The Executive Tournament Committee of Family Golf Week presented by PGA TOUR Superstore has chosen John Rhodes, Mayor of the City of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as the recipient of the “Father of the Year” award for the 19th annual tournament being held July 21-23, 2016 in Myrtle Beach, SC.
John Rhodes isn’t technically a native of Myrtle Beach, but after 50-plus years, he’s the next best thing. The city’s current mayor discovered Myrtle Beach as a teenager when he came to a friend’s house-party. In those early days, he worked as a lifeguard but quickly developed his business sense. By age 27, he was managing the Yachtsman Hotel, followed by the Ocean Dunes Resort. Through the years, he also owned and operated seven restaurants.
In 1981, Rhodes became executive director of the Beach Ball Classic, one of the nation’s premier high school holiday invitational tournaments. Top teams and talent from around the United States travel to Myrtle Beach to participate in this annual tournament, now in its 35th year.
Rhodes first was elected as mayor in 2005 and then re-elected in 2009 and 2013. Accomplishments during his tenure include construction of the 1.3 mile oceanfront boardwalk, which has led to at least $20 million in private investments. These include the SkyWheel, a 180-foot tall enclosed Ferris wheel, and three oceanfront dining complexes.
The city also welcomed The Market Common, a multi-million dollar urban village complex surrounded by Grand Park, several thousand new homes and a new, 400-acre International Technology and Aerospace Park. To increase sports tourism, Myrtle Beach added indoor and outdoor athletic complexes, hosting thousands of traveling teams each year for soccer, baseball, softball, basketball and football.
As mayor, Rhodes pushed for passage of the Tourism Development Fee, a one-percent sales charge that creates $25 million annually for out-of-market advertising. Since adopting the fee in late 2009, the Grand Strand has seen a 25 percent increase in annual tourism and a $9 billion economy.
With such can-do thinking, Mayor Rhodes now has turned his attention toward Savannah’s Playground, a fully-accessible facility unlike anything else in South Carolina. Rhodes has raised nearly $1 million so far for construction of the playground on city property at Grand Park.
“This is truly one of the most treasured awards for which I have been honored,” said John Rhodes. “I have played many important roles in my life, including Mayor of the largest tourist city in the state of South Carolina…but none are more important and give me more pleasure than being a dad. Family Golf Week provides a great environment for parents and their children to enhance that ‘team member’ relationship and develop life-long memories and traditions. Plus, it plays a tremendous role in the economic impact of our area.”
Brad Greenstein, tournament director of Family Golf Week, states, “John Rhodes is a true ambassador of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and the true essence of golf, our community and the importance of family. It is our honor to have him as this year’s Father of the Year.”
Recent Past “Father of the Year” honorees include
- 2015 – Gene Weldon – an icon in the Myrtle Beach golf community for more than 40 years
- 2014 – Major Dan Rooney, founder of the Folds of Honor Foundation
- 2013 – Col. Charles “Charlie” Thrash, Myrtle Beach golf industry leader and Director of the Professional Golf Management Program at Coastal Carolina University
- 2012 – George Hilliard, president of the Myrtle Beach Golf Course Owners Association
- 2011 – Clay Brittain, instrumental in the successful development of Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday.
- 2010 – Rev. Tom Brittian, retired United Methodist clergy, and prominent Myrtle Beach community leader.
- 2009 – Joe Louis Barrow, Jr, Chief Executive Officer of The First Tee
- 2008 – Mickey McCamish, former Executive Director of Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday