Golf Course Marketing in a Tourism Destination

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Conference Track

Sport Marketing

Publication Date



Researchers have identified several types of sport tourists (Hinch & Higham, 2001). Those who travel to a destination with the primary intention to golf obviously consider the weather, but also look at the image of the region, the ability of the region to meet the traveler’s perceived needs, and non-golf activities at the destination (Hinch & Higham, 2004). One study showed golf tourists only spend 25% of their total trip dollars on golf; the other 75% is spent on food, lodging, transportation, and other forms of entertainment (Hennessy, Yun, & MacDonald, 2010). The Myrtle Beach, SC, and Grand Strand region has long been known as a vacation destination. Through partnerships among tourism planners, local CVBs, golf courses, and accommodation providers, the region has been branded, “the golf capital of the world” (Mills, 2011). With over 100 courses of varying prices and playing ability requirements, the region has seen a recent rebound from the economic downturn (Blondin, 2011). Rounds of golf played in spring 2011 in this area increased nearly 9% over the same period in 2010 (Blondin, 2011). Much of the success of golf in this region can be attributed to the marketing cooperatives formed between hotels, motels, and golf courses, which create bundled packages for visitors and tourists (Blondin, 2011). Key factors in the upturn in rounds played in the region include marketing campaigns in cities with direct flights to Myrtle Beach and an increase in the number of those direct flights (Blondin, 2011). The total number of rounds of golf played in 2010 in the United States was 478 million, a decrease of 2.3% from 2009 (National Golf Foundation, 2011; Sens, 2011). More than 26.1 million people played at least one round of golf in 2010 (Miller, 2011). Panelists will address issues in golf tourism and how they apply to this region. Topics include marketing strategies used by sectors of the golf industry to reach tourists, the impact of locals, package deals provided by hotels, and relationships with air carriers that service the region.

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