The August issue of Golf Digest, in a segment titled The Grid, outlined five buddy trip destinations that offer golfers multiple options. The destinations evaluated – Myrtle Beach, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Pinehurst and San Diego – are among the nation’s best. While the Golf Digest article drew no conclusions, merely reciting facts about each area proved to be a powerful reinforcement of Myrtle Beach’s status as the nation’s most popular golfRead More
In this life as a caddie you never can tell where you’re going to end up next. One minute you’re working a tournament on the coast of South Carolina and the next you’re on a small island off the west coast of Africa.
After a very successful week at the Heritage, where my 19-year-old boss, Matt Fitzpatrick, the current US Amateur champ finished top 25, I found myself with time on my hands. In my state of semi-retirement from caddying I suddenly realized my services would not be needed for the six weeks prior to the US Open.
Plenty of time to get back to my adopted home of the United Kingdom and spend a few lazy weeks at Pete Cowen’s golf academy. Pete Cowen is probably the most renowned golf coach in the world and his academy is where I hang my hat during my weeks off. I was planning on at least four weeks of some relaxing time, hitting balls and sitting in on Pete Cowen’s lessons, or so I thought.
I flew to London and had a visit with another friend from my full-time tour days. I had a great couple of days before hopping on the bus and making my way up to Sheffield where the academy is. I had just walked through the door and said hello to Pete Cowen when my phone rang.
It was my old boss Johan Edfors. He had heard I was back in Europe and wanted to know if I wanted to caddie for him in the Madeira Island open. Why not? Five minutes later I had a flight booked to Madeira out of Manchester and I was walking out the door on my way to the train station.
So much for my lazy time at the academy.
Well, as they say, “that’s life on tour.”
At 6 a.m. the next morning I was flying to a beautiful Portuguese island situated off the coast of Morocco. Madeira is a magnificent verdant mountain protruding out of the Atlantic Ocean and the golf course is right at the top of it.
This was to prove disastrous in more ways then one. The golf course is built on a near impossible piece of land as there isn’t a flat spot on the entire island, but the world famous Robert Trent Jones designed as good a track as one could hope for. But there was nothing Robert could do about the weather because come Sunday morning the tournament had only managed to get one round completed. Clouds were clinging unrelentingly to the top of the mountain and you couldn’t see as far as you could throw a golf ball, let alone drive one.
This situation wasn't exactly breaking the hearts of the caddie fraternity as the Sierra Du Santo Golf Club is one of the hardest courses in the whole world to walk. Definitely not caddie friendly. The ninth hole is universally referred to as cardiac hill by any of the loopers who have had the misfortune of having their boss choose to compete in this event. Little did we know that by days end it was going to more then just a saying.
Johan and I and our 3 ball were on the fifteenth green when the siren sounded signifying a stoppage in play. A couple minutes later a tour official arrived saying that one of the caddies had gone down on ninth hole and play was suspended until they could sort things out.Read More
From space age technology to adjustable drivers, it has never been easier to get a set of clubs fitted to your swing.
Despite the convenience and relatively modest price, fewer than 30 percent of players go through a custom club fitting.
“The thought among average golfers is, I really don't need to do that,” Mark Timms, founder of Cool Clubs, one of America's 100 Best Clubfitters told Golf Digest. “But the reality is, the benefit for high-handicappers is more than for scratch players.
“I can probably drop a 20-handicapper five shots through a proper fitting.”
If you are among the 70 percent of people who don’t have custom fit clubs, you might want to set aside a little time on your next Myrtle Beach golf trip to get your sticks fine tuned. Golf Digest recently ranked America’s 100 Best Clubfitters and Myrtle Beach is home to pair of them.
Leading the way are Martin’s PGA Tour Superstores. The Superstores – one located in Myrtle, the other in North Myrtle – use state of the art technology and an expertly trained staff to make sure your clubs are tailored to perform based on your swing.
The Steve Dresser Golf Academy also earned a spot on the coveted list. Based at True Blue, the Dresser Academy takes players outside and has a certified technician perform an evaluation. Using launch monitors, loft and lie machines, and lie boards, in addition to other cutting edge equipment, Dresser is able to expertly fit players.
A custom club fitting might pay for itself if it helps you clean your buddies out on your next beach golf vacation!Read More
It took 35 years of caddying on tour to learn what was really important was being able to get from one tournament to the next. Sometimes I felt that carrying the bag, doing the yardages, pulling a good club, keeping the player dry in the rain, and enduring the wrath of some insatiable golf pro was the easy part.
Just getting to the next tournament was what we really seemed to get paid for. After finishing a tournament there was always a mad rush to the airport to get to the next event or back home. But now that I'm caddying for Matt Fitzpatrick, the current US amateur champion, my schedule is slightly less frantic.
After a very successful week at the Sea Pines Heritage Classic, where Matt, at 19 years of age, not only made the cut comfortably but had two bogey free rounds on the weekend on his way to a top 25 finish, I found myself in the most unusual situation of having time to burn.
Matt took the bag off me after signing his card and I did something I had only done a handful of times in all my years of caddying and that was to go back to my hotel for a Sunday evening. I took a very leisurely stroll up the street to a local sports bar and actually watched the highlights of the golf on TV. I know this might be hard to believe, but more times then I care to admit, whoever I was working for and myself would be running off the 18th green, jumping straight into the back of a taxi to make the mad dash to the airport without knowing who had won the tournament. Sad but true, but that's life on tour.
I had a nice sleep-in on Monday morning, hopped in my beat up old Cadillac and with the world as my oyster, headed back to Myrtle Beach. All those beautiful courses in such close proximity, at the perfect time of year, were to much to resist.
I booked into a motel a block off the beach and made a beeline to the range. I hit a bucket of balls and then spent the rest of the afternoon on the chipping green. What defines me as a true golf nut is the amount of time I can spend on a chipping green. For me, this is hours and hours of pure enjoyment.
The only remarkable thing about it is that I never seem to get much better. And even more remarkably, this never seems to put me off. Well, I guess that's all part of the madness of this game we call golf.Read More
Ask 10 people what the best hole at Tidewater Golf Club is and you might get 10 different answers.
There is an argument to be made for holes 3,4, 8, 9, 12,13, 14, 16, 17 and 18, among others.
It’s like someone asking which child you love the most.
There is no right answer.
Tidewater Golf Club is going to spend the summer working to ensure that the quality of its greens will be the equal of the stunning views the course offers of Cherry Grove, the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway.
One of Myrtle Beach’s most decorated courses, Tidewater will close on June 9 for the installation of new MiniVerde bermuda grass greens, a move that will have the course in pristine condition as it prepares to celebrate its 25th birthday next year.
The course will reopen on September 25 in time for the peak fall golf season.
Tidewater, which has been ranked among the nation’s top 100 public courses by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine, is going to completely restore its greens. The current greens will be removed along with four inches of organic buildup.
Prior to planting the MiniVerde, all greens complexes will be restored to their to the original size and contours in addition to receiving a new 4-inch greens mix to optimize growth.
Three to four rings of sod on the collars of the greens will be removed to restore surface drainage, and the collars will be re-graded and have new sod installed.
The installation of new greens comes on the heels of cart path and tee renovations, and the extensive removal of trees that obscured parts of the course from needed sunlight.
Tidewater was the first layout ever named best new course in America by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine, and it raised the profile of the Myrtle Beach golf community upon its 1990 opening.
Nine of the course’s 18 holes play along either Cherry Grove or the Intracoastal Waterway. Tidewater’s most famed hole is the par 5 13th, which offers a view of the inlet and the Atlantic Ocean in the distance.
The thirteenth is hardly the only memorable challenge at Tidewater. The fourth hole, a par 4 that plays along Cherry Grove, is arguably the most dramatic par 4 along the Myrtle Beach golf scene.
MiniVerde is among the most advanced and popular of the new ultra-dwarf Bermuda grasses. MiniVerde duplicates the best properties of bentgrass, providing a smooth fast roll with limited grain, while thriving during South Carolina’s warm summers.
Tidewater will join East Lake Golf Club, home of the PGA Tour Championship in Atlanta, and TPC Sawgrass and TPC Myrtle Beach among the most renowned layouts to install MiniVerde.Read More
Tidewater is one of Myrtle Beach’s signature layouts, and we have a list of five things you need to know about a course that is a worthy centerpiece of any Myrtle Beach golf trip. 1. Tidewater’s place among America’s best courses was secure from the time it opened. Anyone looking for validation needed to go no further than the pages of Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. Tidewater was the first layout ever named Best New Public Course in America by bothRead More
The official start of summer is still weeks away, but family golf in Myrtle Beach is already heating up. Myrtle Beach golf courses have always been aggressive in reaching out to the families that pour into the area for a beach vacation, and 2013 will be no different.
Forty-seven layouts will allow kids 16-and-under to play for free when accompanied by a paying adult as part of the area’s popular “Kids Play Free” program.
Among the Myrtle Beach golf courses that participate in the program are 28 four-star layouts, according to Golf Digest’s prestigious “Best Places to Play” guide, and five that have been ranked among “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” in recent years.Read More
The 15th annual Veterans Golf Classic enjoyed stunning weather and offered a good time for more than 425 veterans from 36 states.
Hosted by 12 Myrtle Beach golf courses, two-man teams competed in one of four flights based on handicap in the 54-hole event. But for many players, a pair of different team competitions highlighted the event.
Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion competed for the Carolina Cup, and the VFW prevailed for the sixth consecutive year. In the Branch Challenge, which pits the five service branches against one another, Air Force won for the second consecutive year.
Florida residents James Collins and Alfred Aflleje combined to win the Franks Flight, while New Jersey natives Les Wlodarczyk and Bruce Martin captured the Nimitz Flight. John Tibbens and William Haas, both from Connecticut, won the MacArthur Flight and Myrtle Beach’s Ronald Lee and Herb Smaltz from Villages, Fla., captured top honors in the Eisenhower Flight.
The Veterans Golf Classic is a 54-hole event that featured a different format each day – better ball, combined net team scores and a scramble. Players were placed into one of four flights – Eisenhower, MacArthur, Nimitz and Franks – based on their handicap.
In addition to playing outstanding Myrtle Beach golf courses, participants also enjoyed an afternoon happy hour after the first two rounds and a Wednesday night banquet that is the highlight of the event. The banquet, as always, included a presenting of the colors, an awards ceremony, and a three-course meal.
The host courses were: Burning Ridge, Farmstead, Founders Club, Hackler Course, Man O'War, Panther's Run, River Hills, River Oaks, Sandpiper Bay, Shaftesbury Glen, Wicked Stick and Wachesaw Plantation East.Read More
I’m the guy with the famous feet. After 35 years of caddying on all the world tours and some of it for some of the best players in the game, you’d think I’d be known for something other than that.
Well, that’s how it goes sometimes.
My name is Duncan and at this moment in time I’m caddying for Matt Fitzpatrick, the current United States Amateur Champion. How I got that bag is a story in itself but it goes without saying that it’s a bit unusual for a pro caddie to be working for an amateur. The reason I’m working is because I’m actually retired.
Well, I’m trying to retire. I’m just not doing a very good job of it. As much as I enjoyed my time on tour, all those years of traveling were beginning to be more than I could or wanted too handle. It was bad enough when I was working the PGA Tour, heading from tournament to tournament, motel to motel across the States, but when I returned to the European Tour that movement became global. It wasn’t at all uncommon to receive a call from your boss on Monday morning asking if you had an up to date visa for China followed by a hurried trip to Heathrow Airport. The end of 2012 saw me going from Scotland to Portugal to Perth Australian to a week in Borneo to Singapore to Hong Kong. Enough was enough. The 2012 Hong Kong Open was my last official tournament as a full time tour caddie. Or so I thought.
A couple weeks before the 2013 Phoenix Open, my old boss, Jesper Parnivik, called me up and asked if I was available to do the week. My brother and I have a condo in Phoenix, so it was a perfect week to say yes and I really enjoyed it. The problem with quitting caddying is that all your friends are out on tour. As a caddie, you spend so much time on tour that it becomes a little world of it’s own. When I finished I really didn’t really miss the job, but I did miss the people. It was so nice to catch up with everyone that week.
After the Phoenix Open I headed back to the UK. After all my years on the European Tour I had got to know famous golf instructor Pete Cowen quite well. During my last few years over there, I had begun to spend all of my off weeks up at his golf academy in Sheffield. This was a great opportunity. (Continue)Read More
Golf Channel travel guru Matt Ginella has unveiled his ranking of America’s top 20 public courses, and No. 14 on his list is No. 1 in our hearts here in Myrtle Beach.
Ginella, who has traveled the world playing the game, rated Caledonia Golf & Fish Club the 14th best public course in America.
He said of the Pawleys Island gem:
“The highest ranked course on The Grand Strand looks like it has been there forever. Mike Strantz was an architect, but after playing Caledonia, you'd call him an artist. The approach to the 18th green—which is over water—gives the assembled gallery on the back deck plenty of entertainment. It will give you plenty of anxiety.”
The recognition by Ginella is another in a long list of honors for Caledonia, which is ranked among the nation’s top 100 public courses by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine as well.
Carved into less than 100 acres of stunning lowcountry land, Caledonia has been among the area’s best courses since its opening in 1994. Equal parts art and architecture, Strantz designed a course players long to play again and again.
From the drive to the clubhouse along a road lined with a half-mile of stunning live oak trees to the 18th green, Caledonia is a Myrtle Beach golf bucket-list experience.
How captivating is Caledonia? One group said their annual trip to the coursesaid “this is like Christmas.”
With alligators sunning themselves throughout the perfectly manicured property, its easy to get caught up looking around, but some of the most dramatic shots a Myrtle Beach golf vacation offers quickly bring you back to the task at hand.
The back nine, in particular, features several stunning holes. The par 3 11th, with a creek that snakes from the front of the tee box to the green, the 16th, with a long carry over water, and the aforementioned 18th, top my list of the course’s best holes. But that’s a very subjective list.
Courses like Caledonia were a driving factor in USA Today readers endorsing Myrtle Beach as the world’s “Best Golf Destination.”
Ginella ranked Pebble Beach No. 1 and rounded out the top five with Pacific Dunes, Pinehurst No. 2, the Black at Bethpage and Pasatiempo in Santa Cruz, Ca.Read More
Spring is the most popular time of year to take a Myrtle Beach golf trip, but it’s not for everyone. The Swafford Golf Tour has made their annual sojourn to Myrtle Beach for 26 consecutive years in February, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Group leader Dan Swafford, who organizes the 70+ man trip, took a few minutes to discuss why a winter, beach golf vacation works for his crew.
Swafford’s 2014 trip lasted 10 days, included more than 200 holes, and more fun than he wanted to recount on the record!
His group annually includes players from 14 states and all of them, with the exception of the Texans, suffer through a lack of golf during the long winter months, which accounts for the timing of the trip.
“[Most of ] us are from the northern states and it breaks our winter up,” Swafford, who lives in Ohio, said. “It’s so economical and the golf courses we get to play are outstanding. We don’t play that kind of stuff around here and for the cost you get, you can’t beat it anywhere around the country. I’ve been on other trips and nothing beats Myrtle Beach.”
For the Swafford Golf Tour, nothing beats their annual Thursday round at Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, a layout they’ve played every year since it opened in 1994. Over the years, they’ve gotten to know the course’s staff and owners and they have a Thursday night fish fry and hog roast at one of America’s 100 best public courses.
“That is like Christmas,” Swafford said of the Caledonia cookout. “We look forward to that day more than almost any other out of the year. It’s a special day for us. They treat us like family, and they are our family.”
The fun certainly didn’t stop at Caledonia. The rest of the itinerary included, but was not limited to, golf at Carolina National, Diamondback, Heather Glen, the Love Course at Barefoot, True Blue, Pawleys Plantation, Willbrook and Heritage.
While the winter of 2014 was unusually cold, even here in South Carolina, the Swafford Tour, which was in town from February 14-23, enjoyed outstanding weather. The only hiccup for Swafford was a cancelled flight in Dayton that caused him to rent a car and drive down.
“The weather we had this year was unbelievable,” Swafford said. “It was between 55 and 70 (degrees) every day. I played in shorts six of the 10 days.”
By now the post-trip surveys are in and, not surprisingly, the Caledonia experience carried the day, in another memorable year.
An annual golf trip that began with three guys driving through the night and taking the gondola across the Intracoastal Waterway to play Waterway Hills in 1989 for the first round, is already looking forward to another year.
So are we.Read More
Edison High School shot a team score of 298 at Lion’s Paw Golf Course to take a five-shot lead in the Championship Flight after the first round of the Palmetto High School Golf Championship.
Forsyth Country Day School’s Ben Schlottman fired a tournament record 65, and FCDS and Charlotte Christian are tied for second place. Schlottman's score was one better than PGA Tour star Rickie Fowler's 66, the previous record. (Championship Flight team standings)
West Florence shot a team total of 325 at Panther’s Run to lead the first flight. (First Flight team standings)
The Palmetto is a 54-hole, college-style event that allows high school teams to test themselves against opponents from across the nation. Teams opened play with a qualifying round on the Lion’s Paw or Panther’s Run course at Ocean Ridge Plantation on Thursday.
Teams were then flighted, according to score, for the final 36 holes of competition. The first round was played on the Panther’s Run and Lion’s Paw courses. The championship round will be played on the Willard Byrd and Rees Jones courses at Sea Trail Plantation.
Defending champion Forsyth Country Day, led by Auburn signee Ben Schlottman, is back to defend its title.
Current PGA Tour players Rickie Fowler, the 2006 champion, and Harris English are among the Palmetto’s most distinguished alums.
Teams from South Carolina, California, Nevada, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and Texas will be competing in the Palmetto this year.Read More
The team led PGA Tour star Jim Furyk and Hootie & the Blowfish guitarist Mark Bryan won the 20th annual Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters Celebrity Pro-Am title with an 18-under par score of 54 at Barefoot Resort’s Dye Course Monday.
For the ninth consecutive year a sellout out crowd of 6,000+ fans packed the Dye Course to watch their favorite athletes, musicians and celebrities compete in the 20th anniversary of the Monday After the Masters.
Headlining the star-laden tournament were PGA TOUR stars Dustin Johnson and Furyk; LPGA legend Nancy Lopez; Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson, and football hall of famers Richard Dent, Eric Dickerson Marcus Allen and Bruce Smith. Among the professional golfers who joined Johnson, Furyk and Lopez were Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey, Charlie Rymer, Billy Horschel and Boo Weekley. Representing the music world were legendary saxophonist Branford Marsalis, country sensation Steve Azar, R&B singer Javier Colon; singer-songwriter Edwin McCain; Andrew Copeland of Sister Hazel and Dan Tyminski of Union Station.
The day began with ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike Show broadcasting live from the Dye Course’s first tee. It was the fourth consecutive year America’s most popular sports talk show originated from the event. LISTEN: Mike & Mike talk to Hootie & the Blowfish about the tournament
Proceeds from the tournament, which has raised nearly $5 million for charity, go to the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation, which supports the educational needs of children in South Carolina and the South Carolina Junior Golf Foundation.Read More
PGA Tour stars Dustin Johnson and Jim Furyk, Pro Football legend Marcus Allen and World Golf Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez are among the big names that have committed to play in the 20th annual Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters Celebrity Pro-Am. (Full List of Celebrity Commitments)
The Monday After the Masters will be played at the Dye Course at Barefoot Resort on April 14.
This will mark the 12th consecutive year the event is played at the Dye Course and festivities will begin with the Celebrity Long Drive contest at 10 a.m. The tournament will tee off at 11 a.m.
Johnson, who hasn’t finished worse than sixth in his last five stroke play events, is one of the hottest players in the world. He has moved up to eighth in the official world golf rankings and will enter The Masters as one of the pre-tournament favorites.
Allen, one of only four players to win both the Heisman Trophy and Super Bowl MVP awards, was one of the greatest running backs in National Football League history.
PGA Tour star and former U.S. Open winner Jim Furyk will be making his fourth consecutive appearance at the event, and LPGA legend Nancy Lopez will be playing for the second year in a row.
Other stars committed to play are ESPN Radio host Mike Golic, Basketball Hall of Famer Rick Barry, Golf Channel personality Charlie Rymer, PGA Tour players John Daly and Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey, Grammy winning musician Branford Marsalis, and former South Carolina Gamecock stars Marcus Lattimore and Connor Shaw.
While tournament festivities begin with the Celebrity Long Drive contest, the day will start with ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike Show broadcasting live from the first tee at the Dye Course beginning at 6 a.m. It will mark the fourth consecutive year that America’s most popular sports talk show broadcasts from the Monday After the Masters.
All ticket proceeds benefit the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation, which supports the educational needs of children in South Carolina and the South Carolina Junior Golf Foundation.
Monday After the Masters has hosted celebrity actors, sports figures, musicians and more. Guests have included PGA Tour stars Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Jim Furyk, Davis Love III, Tom Watson, John Daly and Arnold Palmer, along with LPGA Tour stars Annika Sorenstam, Nancy Lopez and Kristy McPherson from Conway. Sports and entertainment stars Bill Murray, Samuel L. Jackson, John Elway, Johnny Damon, Dan Marino and Joey Fatone among many others, have also participated in the event.
For more information about the Hootie & The Blowfish Monday After The Masters Celebrity Pro-Am, visit HootieGolf.com.Read More