Myrtle Beach, S.C., renowned as a destination resort for golfers, has been attracting a different golf clientele: Chinese investors buying up its courses.
The Sun News reported recently that Chinese investors have bought 13 courses in the area, paying $47 million for them.
International World Tour Golf Links
"Absolutely it's a good thing," John Draughn, a commercial sales broker for Coldwell Banker in Myrtle beach, said. Draughn has brokered some of the sales. "The alternative, in my opinion as a real-estate professional, is that you don't want these things going to seed. We've had one or two down here go to seed."
Myrtle Beach courses appeal to Chinese investors for a couple of reasons, Draughn said.
"A lot of these guys are coming out of New York and New Jersey and are buyers of commercial property," he said. "Their kids are going to Harvard or Yale and such, and they understand the east coast. And Myrtle Beach is affordable and nice.
"One or two of these guys are just fanatical about golf. The man who bought Crown Park Golf Club [Shengwen Lan] played in the [Myrtle Beach] World Amateur a couple years ago."
The Classic Golf Group sold its three courses — Founders Club of Pawleys Island, Indian Wells Golf Club and Burning Ridge Golf Club — to a group of Chinese investors for about $11 million.
"As far as selling a golf property now it depends on the purchaser, whether they can even get financing," Ed Jerdon, a partner in the Classic Golf Group, told the Sun News. "The Chinese, they came with cash, and they continue to buy."
Cokie and Steve Roberts, who write a weekly syndicated column for United Media, note that it isn't golf alone enticing Chinese investors.
"The potential impact of this trend goes far beyond refurbished courses and rescued jobs," they wrote. "Many Chinese investors want to establish footholds for their families in America, and have also bought at least 100 private homes in the area.
"A recent Barclays survey of China's wealthiest families found that almost half want to move abroad. According to the Wall Street Journal, 78 percent cite better educational and employment opportunities for children' as their main reason for emigrating."