Golf is golden during shoulder season

This week, Coastal Carolina University's Brittain Jr. Center for Resort Tourism came out with its 'Performance Estimates' for the 2013 tourist season.

According to the report, the number of people who stayed at the beach during the summer tourism season was up by more than four percent over last year.

The Grand Strand is now in its shoulder season, which is the period of time between the high and the low in the travel market.

However, the occupancy rate hasn't dropped as low as it typically does this time of year, according to Taylor Damonte, a Marketing and Resort Tourism Professor at Coastal Carolina University.

Damonte has seen occupancy rates this September that are similar to those recorded in August.

"I've been tracking this for 10 years now, and this is the first September that I've seen where every weekend we ran close or above 80 percent occupancy," Damonte said.

Occupancy during the middle of the week is around 65 percent.

Instead of beach-vacationers, golfers are a big economic driver during the shoulder season. Out of the 14 million people who visit the Myrtle Beach area, around 1 million of them are golfers.

So far this year, golf season is looking good, according to golf industry experts.

"For the golf courses that we manage through the month of September, we are above where were last year," said Steve Mays, the vice president of marketing and sales at National Golf Management.

However, in order for the good fortune to continue, Mays believes good weather is a recipe for more business.

"The weather is obviously a big influence around the season we are going to have here, how many golfers we are going to have out here to play. Unfortunately, a lot of our golfers are booking their rounds closer to when they play golf, so when that happens, weather becomes an even bigger influence on how well we do," Mays said.