MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - A specialty golf travel company announced Friday it will establish its first U.S. operations in Charleston County.
Golfbreaks.com, established and headquartered in the United Kingdom, organizes golf travel vacations for approximately 220,000 golfers annually, according to CEO and co-founder Daniel Grave; that makes up about 5% of the golfing population.
Grave said there's roughly 30 million golfers in North America that his company wants to target.
"If we can capture the same 5% market share, that's 1.5 million [people]," Grave said. "I know it sounds like a crazy big number, but in theory, it's possible."
With the company launching its first U.S. operation in Mt. Pleasant, Grave said they can now send people who live in North America "across the pond" to play at historic links courses in Scotland and Ireland.
"That's exciting," said Joshua Hiller, a golfer. "I'm big on golf history and stuff like that."
It doesn't stop there though, the company has bigger plans.
"In January we're launching Mexico and the Dominican Republic, slightly closer to home, winter sun destinations," Grave said. "Then after that we'll also start doing domestic US and Canadian travel. I think that's when the numbers will start to escalate."
That means more people from around the world could be playing on Lowcountry golf courses like Kiawah Island, Bulls Bay, and Stono Ferry.
"It's great for the game," Hiller said. "It's great for the game of golf."
The company was able to come to South Carolina through a new Landing Pad program created by the state's Department of Commerce and other economic development alliances.
The program assists companies with a variety of issues and services, including regulation, taxation and translation, as well as finding suitable office space.
"International investments are a key part of our state's economy," said Morgan Crapps, Senior Manager for International Strategy & Trade with the state's Department of Commerce. "Since 2011 we have helped over 200 international companies here in South Carolina within our borders."
"I believe this is a catalyst, a real launching pad opportunity, for this town to continue to grow smart," said Charleston County Chairman Elliott Summey.
Grave said Charleston offers a variety of entities the company's clients and employees will take advantage of, including the beaches, restaurants, golf courses, and city history.
Five employees have already been hired to work at the company's new Charleston County office, which will be located at 1156 Bowman Road in Mount Pleasant.