In a small hospital room, I stand bedside with my hand grasping the relaxed knee of the man that brought me and siblings into this world. Strangely I returned in thought back to my youth and those moments that I and this man of 80 years shared together but apart at another small almost unaware golf course. Growing up in North Central Georgia, being a male meant your parental steering was toward those junior athletic sports most accepted within the peer pressure circles of the time. The little white ball with dimples was rarely seen especially if you did not have a town named after you or your dad was not able to take every Wednesday afternoon off from work. Looking into the face of the aged man lying there in the hospital bed, I fondly remember the one day that he felt a pressured urge to learn a game played on open fields of grasses while whaling swords with grips and taking aggression on a little round object that seems to have a mind of it own. It was then that he returned home that faithful afternoon for which I was anxiously awaiting his arrival by standing in the driveway my helmet and shoulder pads in hand in-order to take our routine trip up the road to a different open field of grass that would later become a mud pit. On this particular afternoon, my dad springs out of the car and from the trunk produces not one but two sets of Sears “Professionals” starter golf clubs. Each set had a small eight inch diameter leather bag with a “1” wood, “3” wood, and 3,5,7,9 irons and a two way putter with the red painted bulls-eye on either side of the face. Being of somewhat smaller statue than my dad, I thought it was cool, at first, that my set was the same “size” as his. I would later learn the negatives of learning the game with standard clubs. Getting over the initial excitement and bewilderment of getting golf clubs, we left for the grid-iron and I heard a brief explanation as to why dad spent some of the little hard earned monies he had to purchase the shiny components of steel with hard rubber grips. Never did I think on that afternoon that his purchase would become a lifelong love and obsession for me.
The argued purchased sets of clubs sat calmly but obvious in the garage for several weeks until my responsibilities on the grid-iron had been met. Then out of the blue, Senior decides one brisk but sunny Saturday morning that he and his only son will start the quest to master the game that seemingly was simple, with little rules, requiring no special body protection, plus the little round ball just laid there and you were not being tackled for holding it or was it being hurled at you from other people at vast speeds and curvatures. In our late 1950’s vehicle, this Father/Son took the 30 plus mile quest toward what I believed was the coolest place that maybe I had ever seen before. Named after the small creek that ran into some natural spring, “never really seen”, Clifton Springs Par 3 Golf Club and Water Park just outside of Atlanta was our destination to begin our golfing education. Now just pulling into the pillared gates of Clifton Springs Golf Club/Water Park was intimidating itself as you looked out over the rolling hills of grass seeing the front nine holes on your right and the tree lined back nine on your left. Once parked by the small but rugged Club House, you could look down the hill and see in amazement the painted all white “cement pond” with diving boards, life guard chairs, pavilions, and small sand “beach” area’s – all astounding and spellbinding for any youngster in the late 1960’s. Dad slinked his new set of clubs telling me to do the same and we bravely entered into what may have been my first introduction into what could have been described as a “smoke filled – historical site” complete with self-titled golf pro, dining counter, golf specific clothing and a couple of pair of those fancy 8 pound spiked golfing shoes. Having not been to a golf course club house before, I wondered if they all were this dark and the people inside acting as if we were interrupting their morning coffee and fat back & egg sandwich. My Dad being an aspiring new sales manager, immediately took control and promptly introduced himself (as if it mattered to the rough counter clerk), and then began looking at all the golfing materials being sold behind the darken glass counter. Balls, tee’s, half-finger gloves (left-hand), full finger gloves, spikes for those special golfing shoes, hats with company names on them like Spalding, Amana, Wilson, etc. and then over in the corner, these weird long handle wheeled contraptions were just stacked on top of one another. Dad, always looking for the best deal, inquired about the rate to play nine holes versus all of them and how much for the motorized golf cart. Yes, motorized! It seems that Clifton Springs had two maybe three center console drive-single front wheel-gas motor golf carts. Just like the ones we would see Bing Crosby or Bob Hope driving on the black and white back home. Once Senior was directed to the stain covered price list wedged between the glass counter and the corner of the cash register, he determined that nine holes was a good start and we could walk with our clubs but we would splurge and get two of those pull-carts. Just getting two of the pull-carts from the corner stack seemed an effort in itself; however, Senior directed one of the large handles in my direction and told me to load my bag on it. You had to go back down the several concrete steps leading from the opulent club house down through the parking lot then across the busy entrance road to reach the first tee concrete hitting station. Yes, Clifton Springs came equipped with raised concrete tee boxes having some green carpet like material on them and a rubber tube sticking up for you to tee your ball on. Beside the tee platforms was a dry ball washer with a little hole description just below announcing the distance from where you are now to the target green. Having zero experience or lessons of any sort, both Senior and I began our warm-up by trying to think and emulate what we had briefly seen on the television. Of course, with my ball experience, I firmly grasp the hard rubber grips much like a baseball bat and just pictured swinging as hard as possible.
Now before we get deep into the nine hole spectacle that was Senior’s and I first attempt at golf, I must spotlight a special treat that Dad had purchased inside the pro-shop without my knowing. They had in an old cigar box on top of the counter “better than new” golf balls with blue dots on them just like the pro’s use. Now it is good that Dad got the balls for me seeing that when I did go into each of the several pockets of the new leather bag, I only found three “plastic” balls that evidently came with the set. Now that we have all the gear, we are on the first tee “box”, and the course has provided a tee for me (did not have any in bag either), Senior elects to hit first. With a mighty swashbuckling slash – Senior catches his blue dot just above the equator and somewhere on the bottom of the club versus the face, he sent the first ever struck ball with his new clubs about 30 yards hard right and peeling further right. Although it barely missed some other golfers playing the parallel hole, Senior seemed un-phased even somewhat proud of getting the ball airborne. Now it’s my turn! Taking the much watched approach to the swing that my Dad had just demonstrated, I firmly grip the club and calmly hovered the hitting end above the perched ball and quickly coiled and then stepped aggressively into the hitting zone. Well it worked with baseball but not for golf. After several failed attempts, I shortened up on the bat and limited my back swing to finally dribble my blue dot off the front end of the concrete tee box and into the three inch plus weeds Clifton called fairway. A passion of the heart and mind is born!
Over the next few years, Senior and I would visit Clifton Springs about once a month during the summer and spring. I remember two holes at Clifton as being nemesis’s for me; number 4 and number 9. These two holes required long 1 wood drives and accurate approaches to raised platform greens. Both holes measured 185 yards and were uphill. Funny now is the length and perceived severity of those holes; oh but how they were monsters to this 10 year old beginner. I do remember Senior getting skilled enough to reach both with his three iron although he could never hold his tee shot on the postage stamp clay based greens.
I have stepped away from Dad’s hospital room and went into family waiting so to collect my thoughts and reminisce on those Father/Son times that we shared. Dad has never really taken to the game of golf except to critique my game through the years. Clifton Springs Golf Club & Water Park was our time and although he spent several of those hours shouting that I needed to do this or that while playing…for him that was his way of saying “I love you Son.
Thanks Dad for those days at the Springs.
Located in the quaint fishing village of Calabash, NC The Pearl East and West courses have uniqueness all their own. Sitting on a nine hundred acre garden park with Dan Maples designed holes meandering through the low country woodlands and along the scenic marshes caressed by the Calabash River, The Pearl delivers luxury, beauty, and challenge.
Upon arrival at The Pearl you’ll find fast rolling greens and finely manicured fairways. The Pearl East is a traditional course and The Pearl West is a links style course. The Pearl is home to a variety of wildlife. You’ll share the course with herons, egrets, eagles, deer, and our resident gators. The Pearl is as challenging as it is beautiful. In 1988, one year after it opened, The Pearl was nominated “Best New Public Course” by Golf Digest. Both Courses have also been ranked among the top courses in the Carolinas.
The Pearl has a complete practice facility, a professional Golf Shop, Restaurant and Bar. The golf staff at The Pearl offer golf lessons at the practice facility,and assistance with equipment and apparel needs from the golf shop.
Check out the hole-by-hole course breakdown HERE.
TheGolfDirector.com is a complete digital network dedicated to promoting amateur golf. Be sure to visit the Community for a complete listing of Myrtle Beach area courses as well as the featured courses (like The Pearl) that contain details about each course including score cards and reviews. The community also hosts the most complete tournament calendar available for the Grand Strand Area courses.
TheGolfDirector.com radio team will broadcast live from the 2013 World AM 19th Hole with a program series presented by sponsor, Grand Strand Vacations. It’s billed as the World’s Largest 19th Hole and the nightly event will be host to over 3000 golfers and their guests. This is the 30th annual Golf.com World Amateur Handicap Tournament and is shaping up to be a spectacular event.
TGD Radio exists to promote amateur golf and hopes to get plenty of interviews with the tournaments competitors. Check out TGD Radio’s podcast library HERE.
Players form over 25 countries will be competing on selected Grand Strand courses to be crowned “World Amateur Champion”, a most coveted title. Scoring standards and fair handicaps are a high priority for the this very popular amateur tournament. Creators of the tournament, with the help of Dean Kuth, developed a computerized adjustment system that monitors and regulates equitable strokes during each World Amateur round.
The following Myrtle Beach Golf Courses courses will be participating in this year’s World Am:
- Aberdeen Country Club
- Arcadian Shores
- Arrowhead Country Club
- Azalea Sands
- Barefoot Resort, Fazio
- Barefoot Resort, Love
- Barefoot Resort, Norman
- Black Bear Golf Club
- Burning Ridge Golf
- Caledonia Golf & Fish Club
- Carolina National
- Crow Creek
- Crown Park Golf Club
- Diamond Back at Woodland Valley
- Farmstead Golf Club
- Founders Club at Pawleys Island
- Glen Dornoch Golf Links
- Grande Dunes Golf Club
- Hackler Course at Coastal Carolina
- Heather Glen Golf Links
- Heritage Club
- Indian Wells Golf Club
- Indigo Creek
- International Club
- Legends Golf Club, Heathland
- Legends Golf Club, Moorland
- Legends Golf Club, Parkland
- Leopards Chase
- Lion’s Paw Golf Links
- Litchfield Country Club
- Long Bay Club
- Meadowlands Golf Club
- Myrtle Beach National, Kings North
- Myrtle Beach National, West
- Myrtlewood Golf Club, Palmetto
- Myrtlewood Golf Club, Pine Hills
- Oyster Bay Golf Links
- Panther’s Run Golf Links
- Pawleys Plantation
- Pearl Golf Links, East
- Pearl Golf Links, West
- Pine Lakes
- Possum Trot
- Prestwick Country Club
- River Club
- River Oaks Golf Plantation
- Rivers Edge Golf Club
- Sandpiper Bay Golf & CC
- Shaftesbury Glen Golf & Fish Club
- Thistle Club
- Tidewater Golf Club
- Tiger’s Eye Golf Club
- Tournament Players Club
- Tradition Golf Club
- True Blue Plantation
- Wachesaw Plantation East
- Waterway Hills Golf Club
- Wedgefield Plantation Golf Club
- Wicked Stick
- Wild Wing Plantation, Avocet
- Willbrook Plantation Golf Club
- World Tour Golf Links
So, if you’re one of the lucky ones to be participating in this year’s 2013 World Am, be sure top stop by the TGD Radio booth for an interview and tell us where you’re from and about your game.
As we near the date of the 2013 World Am, players are surely looking for practice round discounts from the participating courses. East Coast Golf Management’s A.J. Sawyer pointed out how the Platinum Membership Card can cut the cost of practice rounds in half and offer even more benefits for visiting golfers.
The card’s cost of $55 includes a dozen balls, two free rounds of golf, deep discounts at all (Platinum) participating courses, and their usual play-4-get-1-free feature. Sawyer who is the head professional at Indago Creek used his course’s (Platinum) card membership rates compared to (regular World Am)) discounted rates to demonstrate the savings. Do the math. Six rounds at the normal rate offered to World Am players at $45 would cost $270. Six rounds with all the Platinum card benefits comes to $135. Half price! Indago Creek will host rounds during the World Am on three of the four days.
Listen a recent Platinum Card update on TGD Radio interview with A.J. Sawyer HERE.
The Platinum Card participating courses include:
Myrtle Beach Area Courses
Azalea Sands Golf Club
Beachwood Golf Club
Diamond Back at Woodland Valley C.C.
Eagle Nest Golf Club
Heron Point Golf Club
Indigo Creek Golf Club
River Oaks Golf Plantation
Wicked Stick Golf Links
Carolina National Golf Club
Crow Creek Golf Club
Pearl Golf Links East Course
Pearl Golf Links West Course
Rivers Edge Golf Club
Sandpiper Bay Golf and C.C.
Colonial Charters (coming Fall 2013)
SOUTH CAROLINA – Hilton Head
Rose Hill Golf Club
NORTH CAROLINA – Fayetteville
King’s Grant Golf & C.C.
NORTH CAROLINA – Jefferson Twp
Jefferson Landing on the New River
NORTH CAROLINA – Wilmington Area
Cape Fear National
Whether you’re coming to Myrtle Beach for the 2013 World Am or for a weekend golf vacation, the Platinum Membership Card is a great deal. Get more information on the Platinum Card HERE..
Less than a month away is the 2013 Golf.com World Amateur Handicap Championship, August 26-30. In this it’s 30th year, the World Am is held each year in Myrtle Beach, SC and will (this year) attract over 3000 golfers. The event has become a global attraction with participating golfers from China, Australia, Austria, Bermuda, Brazil, Germany, Guatemala, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Portugal, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Sweden, Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, United Kingdom, U.S. Virgin Islands, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Scotland, and the United States.
From the World Am website at http://worldamgolf.com…The World Am is open to all golfers – 17 years old and above – with a certified USGA handicap or foreign equivalent. It features five competitive divisions, ranging from men 49 and under to the super seniors (70+) and our Women’s division. Within the divisions, golfers are flighted by closely grouped handicaps. The event features between 60 and 70 flights and the winner of each advances to the Flight Winner’s Playoff, an 18-hole shootout that determines the World Champion.
The tournament is played on approximately 60 different Myrtle Beach area courses, including several Top 100 public layouts, and each flight plays a different course each day.
A very popular part of the the World Am is the World’s Largest 19th Hole at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. In a addition to being the tournament headquarters, the 19th hole is quite possibly the world’s largest golf tournament party in existence. The 19th Hole provides catered dining, free top shelf booze, exhibitions, and more while over 3000 golfers and their guest gather to reflect on the competition at the end of each day.
This year’s participating courses are:
Aberdeen Country Club
Arrowhead Country Club
Barefoot Resort, Fazio
Barefoot Resort, Love
Barefoot Resort, Norman
Black Bear Golf Club
Burning Ridge Golf
Caledonia Golf & Fish Club
Crown Park Golf Club
Diamond Back at Woodland Valley
Farmstead Golf Club
Founders Club at Pawleys Island
Glen Dornoch Golf Links
Grande Dunes Golf Club
Hackler Course at Coastal Carolina
Heather Glen Golf Links
Indian Wells Golf Club
Legends Golf Club, Heathland
Legends Golf Club, Moorland
Legends Golf Club, Parkland
Lion’s Paw Golf Links
Litchfield Country Club
Long Bay Club
Meadowlands Golf Club
Myrtle Beach National, Kings North
Myrtle Beach National, West
Myrtlewood Golf Club, Palmetto
Myrtlewood Golf Club, Pine Hills
Oyster Bay Golf Links
Panther’s Run Golf Links
Pearl Golf Links, East
Pearl Golf Links, West
Prestwick Country Club
River Oaks Golf Plantation
Rivers Edge Golf Club
Sandpiper Bay Golf & CC
Shaftesbury Glen Golf & Fish Club
Tidewater Golf Club
Tiger’s Eye Golf Club
Tournament Players Club
Tradition Golf Club
True Blue Plantation
Wachesaw Plantation East
Waterway Hills Golf Club
Wedgefield Plantation Golf Club
Wild Wing Plantation, Avocet
Willbrook Plantation Golf Club
World Tour Golf Links
A recent bulletin board update from the World Am Golf site…The player count is ascending and so is the excitement for the 30th annual Golf.com World Amateur Handicap Championship. Over 3,100 players from across the globe have registered to play in this year’s event, and the release of a partial list of random drawing prizes will do little to temper excitement about the tournament, which will be played August 26-30. The list of giveaways, which doesn’t include a Grand Prize trip that has yet to be unveiled, includes a $3,000 indoor golf simulator and a pair of $1,000 PGA Tour Superstore shopping sprees, among many other items. The random drawing prizes at World Am aren’t a close your eyes and pray proposition. One in every 25 tournament participants will win a random drawing prize.
With that in mind here is the bounty that will be given away at this year’s tournament:– SkyCaddie GPS watches will be distributed to two entire flights (approximately 100 watches). One winner will be selected on Tuesday evening at the 19th Hole, and all players on the winner’s course Wednesday morning will receive the prize.
– Two $1,000 spending sprees at PGA Tour Superstore
– One Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters VIP Package
–One ProXS In-Home Simulator by P3Pro Swing
– 2014 World Am trip for two that includes:
✔ 2 World Am entries
✔ 5 nights accommodations courtesy of MyrtleBeachGolf.com
✔ 5-day rental from U-Save Car Rental
– Two $500 Lowe’s gift cards
– Two $500 Amazon gift cards
– Two $500 StubHub gift cards
– One $1,000 Shell Gasoline Card
– One Greg Norman Prize Package that includes:
✔ $500 Greg Norman Australian Prime, Signature Wagyu Beef gift card
✔ One Case of Greg Norman Estates Wine
✔ $500 Greg Norman Collection Gift Card
– One $500 Oxford gift card
– Five “Golf Balls for a Year” Giveaways – 18 dozen Bridgestone golf Balls
– Three TaylorMade RocketBallz Drivers
– Three TaylorMade RocketBallz 3-Woods
– One custom World Am cornhole set designed by Craig’s Custom Cornhole
– Two complimentary entries to the 2014 Mesquite Amateur
– See more at: http://www.worldamgolf.com/random-drawing-prizes-unveiled-1-in-25-players-will-win/#sthash.3CSbtLrR.dpuf
The deadline for entry is August 8th and there is still room for more players. If you are interested in competing to become the next World Am Champ Register NOW.
Myrtle Beach golf lovers got a renovation update from the The Dunes Club head PGA Professional, Dennis Nicholl on TGD Radio’s Tee It Up Grand Strand this week. Earlier in the summer TGD Radio had Dennis in the studio to outline the planned course renovation, we were privileged to get a mid-summer update.
The Dunes Club has been closed since early June for some serious updates including replacement of the (A1-A4) bent grass greens with a new (Champions) ultra-dwarf Bermuda. In addition to the greens, the Dunes is getting several new tee box additions and renovations as well. Some of the new tee box locations at length and interest to the classic 1949 golf course with careful consideration to preserve its character. Taking advantage of the downtime, the club decided to update the practice facility, increasing the size of the hitting area by approximately 30% and adding a new chipping area.
Even with all the extraordinary (record) rainfall in the area, progress on the renovation is going well. The club personnel have a few extra days built into the schedule for the unexpected , but the scheduled reopen date is September 1st. Club membership will hopefully get an opportunity to play the course before it opens for public play. Other area courses have accommodated Dunes Club members during the closing to offset the any inconvenience they may have experienced.
The first true test of the newly updated facility will come in June 2014 when the (312 player) PGA Professional National Championship (PNC) tournament comes to Myrtle Beach. Early rounds of the PGA PNC will be played at The Grande Dunes and The Dunes Club respectively, with final rounds at The Dunes Club. Several of the changes in the course were designed to create new challenges for the professional level players. It will be interesting to get get the course reviews after this prestigious annual championship event.
You can listen to TGD Radio’s interview with Dennis Nicholl in its entirety HERE. In the interview Dennis outlines the changes to the course in detail along with the reasons behind each change. The club consulted Reese Jones, son of course designer, Robert Trent Jones Sr, for recommendations to update the facility. As stated earlier in this article, careful consideration was taken to preserve the character of this jewel of Myrtle Beach golf which hosted the Senior Tour Championship – now Champions Tour Championship – from 1994-99
We will have another update on the facility on or before the re-opening.