Celebrating Year 35 of “Swafford Week” In Myrtle Beach

By Rob Spallone
Photos by Joe Novak & Rob Spallone

This year marks the 35th anniversary year that Dan Swafford and his friends have been traveling to Myrtle Beach. What started out as a simple buddies trip with two other family members has slowly and steadily grown to become a significant gathering of golfers, family and friends.

In that time, Dan’s group has expanded beyond himself and his brother to include other friend groups in their circle, extended family members and more. At its peak the group has swelled as large as 108 traveling golfers, with an average of 88.

This year, “The Swafford Group” represents a cross-section of states that includes Ohio, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Kentucky. It’s now comprised of three generations of golfers, with the youngest member at 21 years and the eldest still swinging away at 87. Yet amid such a diversity of age, hometowns and personality types their lies one common bond that unites them all:

They love coming to Myrtle Beach!

This year, the 88 spots for the trip sold out in less than 48 hours. In Dan’s view, “Myrtle Beach is the best golf destination in the country!” Dan and the gang love all of the courses in Myrtle Beach, but their favorite of them all is Caledonia Golf & Fish Club.

Dan has been coming to Caledonia since it first opened its doors in 1994. He has a personal bond to the renowned Mike Strantz design for reasons beyond golf: the venue also served as host of his own daughter’s wedding a few years back. Since first coming to Caledonia all those years ago, Dan says the course “has kind of been our home, and they’ve treated us like family.”

Bart Romano, director of golf operations at Caledonia’s sister course, True Blue Golf Club, shares the same sentiments. Bart’s been with the company for 17 years, and says each year at this time that with The Swafford Group, “It’s literally like family is coming to town.”

As Bart and Dan reminisced on this day, it was easy to see the natural bonds and lifelong memories this group trip has produced over the years. Fond memories and good wishes for each other’s spouses and children were free flowing. For the last decade, Bart and the rest of the staff at Caledonia have referred to this time of year as “Swafford Week,” thanks to the group’s annual punctuality and contagious energy. As group members arrived this year, there was plenty of good-natured ribbing and embracing of the traditions The Swafford Group has maintained after all these years.

They dodged a few raindrops on this day, but The Swafford Group remained positive and jovial. No way a few raindrops would keep this dedicated, fun-loving group of friends from enjoying their day.

To the Myrtle Beach golf community, people like Dan Swafford and his group of friends epitomize what the Grand Strand golf experience was always meant to be: a chance to create generational legacies and memories that will last a lifetime. We’re proud to have them.