Second Grand Strand golf course purchased by Chinese investor

A Chinese investor recently bought a Grand Strand golf course, the second in the area to be purchased by a Chinese businessman.

The latest acquisition started with last year's World Amateur Golf Tournament.

Wealthy Chinese businessman Shengwen Lan traveled to the Myrtle Beach area to play a few rounds and liked what he saw.

"When he came to Myrtle Beach, he falls in love with this place, the people and the environment here, so he decided to purchase some property here," said Jing Li, assistant manager at Crown Park Golf Club near Longs.

Lan decided to buy Crown Park, along with 100 acres of adjacent land for residential and commercial development.

Lan assumed ownership of the course February 25.

The director of golf at Crown Park says he was excited when he first heard about the new owner, and especially about his plans to invest in the course to make it one of the best on the Grand Strand.

"New drainage, new traps, new cart paths, and it's just going to make this golf course a different golf course and a much more enjoyable golf course," said Gerry Gaboriau.

Last summer, another Chinese investor bought Sea Trail Golf Resort in Sunset Beach, NC.

Li says people in this area shouldn't be surprised if other Chinese investors look at Grand Strand golf properties.

"This place is really beautiful and the golfing here is very nice, so we think that."

Officials at Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday say it's too early to tell whether two Chinese owners constitutes a trend. Or whether that would be a good thing for the area's golf industry, or bad.

"From our perspective, it's a neutral thing," said Golf Holiday's communications director Chris King. "What we want for all the golf courses down here is just good strong ownership and hopefully they'll provide that, whether they're from China, whether they're from Horry County, or wherever the case may be."

King says he thinks a couple of guys from China saw a good opportunity in America's best known golf market and took advantage of it, but over the long term, most course owners will remain local.