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Whispering Pines Golf Course honoring its military history

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Whispering Pines Golf Course is recognizing its military past with tee markers, tee names and the installation of plaques honoring the 28 former base commanders of the property.

The course is located on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, which closed in 1993, when the city of Myrtle Beach took over the course’s operation.

Four fighter squadrons were stationed at the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, and the layout’s four tee boxes have been renamed in their honor. The tees are now named Valor, Panther, Falcon and Green Hornet, and new tee box markers depicting the logos of the fighter squadrons have also been installed.

A total of 28 former base commanders have been recognized with plaques on the property that are in the mold of other historical plaques throughout the redeveloped Market Common area.

Each tee box has a plaque, and the other 10 have been placed around the back deck of the clubhouse near the 10th tee. Each plaque has a picture and short biography of each commander.

Chip Smith, whose Atlantic Golf Management company took over management of the course on Oct. 31, 2014, met with representatives of the city and Myrtle Beach Air Force Base Redevelopment Authority with the idea.

“I went to them and said let’s preserve some of the history of the base, and funded it,” Smith said. “We get a lot of retired military people who play golf down here, both tourists and locals, and I think it adds to the interest”.

There was an official unveiling of the markers and plaques was held on Tuesday during a ceremony on Tuesday that included representatives of city government and base redevelopment authority and other guests.

Nine holes of the 6,731-yard par-72 layout opened in 1962 and a second nine opened in 1986. Golf course architects Joe Finger, Ken Dye and Baxter Spann designed the second nine and integrated them into the existing holes created by an Air Force engineer.

When Whispering Pines Golf Course was military-owned, players had to be a guest of an active or retired military member to not only play the course but get on the base. Rates for military members were based on rank, where generals paid the most while privates obviously paid the least.