it to the airport in time for our flight.  He was correct, as our flight had just started to board as we were approaching the gate.  

Checking in at the golf shop earlier that day, I happened to notice a plaque by the front door depicting a decorated member of our armed services.  While I didn’t have time to read the story on the plaque, I thought it was interesting and wondered what the service member’s connection to the golf course might have been.  Perhaps he was the founder, owner or just a long-time member who had passed away that the club had decided to honor.

I didn’t think much more about it until I arrived at the first tee and saw yet another plaque detailing the heroics of yet another service member.  As my round of golf evolved, I soon realized that placards depicting the biographies of service members were on every tee in addition to inside the club house and on the patio outside of the restaurant.

As I continued to reflect on this, I thought of the course name, Whispering Pines and wondered what, if any significance the name might have in connection to the plaques.

Upon returning from my trip, I did some research and found the answer in an article published in The Sun News, an excerpt of which is reprinted below. If you take the time to read the article, I think the history of the course will impress you as it did me.  Lest we never forget.

Whispering Pines Golf Club is honoring its military history

by Alan Blondin

The Sun Times

May 3, 2016

The military past of Whispering Pines Golf Club is being recognized with new tee markers, tee names and the installation of plaques honoring the 28 former base commanders of the property.

The course is located on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, which closed in 1993, when the city of Myrtle Beach took over the course’s operation.

Four fighter squadrons called the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base home, and the layout’s four tee boxes have been renamed in their honor. The tees are now named Valor, Panther, Falcon and Green Hornet, and new tee box markers depicting the logos of the fighter squadrons have also been installed.

There were a total of 28 base commanders, and they have been recognized with plaques on the property that are in the mold of other historical plaques throughout the redeveloped Market Common area.

Each tee box has a plaque, and the other 10 have been placed around the back deck of the clubhouse near the 10th tee. Each plaque has a picture and short biography of each commander.

Chip Smith, whose Atlantic Golf Management company took over management of the course on Oct. 31, 2014, met with representatives of the city and Myrtle Beach Air Force Base Redevelopment Authority with the idea.

“I went to them and said let’s preserve some of the history of the base, and [the redevelopment authority] funded it,” Smith said. “We get a lot of retired military people who play golf down here, both tourists and locals, and I think it adds to the interest...”

…Nine holes of the 6,731-yard par-72 layout opened in 1962 and a second nine opened in 1986. Golf course architects Joe Finger, Ken Dye and Baxter Spann designed the second nine and integrated them into the existing holes created by an Air Force engineer.

When it was military-owned, players had to be a guest of an active or retired military member to not only play the course but get on the base. Rates for military members were based on rank – privates played for the least amount (at one point $5) and generals the most.

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