The summer of 2010 is one that won’t soon be forgotten at Sandpiper Bay Golf & Country Club. The Sunset Beach, N.C., course just captured one of the area’s most prestigious honors, winning the Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owner’s Association Course of the Year Award.
The good times at Sandpiper didn’t conclude with the announcement of the award. On August 2, Sandpiper will reopen the Bay 9, concluding a three-year project that saw the facility install new Miniverde Bermuda grass greens on each of its 27 holes. The Sand 9 received new greens in 2008 and the Piper 9 in 2009.
The project, which also included repaving cart paths, tree removal and a refurbishment of the clubhouse, underscored the commitment course owners Don and Blair Tanner have to providing a memorable golf experience.
When the Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owner’s Association begins sifting through nominations for its Golf Course of the Year award, each nominee is rated based on four criteria: exceptional quality of the golf course, exceptional quality of the ownership and management, outstanding contribution to the community, and significant contribution to the game.
“This is a culmination of about three years hard work,” said Tim Tilma, Sandpiper’s general manager. “It’s very satisfying and it reinforces the fact that we have a growing and improving reputation here at the beach.”
The new greens, which were installed by highly regarded superintendent Jay Varallo, were the cherry on top of the sundae for Sandpiper, which opened in 1987.
The Dan Maples design, located on Route 179 just across the North Carolina line, has long been an area favorite, earning 4 stars in Golf Digest’s prestigious Best Places to Play guide. Sandpiper is lauded by locals as a player friendly course.
“It’s a very playable golf course,” Tim Tilma, Sandpiper’s general manager, said. “We have a great attitude among our staff to try and help people. Customer service is a key to us.”
Sandpiper also opened its fairways to charity, raising $16,000 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation to fight breast cancer and donating $29,000 in greens fees and other gifts, bringing the facility’s total charitable donations over the past year to $45,000.
Sandpiper Bay is the 14th course to receive the MBAGCOA award.
The National Golf Course Owners Association implemented the award in 1996 and the MBAGCOA has since nominated courses from the Myrtle Beach area. Past recipients of the award include Shaftesbury Glen (2009), Grande Dunes (2008), Wachesaw Plantation East (2007), Burning Ridge (2006), TPC of Myrtle Beach (2005), Indian Wells Golf Club (2004), World Tour Golf Links (2003), Wild Wing Plantation (2002), Blackmoor (2001), Tradition Golf Club (2000), Bay Tree Golf Plantation (1999), Arrowhead Country Club (1998) and Myrtle Beach National’s King’s North (1996). Five of the Myrtle Beach regional winners also captured the state award; Burning Ridge, TPC, Wild Wing, Tradition, Arrowhead and King’s North. World Tour was named as the national “Golf Course of the Year.”