Chi­nese in­vestors tee up in US golf haven

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York paulwelitzkin@chinadailyusa.com

It’s known as the “sea­side golf cap­i­tal of the world” be­cause it has more than 100 golf cour­ses, and now with their lat­est pur­chase, an in­vestor group from China is the largest op­er­a­tor of golf cour­ses in Myr­tle Beach, South Carolina.

Founders Group In­ter­na­tional last month ac­quired the ma­jor­ity of the as­sets of Na­tional Golf Man­age­ment, which had been the largest owner/op­er­a­tor in the area with 12 cour­ses and an ad­di­tional five op­er­ated through man­age­ment

Founders has not been alone in ac­quir­ing cour­ses in the area. Other Chi­nese groups, fam­i­lies or in­di­vid­u­als have pur­chased golf cour­ses and re­lated as­sets. Ac­cord­ing to the Char­lotte Ob­server news­pa­per, in­vestors from China have pur­chased 27 of the area’s 80-plus public cour­ses since June 2013. Brad Dean, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Myr­tle Beach Cham­ber of Com­merce, es­ti­mates that the Chi­nese now own about 25 per­cent of the re­gion’s golf in­dus­try.

In ad­di­tion to its mild cli­mate and beach ac­cess to the At­lantic Ocean, the Myr­tle Beach area, also known as the Grand Strand, many of its golf cour­ses are the work of top de­sign­ers. It also claims to be the minia­ture golf cap­i­tal of the world with its 50 minia­ture cour­ses.

Founders Group In­ter­na­tional is mainly owned by Chi­nese in­vestor Dan Liu and New York res­i­dent Nick Dou, who is also the pres­i­dent of Founders Group. Prior to this lat­est pur­chase, Founders had ac­quired sev­eral other cour­ses in the area.

“I was at­tracted by the golf, Myr­tle Beach’s close lo­ca­tion to the ocean and the won­der­ful weather,” Dou told China Daily.

Dou ac­knowl­edges that not too many Chi­nese were familiar with Myr­tle Beach. “They had heard of and in many cases vis­ited San Fran­cisco, New York and Florida,” he said. “But al­most no Chi­nese knew about Myr­tle Beach. I told them it was a di­a­mond in the rough and then brought them to visit.”

Na­tional Golf Man­age­ment em­ploys about 700 peo­ple ac­cord­ing to Dou. “We have in­vested over $100 mil­lion in Myr­tle Beach and we pro­vide jobs and pay taxes,” he said.

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