Arthur Herbert ‘Doc’ Lachicotte Jr., a member of the Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Fame who had a big impact on the development of the northern part of Georgetown County and the Waccamaw Neck, has died.
Lachicotte died Sunday at the age of 95 at his home in Pawleys Island, according to John Springs, his cousin and president of the diverse development company Ponderosa Inc., of which Lachicotte was a founder and its largest shareholder.
“With the passing of Doc Lachicotte, we have lost a legend in South Carolina — a man whose life embodied the very fabric of the whole state, its politics, its development in so many aspects of our culture,” said John Napier, a Pawleys Island resident and former judge and US Congressman. “Always with a smile and cheerful attitude and small in physical stature, he was a giant in building the Grand Strand and in all that he touched.”
Pawleys Island and parts of Murrells Inlet look the way they do today in large part to Lachicotte’s vision and efforts.
His many contributions to the area include being largely responsible for the building of Wachesaw Plantation Club, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club and True Blue Golf Club, and he was involved in a transfer of land that led to the creation of TPC Myrtle Beach for the betterment of the Myrtle Beach golf industry.
A fulfilling and productive life
Lachicotte was a Pawleys Island native who spoke with a Gullah-influenced creole brogue.
After serving in World War II — as part of the occupation forces in Japan following the dropping of atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki — and receiving a Horticulture degree from Clemson University, Lachicotte returned to Pawleys Island to open a nursery and run his family’s business, The Hammock Shops, which he grew into an internationally-recognized rope hammock brand.
He later founded The Lachicotte Company in 1991 and led the development of Wachesaw Plantation in Murrells Inlet.
As a partner in Ponderosa Inc., Lachicotte and his friends purchased Caledonia Plantation along the Waccamaw River in 1971 and used it as a place to gather, hunt and fish.
In 1992, the group decided to build its first golf course, Caledonia, and hired Mike Strantz to design his first course as an independent designer. Known for his attention to details and his love of natural beauty, Lachicotte’s fingerprints can be found throughout Caledonia, from the preservation of its centuries-old live oaks and its beautiful landscaping to the old English brick and mortar joints used throughout its clubhouse and retaining walls .
The visually stunning nature of Caledonia and Strantz’s design would catapult it into being one of the most awarded courses on the Grand Strand.
Following Caledonia’s success, Ponderosa hired Strantz to build True Blue, where Lachicotte again took the lead in working with him and contractors to construct a one-of-a-kind layout.
Lachicotte has been involved in the development of several areas of the Strand as a developer for most of his life and owner of Lachicotte Realty for several decades. His company built and operates Pirateland Family Camping Resort in the Surfside Beach area, and the original Ponderosa campground in the 1960s was in the Windy Hill area of North Myrtle Beach.
Ponderosa developed Waverly Plantation in Pawleys Island, and was involved in a land transfer that led to the building of the TPC and surrounding property to enhance golf and give the area a tournament site.
“It was Doc’s vision and his eye for detail and his insistence on perfection that really was the basis for a lot of the success of the company,” Springs said.
Giving back and helping others
Lachicotte was also a philanthropist. He was a trustee emeritus of Brookgreen Gardens, a member of the Clemson University Board of Visitors, and served on many boards including the Georgetown Marine Institute, the Georgetown County Water and Sewer District, and the Horry-Georgetown Technical College Foundation.
He was involved in charitable community endeavors through All Saints Church and was a fundraiser and advocate for the AMIKids home for troubled youth in Georgetown.
Lachicotte was named a South Carolina Economic Development Ambassador for Georgetown County by then-Gov. Mark Sanford in 2007, and received the Lifetime of Leadership Award from the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce in 2010.
“He was a faith, family and friends kind of guy,” Springs said. “He was all those things and was very supportive of people, not only friends but employees. He always spoke to everybody and he knew everybody.”
Lachicotte was an avid fisherman and sportsman who enjoyed golf, and had deep connections in South Carolina.
He was inducted last year into the Myrtle Beach Golf Hall, which resides at Pine Lakes Country Club.
Astronaut and Palmetto State native Charles Duke took a miniature Pawleys Island hammock and SC state flag to the moon and back and gave those to Lachicotte, and he was one of former Clemson football coach Frank Howard’s pallbearers at his funeral. The two became good friends after Lachicotte served as a student trainer for the team in the late 1940s.
“Doc knew just about everybody,” Spring said. “He had more connections to people, particularly in North and South Carolina.”
Mayer Funeral Home and Crematorium is serving the family. A funeral service will likely take place next week after some family members make their way back to the Myrtle Beach area, Springs said.