Meredith: This is episode number 29 of the Gimme Golf Podcast, powered by Myrtlebeachgolftrips.com. We've got your spring Myrtle Beach Golf Vacation updates right here. I'm at the beautiful Pine Lakes Country Club in History Hall and joining me today is Justin Binke, Myrtle Beach Golf Trips, Director of Marketing and Sales. Justin, I'm glad to have you in the house today.
Justin Binke: Hey Meredith, glad to be here. Thank you.
Meredith: Well, I definitely have some questions for you because spring golf is coming upon us and I'm so excited because I'm over winter now.
Justin Binke: Yeah, no. I'm right there with you, Meredith. Finally, spring's around the corner here and we're gearing up, getting ready for some great golf here in Myrtle Beach.
Meredith: Yep. Well, I love the spring season. I also love the fall season as well. I can't wait to get out there and have some warmer days. A lot of people are calling me, sending me emails right now, can we book right now with this COVID environment? I know we're starting to come out of it and whatnot. I'm certainly saying absolutely, sure you can. So, I want to tell our listeners a little bit about maybe what that process is for maybe we have somebody saying, "I really want to come to Myrtle Beach and have my annual spring golf trip," but they're a little uncertain. So, how do they navigate through that process of making a decision to come here?
Justin Binke: Yeah, no. That's a great question, Meredith, and we're seeing a lot of that on our end too, where a lot of people are submitting quotes and calling us and just getting in that planning stage to make a golf trip, which is great to see. Yeah. We'd love to have them. So, with Myrtlebeachgolftrips.com, on the website, you can scroll through all our packages. You can go through the news, see what's the latest news and updates here in Myrtle Beach for golf and tee times and book tee times online. So I mean, if you're looking to make a trip and you want to learn what's going on here in Myrtle Beach, we do have a lot of different options on the website to go and see. So, first of all, I bet you the first thing they want to know about is how the COVID-19 update is and what we're doing down here from a golf course standpoint.
So, that's been a hot topic. So, just to briefly discuss that, I mean here in Myrtle Beach Golf Trips and the golf courses here, we really took a really proactive approach from safety precautions and protocols in place of the golf course is to keep everybody safe and that just entails we're sanitizing the golf carts or masks are required inside. We do have social distancing going on. So, everything that we can possibly do to keep people safe when they arrive at the golf course, we've been doing.
Meredith: Well, I've heard back from a lot of players and they love the park and play program and you guys implemented that program with our courses here and what a success that has been because a lot of people just don't even want to go in the pro shop if they don't have to, especially those that travel a lot and whatnot. So, tell us a little bit about that.
Justin Binke: Yeah. So, that's just great. This is something that we're really proud of implementing in our park and play program here and you can learn more about it on myrtlebeachgolftrips.com, but basically what it entails is just by allowing our customers to go ahead and book online at any golf course they would like to play and by booking online, you prepay for it. Everything's set to go. You're in the system. You don't even have to walk in the clubhouse. They'll have you on the tee sheet. So, having that ability for our customers to book online directly and not have to worry about going to golf shop, it's a big benefit for us and for the customer too.
Meredith: And also customers have the worry free cancellation. I think that's huge. I think that's a pretty big deal because if you're going to be spending money on a golf trip and let's say worst case scenario, maybe you get COVID or a friend of yours on the trip and you have to pull out from the trip, knowing that you still could come back at another time, you don't lose any money, that's huge. I mean, that's the first thing that I personally look at when traveling right now. Okay, if I need to cancel, am I going to lose my money?
Justin Binke: Yeah, no. I mean, exactly, Meredith, and that's probably our biggest question that we're seeing is what's your cancellation policy? I don't know in the future what it holds. So, I mean it boils down to we have a very open-ended cancellation policy where it's worry free cancellation up to 48 hours in advance for your first play date. So, you can always get a rain check and come back another time. That's always an option, but our cancellation policy is really based on 48 hours outside of your first play date and you're able to cancel, minus some cancellation fees and you could find all those details right on myrtlebeachgolftrips.com. There's a header on top and it says, "Learn more about our worry free cancellation policy," and you drill down to the details there, but that pretty much sums it up there and that's a question we get almost every day from groups wanting to know and pretty much everybody, all businesses, whether it be flights, airlines, other booking agencies, their cancellation policies have all changed and they got to be out there in the forefront for the customer to see.
Meredith: Right. Exactly. Well, I've seen a growth in new people coming into the game. As an instructor, I've been busy in the last six months. It's wild. I thought for me personally, I thought things would decrease. It has not. It has increased. I've taught a lot of new beginner lessons and with that being said, are you seeing an increase in golf play just locally and more people inquiring about packages?
Justin Binke: Yeah and it's been great. I think playing golf and being outside is handling a little relief for a lot of people to go out there and be able to be outside and be with their friends or family and whatnot and just to enjoy the game. We have seen an increase in local players come out and wanting to play as a refuge to get out of the house, if you will, which I have myself played a lot more golf recently just wanting to be outside.
So, we have seen that and I think too it's just as we've gone through January and into February here shortly is we've seen a lot of action for an interest in for a potential package here in Myrtle beach and our agents have... They're our golf directors or professional golf directors on staff, just talking to them the other day, they're saying their repeat customers are calling them now and they actually were getting from the websites too, from submitting a quick quote, filling all your details, arrival date, number of golfers, any notes you may have or details you want to list down too, we've seen a lot of those come through. So, good to see that.
Meredith: It is.
Justin Binke: It is good to see that. It tells us that there is a lot of people that are actually looking to come down and play some golf.
Meredith: So, when it comes to what are the best spring packages, what are you seeing? Being the Director, I mean you know what types of trips that people like to make and yearly, is it the same type of spring trip or are things a little different now this year? I mean, what are people going for?
Justin Binke: Yeah. That's another great question, Meredith. We have so many package options for our guests. I mean, if you want to play two rounds, four rounds, eight rounds, all across any type of package from playing barefoot up there in North Myrtle Beach to play three, get one free down to the South end in Pawleys Plantation where it's the founder's package, that seems to be one of the top requested, I think right now, is the founder's group golf package where it's we call it the inclusive package and what the customer gets, each golfer gets on that package is you pay $5 more and you receive lunch off the menu and range balls included and as well as two free drink tickets, whether it be draft beer or soda. So-
Meredith: Wait. Is that per round you can do that?
Justin Binke: Yep. Per round. Yep. So, every round you book on that package, you get those things. A lunch, two drinks and range balls all included.
Meredith: Holy cow, that's really good.
Justin Binke: It is good and you have your option too of mix and matching founders to 21 different golf courses. So, we've seen a lot of golfers book down an afternoon round and book it at 12:30 and show up a little early, have lunch, get some drinks and go out there and play golf is what we're seeing.
Meredith: Wow. Now, you also have new food menus that came out last year and it's amazing too, by the way. I've actually had some lunches at some of the courses and wow, what a difference. I mean, it's really good food. In fact, I think the food is so good I'm like, "Forget going to a restaurant after you play golf. Just have dinner, have a late afternoon dinner when you're done playing golf and then you can go straight to the hotel." You don't have to worry about it if you have COVID concerns, just you can keep everything at the course really.
Justin Binke: Yeah, no. I mean, it is great because we released the new menus this fall and they've got some great feedback on some of our options. So, definitely check that out and that's all across the founders group courses. We released a whole new menu across all of them. So-
Meredith: It's really good-
Justin Binke: Yeah.
Meredith: It's like Southern cuisine. Seriously for maybe our Northern golfers, if you love us down here for our Southern cuisine and our sweet tea, you're going to find it down here at our golf courses, for sure.
Justin Binke: And it fits perfectly with this package too because you got the new menu. You can buy lunch off of that or it's included lunch on that package. So-
Meredith: That's awesome. All right. I would do the eight rounds. I would spend the five extra dollars. So, for $35 I'm going to have 16 drinks, eight meals. Okay. That's insane and range balls. That's crazy. Okay. That's a good deal. I like that.
Justin Binke: We're selling a lot of that package and yeah, no. It's something that a lot of customers will be able to take advantage of in spring too.
Meredith: Right. All right. Last question for you, what's your favorite course?
Justin Binke: My favorite course?
Meredith: Oh, I already know it. Oh, okay. No. Wait. Other than Pawleys Plantation Golf and Country Club because I know that's going to be your number one. [crosstalk 00:10:29].
Justin Binke: Yep.
Meredith: So, what's the next one?
Justin Binke: Wow. There are so many, but I would have to say that here at Pine Lakes is definitely top of my list too. Just the ambiance here, the history here, what Pine Lakes has, the golf course itself is in great shape. It's always in great shape and I've never really played good here. So, I've always wanted to come out here and really give it another go and-
Meredith: How come you haven't played good here? I mean, it's a challenging course, but it's not like Pawleys.
Justin Binke: No. It's not like Pawleys at all. Well first of all, I can't really putt very well. So, in these greens here, I mean they're in great shape, great greens. It's just, I don't know. I don't know. I just got to play this course more often and I do love it. Once I finish a round here, it's like this, "This was a great, enjoyable round." I love this golf course. It's struck for me, but-
Meredith: Right. Well, I love Pine Lakes as well and I always tell people, Pine Lakes Country Club is a great place to actually start your golf trip, especially if you do appreciate golf history. I mean, you have History Hall here. It is the birthplace of The Sports Illustrated. It's the first course we ever had in Myrtle Beach in what? 1927? The granddaddy, it's been here a long time. So, if you're taking a trip to Myrtle Beach and you haven't played this course, I have to agree with you, it definitely needs to be on the bucket list at point when you come to Myrtle Beach and play.
Justin Binke: Absolutely. As well as golf courses that in my opinion is definitely a must play here at Myrtle Beach.
Meredith: Yep. All right. So, if you're listening and you want a book or you're curious about booking or you have questions, whatever it may be, the great thing about our golf directors is you can call them and get a free, quick quote. So, whatever course you're looking at, maybe you want to play Pawleys Plantation and Pine Lakes, you can call one of our golf directors and I know obviously you being the Director of Sales and Marketing, you've taken those calls. You've talked to customers. You know the ins and outs of how it is to get this quick, free golf quote. So, tell us a little bit about that process and then we'll wrap up.
Justin Binke: Yeah, no. So, our golf directors are always on staff. We're open from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM at night. So, feel free to give us a call anytime. Here at Myrtle Beach Golf Trips, we have golf agents waiting, standing by ready to take the call and definitely give us a call. We do have a couple of other options as well. We have a live chat feature on our website. You can speak to one of them directly via chat, if that's something you want to do. We have a lot of customers taking advantage of that and then lastly or probably the biggest one is the ability to go on to Myrtle Beach Golf Trips and you'll see a quick quote section on top of the navigation there and you click that and the form is really simple, easy to use, fill out how many golfers you want, your arrival, departure, any other detailed information you want to include, what golf courses you want to play and that way, when our agent gets it, right away they have all the details of exactly what your golf trip would like to be.
Meredith: Okay and when it comes to group size, what's the largest group that you've ever catered to?
Justin Binke: Actually, we've held some pretty good tournaments where it's over 120 golfers a day, but I think we've had over 100. We've had over 100. It's mostly folks coming from out of town or from everywhere, coming to meet in one location, but oh yeah, then we've had some really big groups come by.
Meredith: Okay. Well, there you go. You can just book for a small group, an extra large group, you can go to Myrtlebeachgolftrips.com. You heard it from the best, our Justin Binke here in the house today at Pine Lakes Country Club. All right. Well, I'm looking forward to some spring golf. I'm ready to get through winter. Winter's my least favorite season. I don't know about you guys. I just love our warm weather. So, thanks for all this information and you guys listening, check us out. Myrtlebeachgolftrips.com.