Born in Montreal, Kobelt owns MyrtleBeachGolf.ca but his background was in the Canadian oil industry, where he was the national supply and distribution manager for Texaco, before moving to Myrtle Beach in 1992.
Here is the story of a Canadian-American who has become one of Myrtle Beach most respected golf directors.
How did your connection to the Myrtle Beach area begin and how did you become a golf director?
I used to come to the area from Canada starting around 1986. I enjoyed golf and the nightlife to the fullest every year. I met my wife here on my golf trip in April 1992. I found her fascinating, started an airline romance for a couple of months, and then took a flyer, resigned in Canada, came down and got immediately married – I had to have that green card! Half of my friends thought I was crazy and the other half wished they could do something like that.
Organizing golf trips was always on my radar. I finally had the chance to work with a large independent packager in 1999 and loved it. The owner and I talked about my having the opportunity to invest and carve out a “Canadian” division but we could just never get that done. In 2007, I took the plunge and formed my own company – MyrtleBeachGolf.ca (it’s .CA because I am still a Canadian citizen). I focus on Canadians, including many French-Canadians since I am bilingual, and I also have many great American customers.
Best round ever?
79 and I have two holes in one.
Favorite Myrtle Beach golf course?
Rivers Edge has been my favorite since it opened. Great Palmer layout and one of the most scenic series of holes along the Shallotte River folks could ever want to see.
If you could recommend one restaurant to a group leader looking for a nice meal, what would it be?
I just had an amazing dinner with a group of 20 golfers at Joe’s Bar and Grill near Barefoot Landing. Amazing choices and excellent service from Elaina (ask her about her new set of Ludwig drums).
If you could recommend one off-course activity to golf groups, what would it be?
My wife will be reading this so I can’t really — ahh – you could go to the library!
What is the most common question group leaders ask you?
Can we tee-off around 10 a.m.? I bet I have explained the practice of double teeing and that there are no 10 a.m. tee times about 10,000 times in my career.
What is your favorite part of being a golf package provider?
I love the relationships that are built with repeat customers – where golfers actually become friends as well. I love the positive feedback and thank-you emails we receive. I know how addictive golf in Myrtle Beach can be, and I remember how we used to enjoy talking about next year’s trip on the way home from this year’s trip. Working with golfers reminds me of those days. And with all the Canadian customers I have – it keeps me connected to home!
What is the largest group you have ever booked?
I worked collaboratively on a group of close to 250 golfers who came on a Zoom Airlines charter plane from Ottawa in 2005 and did a week-long, multi-round schedule during the peak Spring season. It was a great challenge to put everyone (about a dozen groups of 20) through the same golf rotation but of course, on different days!
What group has booked with you the longest?
I have two groups who have been with me since I became a Golf Director in 1999. The Kenny Group from Brockville, Ontario, and the Fleming Group from St. Bruno, Quebec – 17 years in a row! And, I have many, many groups who have booked 10 years or more.
What piece of advice would you provide first time group leaders?
While I know it is the internet age, I would strongly recommend that the leader forget all about trying to book a package himself online. You absolutely cannot get the same results or pricing that you can by picking up the phone and actually speaking with the person you are going to entrust your trip to. By all means request quotes online, because comparative shopping is important to an extent – BUT – nothing beats the service or relationship you can build with a Golf Director who cares about what he is doing for you. I would love for that relationship to be with me or one of my Golf Directors at MyrtleBeachGolf.ca
What is the strangest question you have ever been asked?
This was all in French: “Yes Monsieur JT, we have been told by our friends that if we want to make a trip to Myrtle we should contact you”.
Me: “Great – when did you want to come?”
Them: “We are on I-95 just North of Richmond – we will be there by 4 p.m.” We put a nice trip together for them – even at the last minute. But – the recommendation is still – book early!