Wild Wing Plantation Set to Close 45 Holes

The 72-hole Wild Wing Plantation in Conway, S.C., is about to shrink. A new ownership group of the popular facility plans to permanently close 45 holes to make way for an 1,100-unit housing project.

Six courses closed on South Carolinaís Grand Strand in 2005 and another seven have announced plans to close for redevelopment this year. If the Wild Wing courses close as announced, the number of layouts in one of Americaís top golf destinations area will drop to 105 in early 2007, with 100 still open to the public.

The facility is now owned by an investment group that includes C.L. Benton & Son construction company of Myrtle Beach. The new owners plan to close the Wood Stork and Hummingbird courses this June. The Falcon is expected to close in early 2007. The Avocet will remain a public course for the foreseeable future, according to a plan presented to the Conway planning commission in early March. The first two holes of the current Wood Stork course and an unidentified seven holes of the Hummingbird layout will be retained for a third nine, which isnít expected to open until well into 2007.

Developers say the 40 homeowners in the 94-lot Sanctuary subdivision that currently have homes along the Hummingbird course will retain their golf course views on the third nine-hole layout. "We wanted to reassure the people who had homes with golf course views they would retain that and we wouldn't develop the area behind their homes," partner Lawton Benton told Alan Blondin of the Conway Sun News.

The project will probably come to fruition, as the planning commission recommended that the Conway City Council approve the plan with a few alterations.

The four courses opened between 1991 and 1994. The Jeff Brauer-designed Wood Stork opened in '91, the Willard Byrd-designed Hummingbird in '92, the Larry Nelson-designed Avocet in '93, and the Rees Jones-designed Falcon in '94. In addition to its courses, Wild Wing has a sprawling driving range and two large practice putting greens that will be eliminated. A new practice area is planned.