Golf Comes to Myrtle Beach
The first pro to serve at the Dunes Club was Jimmy D’Angelo, the son of an Italian immigrant laborer. D’Angelo was a scrawny, dark-eyed nine-year-old when he started working as a caddy at the Huntington Country Club, outside his native Philadelphia. By the time he was twenty-one, he was the club pro at Huntington and the youngest professional golfer in the country. When he was thirty-eight, he came to the Dunes and spent the next half-century promoting Myrtle Beach golf.
In April 1954, D’Angelo invited about a dozen golf writers to stop by Myrtle Beach for a Robert Trent Jones testimonial dinner on their way to the Masters in Augusta. The scribes were wined and dined and spent the week on the links. They returned home to write glowing reports of Myrtle Beach golf in their major Northern newspapers. Such publicity could not have been bought at any price, and it continues to this day. The Golf Writers of America Annual Tournament is a Myrtle Beach tradition.
D’Angelo’s career was a succession of accolades. “Everything Myrtle Beach has become owes a little something to Jimmy,” said Dunes Club golf director Cliff Mann. “He brought the golf writers to Myrtle Beach and they brought the world,” said Mickey McCammish. In 1977, Mayor Bob Hirsch officially recognized D’Angelo as “Mr. Golf.”
Golf Takes Over Myrtle Beach
The vast majority of golfers who come to the Grand Strand are male and most of those males come in the company of other males, released however briefly from the bonds of hearth and home, career and community. They get in two – sometimes three – rounds while the sun shines. And when night falls, they hit the town.
What the Pavilion Amusement Park is to ten-year-olds, Myrtle Beach night life is to these weekend bachelors. For women in the service industry, golfers are an occupational hazard, albeit an extremely lucrative one. Any woman waiting tables or tending bar for more than a few months can tell tales of being groped, propositioned or otherwise insulted by roving golfers. For other tourists, golfers are simply a hazard and a nuisance. When a pack of them descend on a restaurant – drunk, loud, obscene – unattached women instinctively herd together like sheep before wolves, or pay their checks and leave.
Like a force of nature waiting to be harnessed, this unbridled flood of testosterone drew entrepreneurs, builders and dreamers. The first strip club on the Strand was Thee Doll House, which opened on the family-oriented Restaurant Row section of U.S. 17 in 1988. By the spring of 1992, at least a half-dozen clubs were applying for business licenses. They sported such names as Pink Pony, Nuttin’ Butt Horseplay, Fantails, Derriere’s, Bottoms Up and Dangerous Curves.