Caledonia Chowder Shack

Meet the man who makes the chowder everyone loves at Caledonia

Does one of the course’s owners really make the chowder everyone loves at Caledonia?

Prior to the opening of Caledonia Golf & Fish Club in 1994, Frank Beckham wasn’t sure the land his family and friends had long hunted and fished on should be converted into a golf course, but friends in the booming Myrtle Beach golf industry suggested the property, given its natural beauty, was an ideal spot for a new layout.

The rest is history.

Twenty-nine years later, Beckham couldn’t be any prouder of his association with one of America’s top 100 public courses. Matter of fact, he is an essential part of the Caledonia experience.

Of the many charms at Caledonia, the complementary fish chowder served at the turn during the spring and fall seasons – providing golfers a little sustenance, a little spice, and a lot of ambiance – is somewhere near the top.

The tradition began decades ago when George Young, who was the personal valet for the Vanderbilt family, began making and serving the stew, and he was followed by John Rush, a long-time friend of the course and its stockholders.

Nearly five years ago, Rush suffered a massive heart attack after making the stew one morning and tragically passed away.

After Rush’s death, Beckham, who owned a private catering business for nearly 30 years, was the natural choice to ensure one of Caledonia’s most popular traditions continued.

“I jumped on the opportunity,” Beckham said. “It’s been really interesting because you meet so many people sitting at the chowder shack.”

While Beckham inherited a recipe that was popular with golfers, he didn’t hesitate to tweak it. Young and Rush made something that more closely resembled a stew, which meant the fish and potatoes didn’t remain intact.

Beckham opted to turn everyone’s favorite dish into a chowder – meaning chunks of fish and potatoes – and he added a small bottle of ketchup, sweetening the recipe without knocking all the edge off its signature spice.

So how often do Beckham and John Warga, who helps make the chowder, cook and how much do they make?

During Caledonia’s peak seasons, Beckham reports to Caledonia’s fish shed and makes seven gallons of chowder every other day.

The recipe includes 10 pounds of fish, 10 pounds of potatoes, nine different spices and a variety of other ingredients. The entire process takes approximately 2 hours from start to finish.

The end result is a chowder that golfers clamor for and it’s served from approximately 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day, adding to the fun at Caledonia Golf & Fish Club.

Next time you are at Caledonia and someone in your group wonders who made the chowder, you can tell them it’s a labor of love for one of the course’s shareholders.

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