The PlayGolfMyrtleBeach.com team was on hand throughout the day Thursday at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club for the “$18 for 18” promotional match to benefit Project Golf. A day led by the involvement of legends in golf (Sir Nick Faldo, Gary Player) and music stars (Charles Kelley of Lady A, Mark Bryan of Hootie & the Blowfish) left lasting impressions on our content team. Here are their personal takeaways from the day’s festivities.
While so much was happening throughout the day of Project Golf’s “$18 for 18” match featuring Sir Nick Faldo, Gary Player, Charles Kelley and Mark Bryan at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club, one thing left a lasting impression on me: Nick Faldo’s golf game.
Through my years here I have seen Dustin Johnson hit balls up close and personal. But in watching him and other past and present PGA TOUR golfers in action, this time was different. Nick Faldo has not been playing competitively for quite some time now. You’d have never known it from seeing him in action yesterday. Faldo was deep in his process. Going through the yardage book meticulously, reading the wind as it swayed the treetops, and talking through every shot with his caddy.
On the first hole Faldo absolutely stepped on his drive, leaving himself and playing partner Mark Bryan with a simple wedge approach to the green. Bryan missed the green, but Sir Nick calmly stepped up to his ball and promptly flagged his wedge to about four feet.
That was the theme of the day. Long drives and solid iron shots by Sir Nick. Even on the iron shots he didn’t like, he would get frustrated like all of us do when we’re just playing with our friends.
In the next few years it would not surprise me to see him make a return to professional golf. He definitely still has the game. – David Williams
Gary Player’s high-profile visit to Myrtle Beach this week was the completion of a “Big Three” trilogy in Myrtle Beach golf that was a quarter century in the making.
Player, along with fellow golf legends Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, was part of the trio given the “Big Three” nickname in the early 1960s for their collectively dominant play. And each has put his indelible stamp on the Grand Strand golf scene with signature designs. Palmer was on hand in 1995 to christen the heralded reopening of his North Course design at Myrtle Beach National, delivering King's North to the masses with a newfound glory that resonates strongly to this day. Nicklaus commemorated his late 1980s unveiling of two signature tracks on opposite ends of the Grand Strand, Long Bay Golf Club to the north and Pawleys Plantation on the south end, with a dramatic return three decades later to his awe-inspiring Lowcountry track in Pawleys Island.
Player is checking in this week at his lone Myrtle Beach-area design, Blackmoor – but not before offering Project Golf and its “$18 for 18” promotional match his full embrace of the “grow the game” spirit the charity is promoting.
At seemingly every turn Thursday, Mr. Player was immersed in moments of teaching and mentoring. On the practice range, instructing a young girl on her swing at the expense of his own preparation for the match to follow. On the course throughout the match, particularly with playing partner Charles Kelley, talking him through the finer points of his golf swing and putting stroke. At the juniors clinic to end the day, talking and teaching and encouraging kids with a boundless energy that’s hard to find for people even half his age.
I saw a man who was fully committed to helping others play, love, and share the joy that the game of golf can bring. And throughout the day Thursday, it was inspiring to watch. – Jim Maggio
It’s not every day you get to interact with golf royalty – and that’s exactly what happened at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club on Thursday.
Having Gary Player and Sir Nick Faldo in Myrtle Beach for the day was special, and without a doubt a day many won’t soon forget. For years from now when I look back on it, I will fondly remember the charisma of Gary Player.
At 85 years young, Mr. Player had more enthusiasm and energy than anyone on The Dunes Club property yesterday. And that’s truly not an exaggeration! I constantly marveled at how this man, who could be my grandfather, moved as well as I do – and I am only in my late 20’s.
Mr. Player’s energy was contagious, and he brought laughter and smiles to everyone within earshot all day long. There are people who are truly special individuals in this world, and after spending a day with Mr. Player I can say without hesitation that he is one of them.
I marveled as well at his physical fitness for his age. He swung a golf club better than the majority of golfers in Myrtle Beach, and he constantly kept encouraging people all day to stay healthy, stay fit and keep their bodies strong.
There is no doubt in my mind that if each person in our country had the same outlook on life and energy, our world would be a better place.
Mr. Player, thank you for being you. You inspired me from a distance. You inspired me to be better. My hope is I can attack this life with as much zeal and effort as you have.
Hope to see you in Myrtle Beach again! – Kyle Oland