Strong reputation attracts golfers to Grand Strand academy for 2 decades
Pawleys Island, South Carolina: January 1, 2011 marks the 20th anniversary of operations for the Phil Ritson-Mel Sole Golf School at Pawleys Plantation in Pawleys Island SC. What began with one teaching pro and a few dozen students, became a business with up to 10 instructors at 6 satellite sites across the USA and a winter site in Mexico. More than 20,000 golfers from all parts of the world have sharpened their skills at the Pawleys Island headquarters since 1991, under the direction of Top Teacher and academy owner Mel Sole.
What are the secrets to their success, when so many other golf schools have come and gone? Quality of instructors and teaching programs top the list. High standards, maintained year after year and confirmed by golf student surveys, earned the Phil Ritson-Mel Sole Golf School recognition on GOLF Magazine’s inaugural “TOP 25 USA Golf Schools” list in 1999. Today, Ritson-Sole is one of only 6 academies in America and the only one in the Myrtle Beach area, to remain on this prestigious list for 10 straight years. One might infer from GOLF Magazine’s current rankings that this golf school is THE best in the nation because of the accompanying quote beside the Ritson-Sole name: “This group has done it longer and better than any school.”
Affordability is also a factor. Many other highly-ranked golf schools charge from $1200 to $2500 commuter rate for a 3-day program. Mel Sole prices his 3-day school at $495 – $595 year round, so that the average golfer can afford to better his or her skills & ultimately help to grow the game. Families, who are crucial to the survival of golf, enjoy special discounts.
This nationally acclaimed golf school also caters to local golfers with afternoon clinics at just $35 per person. GOLF Magazine and Golf Digest ‘Top Teacher’ Mel Sole has coached young golfers from the community and also high school teams, for years at no charge. Some of these youngsters, such as Chris Marsh of Georgetown SC & Lorraine Ballerano of Surfside Beach SC, have gone on to prove themselves as US Amateur contenders and Futures Tour cardholders.
Whether working with celebrities like the late Jim Valvano and various NHL & MLB stars, or tutoring a shy 8 year old taking her first lesson, Mel Sole reflects on his beginnings and the people who gave him the opportunity to succeed. Phil Ritson, former coach to Gary Player and other stars, inspired Mel to become a teacher, back when Mel was a South African PGA Tour Player. It was Phil who brought Mel Sole to Myrtle Beach to launch The Phil Ritson Golf Studio in 1989. Mel later purchased the business, renamed it, and developed it into the success it is today.
Les Morris, developer of Pawleys Plantation and former co-owner of several Myrtle Beach hotels, invited Mel to make Pawleys Plantation his headquarters in 1991. Les provided support for the Ritson-Sole academy until the recent sale of the property to the venerable Myrtle Beach National Company.
The future for this academy looks bright, with extensive marketing support available from a much larger host company like Myrtle Beach National. MBN is offering reduced room rates and green fees in response to the current economy, which makes Ritson-Sole’s Best Ever Golf School Package even more attractive to vacationing golfers.
More information on the Phil Ritson-Mel Sole Golf School is available by calling (800) 624-4653 or online at www.ritson-sole.com.