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Accommodations tax: Golf Trail drops resort in effort to get funding

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

A group that markets 12 area golf courses has dropped its biggest donor in order to get a share of Georgetown County accommodations tax funds.

The Waccamaw Golf Trail has been a perennial bridesmaid in its effort to get a share of the funds to promote the courses. The Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee approved funds for the group twice last year, but the recommendations were turned down by County Council.

This spring, the committee rejected the golf trail’s request, pointing out that Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort was the only accommodations provider.

The resort, owned by Myrtle Beach National, which also owns three of the member golf courses, put up $100,000 to market the trail.

But John Rusher, program manager for the trail, said the group listened to the committee’s concerns.

As of July 1, the resort is no longer part of the golf trail. References to the resort were removed from the trail’s Web site and replaced with a link to accommodations providers on the county’s tourism Web site.

“We must forgo Litchfield Resort’s annual contribution of $100,000 to our program to promote golf tourism,” Rusher said.

With a reduced budget, the golf trail now wants $40,000 to use on an $80,000 television and online marketing effort that will run from October through May.

There are only five requests for the current round of accommodations tax funding, but they total $648,734.

Scott Proctor, the Georgetown County finance director, expects there will be about $200,000 available. He won’t know for sure until the county gets its next quarterly payment from the state, which is due at the end of the month.

There are also requests for $55,000 and $210,800 for highway landscaping in Litchfield and Murrells Inlet, $150,000 for tourism marketing and $192,934 for the Litchfield tennis complex.

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