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Late for a Tee Time With Raymond Floyd and Other Sweet Memories of Arrowhead Country Club

December 19, 2014 by brasierjd63@yahoo.com

The fifth hole on the Waterway 9 at Arrowhead is one Myrtle Beach's prettiestI missed my tee time with Raymond Floyd, chased the PGA Tour legend down on the first green and double-hit a chip shot in front of a few dozen people.

Those are some of my memories from my first round at Arrowhead Country Club, designed by noted South Carolina architect Tom Jackson with signature input from Floyd.

But almost 20 years later, I have beautiful memories of the challenging course, a water-filled, 27-hole layout along the Intracoastal Waterway only a few minutes from the heart of Myrtle Beach. I’ve had the good fortune to play it several times since my scrambling introduction in November 1994.

Here’s how my round began: I raced out of my car, ran up to the first tee, hurriedly knocked a drive into the left rough then leaped out of my golf cart to hit three more ugly shots before reaching the green to join my playing partner, Floyd, who didn’t seem at all amused.

Let me explain. As sports editor of The Sun News, Myrtle Beach’s daily newspaper, I had the good fortune to receive an invitation from Arrowhead ownership to join Floyd for golf on the Lakes nine at the grand opening. Arrowhead, which opened with 18 holes, opened a third nine soon after.

Nice perk, right? Of course. And the timing was perfect for Arrowhead and Floyd, who was in town for the Senior Tour Championship at The Dunes Golf and Beach Club, which would begin the next day.

It wasn’t so good for me, who was pretty much working around the clock, putting together the newspaper’s fat, special section on the tournament and planning additional 32-pagers after each of the four rounds. I got called into a meeting at the office just when I had planned to leave with a little time to spare for my round at Arrowhead.

Fortunately, I settled down from there and made seven pars to go along with an embarrassing T.C. Chen moment at a par-3 (either No. 5 or No. 8) when I double-hit a chip and made a second double-bogey. OK, I do remember hitting one well-struck draw off the tee on a dogleg left. I shot 40. Pretty good for a sports writer, to paraphrase Floyd, as I hustled back to my car to go back to work.

That’s about all I remember from a frantic, though enjoyable, day.

Playing with a harried sports writer the day before the tournament didn’t appear to have any negative impact on Floyd’s game – he won the season-ending tournament, outlasting Jim Albus in a five-hole playoff. Floyd was patient playing with me and patient in the playoff.

Anyway, below are three holes – one on each nine – you won’t forget after a round at Arrowhead. One last tip: try to get to the course with enough time to register in the pro shop and walk leisurely to the first tee.

No. 3 Lakes, 556 yards, par-5: This is a par-5 where 5 is a great score. A thin lagoon extends down the entire left side just off the fairway then crosses in front of the green. Big hitters can go for the green over the water, but there’s little margin for error. Taking the safer, three-shot route, which finishes with a tricky approach to the left over the water, isn’t easy, either.

No. 4 Cypress: 355 yards, par-4: A fun, short hole that requires two tests of nerves. The short tee shot must be hit accurately to the left of two pot bunkers and a small river that branches off the nearby Intracoastal Waterway to set up an approach – framed by a view of the Waterway – back over the water to a small, undulating green surrounded by four bunkers.

No. 5 Waterway, 387 yards, par-4: The Waterway stretches down the entire left side of the hole, one of only a handful of holes on the Grand Strand that feature the Waterway as a hazard. Bunkers on the left and right frame a generous fairway. The diagonally shaped green is protected by four bunkers, three In front and one behind.

Your Very Unofficial Big Break Myrtle Beach Postseason Awards

December 18, 2014 by Chris King

Big Break Myrtle Beach winner Jimmy Brandt talks about the experienceNow that the final putt has dropped on Big Break Myrtle Beach, we can look back on the 11-episode season that produced outstanding golf, questionable decisions, heartbreak and good TV.

Here are our very unofficial post-show awards!

The Player I Want on My Side in a Street Fight: This one is easy – give me Jimmy Brandt. I don’t know if he will be the best player to come out of the show, but he never, ever gave in. He competed in win-or-go home matches five times in 11 episodes and always advanced. The guy is a battler.

Shot That Changed the Narrative of the Show: Anthony spent much of the season antagonizing his cast mates. His antics made him a marked man, but the size of the target seemed to decrease when he chipped in from off the green to beat Dave Markle in an elimination challenge. After facing elimination twice in the first four episodes, he didn’t face the guillotine again until the penultimate episode, allowing his character to develop.

Most Likely to Make it on Tour: In the Male Division, my money is on Charlie Harrison. He is young, has a Wake Forest pedigree, and seemed to have the most game. If you are looking for the next Tommy Gainey or Matt Every to emerge from Big Break, Charlie is most likely to succeed.

To some degree the question has already been answered for the female cast members as Katy Harris had status on the LPGA Tour in 2014, making seven cuts in 11 starts with a career best finish of 32nd at the Marathon Classic. But if we are talking long term, I’ll go with Emily Tubert. A three-time All-American at Arkansas, she has the length to compete and with six collegiate wins and a U.S. Women’s Am Pub Links title to her credit, she clearly knows how to win.

I Wish I Had That Choice to Make Over Award: This one is easy. Charlie’s decision not to use Super Immunity when it would’ve given him a pass into the semifinals was a fatal mistake, and Jimmy made him pay. Confidence is great, but golf is a fickle game and Big Break is an unpredictable show. One wayward swing, or in Charlie’s case a poor chip and putt, can send you home. He should’ve swallowed his pride and used his exemption into the semifinals.

Hero Shot of the Season: There were a lot of candidates, but I’ll go with Jimmy’s putt to eliminate Anthony in the semifinals. He went into the hole trailing by a stroke, and had an approximately 12-foot birdie putt on the eighth hole at the Dye Course to win the match. He drained it. Clutch, clutch shot.

D’Oh, I can’t Believe I Just Did That Award: Unfortunately, Toph’s skulled shot out of the bunker on the 10th hole in the championship match wins the dubious honor. The match was all-square heading to the back nine, and Toph’s shot, which ended up in the water, handed Jimmy a one-up lead and started a run that saw Jimmy win three of fives holes to seize control. Runner-up: the drive Anthony pulled off the planet on the final hole of his elimination challenge in the semifinals, leading to his elimination. Next time you play the Dye Course, stand in the fifth fairway and look toward the eighth tee box to get a feel for just how far he hooked the ball.

We’ve All Been There Award: Speaking of hooks, it was painful to watch Christian Heavens completely lose his swing on episode seven. He hooked the ball out of play twice during an immunity challenge, and with an elimination challenge even going into the final hole, he hooked the ball in the water, effectively ending the match. We’ve all had it happen, but it’s uncomfortable to watch someone struggle with it on a public stage.

Best of luck to the entire cast as they resume their respective golf careers.

Tell us about your favorite moments from Big Break Myrtle Beach in the comments below! 

Big Break Myrtle Beacb

Episode 11 Recap: Gritty Jimmy Brandt Crowned Champion of Big Break Myrtle Beach

December 16, 2014 by Chris King

Jimmy Brandt won Big Break Myrtle BeachA season that began with the possibility of a life-changing opportunity for 12 aspiring professional golfers was reduced to a pair, Jimmy and Toph, who seemed to have developed as genuine a friendship as a reality show will allow.

That dynamic made the show’s traditional opening at the breakfast table all the more awkward as they prepared to compete for the opportunity to win Big Break Myrtle Beach, and the more than $100,000 in cash and prizes that awaited the winner.

The entire cast reunited at Barefoot Resort’s Fazio Course, which hosted the finale.

(As an aside, if you want to humor yourself, when the cameras cut to the cast, pay attention to Anthony’s body language. He looks like he would rather be undergoing a root canal than watching Toph and Jimmy play.)

Hosts Tom Abbot and Paige Mackenzie welcomed everyone to the Fazio Course, outlined the format – 18 holes of match play – and told them what the winner would receive. After the obligatory comments about the necessity of winning, we went to golf and there were immediate fireworks.

Jimmy’s tee shot plugged in the soft morning sand in a fairway bunker on first hole. He blasted back into the fairway and recovered to hit the stick with his third shot! The ball rolled back to approximately four feet. It was a stellar shot.

EXTRA: Watch the Entire Big Break Myrtle Beach Season Finale

Unfortunately, Jimmy missed the putt and went one down after Toph made par.

The miss set the tone for the opening nine holes. Jimmy was clearly the better player from tee to green, but he managed to win only the fifth hole, a demanding par 4. The Auburn, Al., native missed three makeable putts on the front nine, including efforts from inside eight feet on the sixth and ninth holes that he left short.

The match went to the back nine all-square. Would Jimmy’s struggles with the flat stick come back to haunt him, or would Toph’s battle with his swing continue to rage on?

It didn’t take long for answers to reveal themselves. After both drove the ball into a bunker on the 10th hole, Toph hit his worst shot of the show, skulling the ball into the water. Jimmy, who was safely around the green, won the hole and went 1-up.

Toph’s struggles continued on the 11th, this time with the putter. After both hit indifferent tee shots, Toph three-putted for bogey, gift-wrapping another hole for Jimmy, who went 2-up with seven to go.

After both made birdies on 12, Jimmy squandered another good opportunity for birdie on the 13th and conceded that he had no confidence at all in his putter. He was visibly frustrated but leading, and relief was on the horizon.

Jimmy won the 14th hole with a par to go 3-up, and halved the 15th, despite hitting a ball into the water. He hit a great approach on 15 and finally made a putt in the 10-foot range to seemingly dash any hopes Toph had of making a miracle comeback.

Three down with three to go, and Toph made par on the par 3 16th that left Jimmy with a seemingly easy two-putt to win. Despite having a stranglehold on the match, Jimmy couldn’t shake his demons with the putter. After running the first putt three feet by, he stunningly missed the comebacker, allowing Toph to win his first hole since the opener.

Had the door been opened for a miraculous finish?


Jimmy hit an outstanding drive on the 17th hole and lasered his approach to 4 feet, a great shot under the circumstances. Meanwhile, Toph’s approach plugged in a bunker and he couldn’t get up and down for par. He conceded Jimmy’s putt, ending the match with a 3&1 loss.

Jimmy, who perpetually seemed to be on the brink of elimination, certainly earned the crown of Big Break Myrtle Beach champion. If not for a balky putter, he could’ve put together an outstanding round of golf, but, much like he did throughout the season, he persevered and made enough shots to win.

It was a gritty effort, emblematic of his play throughout the season.

For his part, Toph had a bad day. He was never able to dial in his swing and he paid the price, but it didn’t diminish what had been a great effort throughout the season.

Big Break Myrtle Beach is in the books. Now it’s time to follow all the participants’ professional careers. Is there a Tommy Gainey, a Matt Every or a Ryann O’Toole among this cast of Big Break players?

We'll be watching.  


Golf Instruction Zone Video: The Magic of the Right Arm

December 16, 2014 by Chris King

Classic Swing Golf School’s Ted Frick explains how the fundamentals of throwing a punch can help improve your swing in a tip that highlights the importance of the right arm in generating power in your golf swing.



Click for Myrtle Beach golf schoolsThese Myrtle Beach golf schools can turn your
golf vacation into a game-changer!

See More Golf Tips!

Lower your handicap, fine-tune your advanced skills, or build a solid foundation for a golf game that will serve you for a lifetime. Wouldn't that just be the perfect Myrtle Beach souvenir? Check it out! And, don't forget, you can get these tips by email too!

Meet Alex H, Our Caddy Girl of the Month!

December 15, 2014 by Chris King

Alex H loves True BlueThe Caddy Girls, who have been familiar to members of the Myrtle Beach golf community for a number of years, received a shot in the arm from a recent appearance on ABC's Shark Tank. With so many people talking about the Caddy Girls, we wanted to introduce you to them via a monthly Meet the Caddy Girls profile, starting with the lovely and talented Alex H! Enjoy.

Alex H
Lancaster S.C.

Why did you want to be a caddy girl?
To meet interesting people all from over.

What is your favorite Myrtle Beach golf course?
True Blue would have to have to be my favorite golf course, so beautiful.

Most memorable experience as a caddy girl?
Loews Miami Beach Hotel Celebrity Golf tournament for charity. We help raise money for DonorChoose.org while bonding with our team of 30 other beautiful caddy girls.

What do you do when you aren't caddying?
Im a Hooters girl, also I bartend on our Gin Gipsies traveling bar team, and competing for swimsuit international.

What's the worst shot you've ever seen?
One time this lovely golfer decided to put his ball into someones home.

What is one thing you've learned while being a Caddy Girl – about golf or the people you are caddying for – that you have found surprising?
Everyone is different, never expect it to be the same thing from your golfers, always have fun but more than anything keep it sharp and classy.

Big Break Myrtle Beach Championship Match Preview

December 15, 2014 by Chris King

After nearly three months of great golf, stunning eliminations and, of course, heartbreak, we’ve reached the finale of Big Break Myrtle Beach. Jimmy and Toph have survived multiple elimination challenges, but only one will claim the mantle of Big Break Myrtle Beach champion and earn the bounty that awaits the winner. While you are awaiting the finale, which will air Tuesday night at 9 p.m. on Golf Channel, enjoy a quick primer! Extra: Jimmy vs. Toph By The Numbers

Big Break Myrtle Beach

Big Break Myrtle Beach Finale: Jimmy vs. Toph By The Numbers

December 12, 2014 by Chris King

The Big Break Myrtle Beach finale will pit Jimmy vs. TophJimmy vs. Toph.

It’s winner take all on the finale of Big Break Myrtle Beach.

Here is a look at the championship match by the numbers:

0 - What the loser receives as a reward for finishing second. Big Break is the ultimate winner-take-all competition, which only heightens the stakes.

1 – Number of exemptions the winner will receive into PGA Tour events, in this case the 2015 Valspar Championship.

3 – The number of times Jimmy and Toph won elimination challenges despite taking penalty strokes. Toph twice survived penalty strokes, including his semifinal triumph over Emily. His most harrowing brush with elimination came during a win or go home match against Katie Detlefsen in episode 3. He took a penalty stroke and could only watch as Katie missed an approximately seven-foot putt that would’ve beat him. Jimmy took an unplayable lie during the week 5 elimination challenge, but a three-putt and chunked chip from Carolin allowed him to advance.

4 – Number of times Jimmy has survived an elimination match entering the finale. He has typically summoned his best golf when necessary, but in an event as fickle as Big Break, where there is a little time to overcome a great shot by an opponent or a your own miscues, there is some good fortune involved in skirting elimination that many times.

6 – Number of  mini-tour events Jimmy won in 2012-13

20 – Over/Under on the number of times Toph called himself an idiot after hooking a hybrid into the water on the final hole of his elimination challenge against Emily when all he needed to do was play it safe.

$75,000 – the amount of cash the winner will receive, in addition to the exemption into the tour event and full exempt status on the 2015 Swingthought.com Tour, among many other gifts.

200,000+ - The number of people who cheered Jimmy when he eliminated Anthony in the penultimate episode.


Big Break Myrtle Beach

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Standing the Test of Time, Wild Wing Avocet Remains One of Myrtle Beach’s Best

December 11, 2014 by brasierjd63@yahoo.com

Wild Wing Avocet continues to delight golfersHow good is Wild Wing’s Avocet golf course? Two decades after the grand opening, I still have the poster given out at the party featuring player/architect Larry Nelson and a photo of the course hanging on a wall at home.

OK, there are several better reasons – I also have a poster of Moe, Larry and Curly preparing to hit the links and another of four dogs playing poker – to recognize Avocet.

For starters, Avocet survived while its three Wild Wing siblings, each deserving of reputations as among the Strand’s best manicured layouts, were replaced by a housing development.

Has it really been more than 20 years since Nelson, only six years removed from winning his second PGA Championship (he also won the 1983 U.S. Open), was on-site for the grand opening? 
Yes, Avocet has stood the test of time.

Third to open behind Wood Stork and Hummingbird, Avocet immediately became the players’ favorite at the upscale Wild Wing complex, and remained so after completion of Falcon.

Designed by Jeff Brauer, the interesting Avocet layout tests golfers with a good mix of holes finishing on smooth miniverde putting surfaces. Hazards and challenges include creeks, lagoons, pot bunkers, grass bunkers, greenside swales, alternate landing areas and tiered putting surfaces.

Alone on the former 72-hole development, Avocet may fly under the radar for many visiting golfers, but it’s an enjoyable challenge for players of all levels.

A few holes (distances from the back tees) to remember from a round at Avocet:

  • The 462-yard sixth may be as difficult as any par-4 hole on the Grand Strand. A lagoon stretches along the entire left side of the hole, which finishes with a three-tiered green. Trees along the right off the tee and a huge bunker short and right of the green make bailout shots risky, too. The vast double green is shared by No. 17.
  • The 362-yard ninth is one of the most fun at the beach. Players can aim either right or left (for those of us directionally challenged, hit it straight and take advantage of poor execution) of a grassy strip with a handful of pot bunkers to two fairway landing areas. There are no bunkers to challenge the remaining short approach, but a “Valley of Sin” dip on the front left of the green makes par difficult from that area.
  • The 227-yard 12th is one of the most unique par-3s you’ll ever play. Guarded by a vast front bunker, the best option is to go long – maybe too long – with a wood. Taking that tactic, players can use a grassy bank as a backboard to ricochet shots backward onto the green.

John Brasier is a veteran of the Myrtle Beach golf sceneJohn Brasier covered Grand Strand golf as golf writer and sports editor of The Sun News in Myrtle Beach. He also has written about Grand Strand golf for several national publications, including Golf Magazine, Golfweek and GolfWorld. A mid-handicapper with a history of luck on short holes, he’s made four holes-in-one, though much to his regret, none on the Grand Strand.

Five Last Minute Christmas Gifts For That Special Golfer in Your Life (or You)

December 10, 2014 by Chris King

RukkNet is a great golf Christmas giftSanta’s sleigh is nearly loaded and the reindeer are preparing to launch, but it’s never to late to add a last minute golf gift to your Christmas list.

Here are five great golf gift ideas that we recommend:

1. For many, weather doesn’t allow a trip to the course or even the range during the winter months. That’s why you need to add the RukkNet Pop-Up Golf Practice Net to your Christmas list. The RukkNet is portable, easy to assemble, and it has a two-net barrier system, making it safe to use inside or out. The net is $199, but it will allow you to swing the club all year.

Golf Trip Genius is a great Christmas gift2. Looking for a way to improve your annual buddies trip to Myrtle Beach? Sign up for GolfTripGenius. The online program, the brainchild of Golf Genius Software, features planning, accounting, automated group pairings and the game’s best live scoring program. You can create as many matches within your group as you’d like and monitor them all in real time. Best of all, GolfTripGenius is only $3 per round, per man, a small price to pay for the convenience and increased enjoyment it will bring to your trip. Use promo code MBGH14 to receive a discount and the deal will be even better.

NexBelt is a stylish Christmas gift3. In addition to being stylish, NexBelt allows you to avoid one of the ugly truths of the holiday season – the likely expansion of your waist! The NexBelt, which is all leather, doesn’t have holes, sparing you indignity of sucking it in to tighten your belt. They come in a variety of colors and look better than the tired old belt you’ve been strapping on for years. A NexBelt isn’t cheap at upwards of $59.99, but it’s worth treating yourself.

Brian Crowell's book Slice Free Golf is a good Christmas gift4. The winter months are no excuse to stop your quest for improvement. Check out “Slice-Free Golf,” the new book from Brian Crowell, host of Golf Channel’s Lesson Tee Live and a PGA pro. In three simple steps, Crowell will help you eliminate the banana ball and add more distance and consistency to your game. The book, which costs just $12.95, comes with free personalization and shipping.

Even Santa loves playing Caledonia5. Last but certainly not least, the one thing you should absolutely ask for this Christmas is a Myrtle Beach golf trip! Tell your wife, husband, significant other, whoever, that you need to spend a few days playing in America’s favorite destination. Who knows, you may end up like these guys and spend more than a year of your life on Myrtle Beach golf trips.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Drama, Heartbreak Aplenty on 10th Episode of Big Break Myrtle Beach

December 09, 2014 by Chris King

It was semifinal Tuesday on Big Break Myrtle Beach, and the episode delivered the expected drama as Anthony, Emily, Jimmy and Toph battled for a coveted spot in the show finale.

After the obligatory breakfast table talk, Emily opened a letter that informed players that their first swing of the day might be their most important.

The quartet arrived at Barefoot Resort’s Dye Course and each had to hit a shot from 100 yards. Closest to the pin was going to win something, but they didn’t know what.

Emily opened the challenge by hitting the ball to 9 feet, but Jimmy quickly stuffed his ball to 6’7,” a total that easily withstood the efforts of Anthony and Toph. Tom Abbott and Paige Mackenzie, our fearless hosts, informed Jimmy that he got to choose his opponent for the first three-hole match that would determine who advanced to the finale.

At that point, Anthony said, “Pick me.” Jimmy obliged and the semifinals were set.

Jimmy vs. Anthony

Toph vs. Emily

Winners advance, losers go home.

Referring to himself in the third person, Anthony says that when Anthony says he is going to do something, he does it. And he says he is going to win the match. Ugh.

The match opened on the par 4 fifth hole at the Dye Course, and Anthony recovered from a poor tee shot to make a three-foot par putt, good enough to give him a one-stroke lead going to the par 3 15th hole.

Both players hit nice tee shots on the 15th but failed to convert decent birdie opportunities, and Anthony went to the par 5 eighth hole with his slim lead intact.

Anthony, with honors, hit another horrendous drive, hooking the ball into the middle of the fifth fairway. Jimmy pushed his shot off the fairway and ended up with a poor lie in the rough.

Two hundred eighty-seven yards from the hole, Anthony couldn’t go for the green, but with a one-stroke lead and a fairway lie he wasn’t in trouble.

Then he hit the shot that changed the match.

He inexplicably hit the ball into the middle of a pond separating the fifth and eighth holes. The shot wasn’t close to dry land. Anthony said he took a bad line. Whatever the case, it was a momentum swinging shot.

Jimmy, facing a bad lie, advanced his second shot toward the hole and hit his third to approximately 12 feet for birdie.

The ever-brash Anthony was in trouble, but he wasn’t finished. He took a drop and hit his fourth shot 20 feet above the hole. He narrowly missed the par putt and tapped in for bogey.

Jimmy had a birdie putt to dispatch Anthony and he drained it, much to the delight of his good buddy Toph.

The second semifinal followed the same hole rotation. Toph immediately seized control, birdieing the fifth hole while Emily made bogey after thinning a shot out of a fairway bunker.

Toph maintained the two-stroke lead after both made par on the 15th, and the match seemed to be over when Emily nearly pulled her tee shot into the water on the eighth hole. She had no chance to advance the ball to the green because the lie would force her to stand on the side of the hill with her feet nearly in the water.

Needing only to play it safe and make par, Toph, who hit a near perfect drive, pulled a hybrid and went for the green. It was a mystifying decision made worse when he yanked the ball into the water.

Meanwhile, Emily advanced the ball toward the hole on her second shot and hit her third shot to four feet, setting up a very makeable birdie putt. It was a stunning turn of events.

After taking his drop, Toph hit the ball approximately 12-15 feet from the pin, but missed his par putt. Emily, somehow, went to the final hole with a two-stroke deficit, hit a poor drive, and still found herself with a short birdie putt to square the match.

And she pulled the putt.

Toph advanced with a one-stroke victory. It was a tough finish for Emily, who played well throughout the season.

A pair of dramatic matches set up a Big Break Myrtle Beach championship showdown between friends Jimmy and Toph.

We can’t wait to see who wins.

Big Break Myrtle Beach

Episode 10 Preview: Double Elimination Tuesday on Big Break Myrtle Beach

December 08, 2014 by Chris King

We’ve reached semifinal Tuesday as Big Break Myrtle Beach nears its conclusion. Four gifted players – Anthony, Emily, Jimmy and Toph – remain but talent alone won’t be enough. Two contestants will go home this week. Who will have the nerve and good fortune to advance to next week’s finale? Tune in to Golf Channel Tuesday at 9 p.m. to find out. In the meantime, enjoy the episode 10 preview.


Big Break Myrtle Beach

Fond Memories: Lion’s Paw Launched Ocean Ridge Plantation, Tim Cate

December 04, 2014 by brasierjd63@yahoo.com

Lion's Paw is where Tim Cate got his startFor me, November always brings back memories of Lion’s Paw Golf Links, a course of historic importance for at least two major reasons:

•    Lion’s Paw served as the catalyst for launching the solo career of Tim Cate, now one of the Grand Strand’s most prolific and celebrated course designers.
•    Lion’s Paw helped launch the wildly successful, 72-hole Ocean Ridge Plantation development along U.S. 17 near Sunset Beach.

Why November? Simple. It was a beautiful November day in 1991 when I played Lion’s Paw for the first time soon after it opened.

I don’t know if many golfers do this, but I always seem to remember the month when I played a golf course for the first time. Maybe it because a golf course often takes on different personalities depending on the time of the year. You remember the bright morning sun in the spring and the spectacular color of the leaves in the fall.

Lion’s Paw was an instant hit featuring an interesting mix of holes, including two distinctively different nines, superb playing conditions and sparking white bunkers (it was a Grand Strand pioneer in using bright white sand in bunkers). Oh yeah, despite the beauty, the course isn’t overly difficult. There are reachable par-5s and some very playable par-4s, too.

When you play Lion’s Paw, you may notice on the scorecard that Willard Byrd is the architect of record. That’s true, but Cate was on site throughout the project, and his work prompted Ocean Ridge developers to hire him for the remaining 54 holes, and also drew the attention of several other North Strand developers.

Cate’s other solo projects along the southern coast of North Carolina include The Thistle, where wind as well as water and sand serves as an obstacle.

No other golf architect has so many courses concentrated in one portion of the Grand Strand. If you want to play a Cate solo design near Myrtle Beach, you have to play in Brunswick County, N.C.

After completing Panther’s Run, the second Ocean Ridge layout, Cate designed The Thistle before returning to finish Tiger’s Eye and Leopard’s Chase.

Cate’s success at Panther’s Run led to bigger budgets and more lavish layouts at Tiger’s Eye, Leopard’s Chase and The Thistle, which each have received mention on lists of the Grand Strand’s top courses.

Cate showed his versatility at Lion’s Paw, carving beautiful holes through forest on the front nine then allowing wind and water to provide the major challenges on a largely open back side.

So what caught developers’ eyes at Lion’s Paw? There are a lot of great holes. But this trio of unique, watery par-3s really stands out:

-No. 3, 204 yards: The approach (178 yards from the white tees) is all carry over a lake and the thin boundary of sand that lines the water to a diagonally shaped green guarded in back and to the right by an “S” shaped bunker and three pot bunkers.

-No. 6, 225 yards (175 yards whites): Another great par-3 requiring mostly carry over water to an undulating, somewhat triangular green framed by mounding. A pair of spacious bunkers guard the front, but there’s bailout room to the left.

-No. 17, 185 yards (154 yards whites): Players hit down a peninsula to a green surrounded by a horseshoe-shaped body of water. A spacious bunker guards the front left. Cate left a little room off the edges of the putting surfaces to allow near-misses to stay dry. Strong breezes are often a tremendous factor on the tee shot.

John Brasier covered Grand Strand golf as golf writer and sports editor of The Sun News in Myrtle Beach. He also has written about Grand Strand golf for several national publications, including Golf Magazine, Golfweek and GolfWorld. A mid-handicapper with a history of luck on short holes, he’s made four holes-in-one, though much to his regret, none on the Grand Strand.

Winter Golf Gadget and Gifts Guide

December 03, 2014 by Rick Limpert

OnCore is an outstanding new product.The leaves have mostly fallen and there is a hint of winter in the air, but there is no better time to plan your golf trip and hit the links in Myrtle Beach.

Golf never stops on the Grand Strand and this time of the year, deals abound.

Maybe this season's "Big Break Myrtle Beach" has inspired you to visit the top golf destination in the U.S.

While there will be plenty of days that will be sunny days to play this winter, there are a few days where you will encounter a cool morning and maybe even some elements.

o here some of my golf item picks for the fall and winter golf seasons.

Sunice Apparel
Sunice makes stylish golf apparel that can hold up in any conditions. The Sunice golf outerwear line was introduced in 1992, offering quality on par with their ski gear. They have taken black and charcoals and accented them with neon greens, blues and bright yellows, so you and your golf game can stand out.

Sunice's wear features its Performance Layering System. Sunice is also the only golf wear company in the world to boast the X-Static® Silver technology as a part of their polo program. Sunice backs all waterproof outerwear with a waterproof guarantee.

Bag Boy's T-2000 Travel Cover
The T-2000 Travel Cover was recently awarded the Golf Digest Gold Medal and it's my choice for a golf travel bag. The T-2000 cover features the patented PIVOT-GRIP™ handle that rotates 360 degrees to reduce arm and wrist strain. The deluxe in-line skate wheels provide the traveler smooth and quiet rolling action, so it's easy to get through the airport and into your vehicle. The travel cover fits a 48-inch driver and up to a 10-inch cart bag. It's made to last and hold up in any conditions.

The T-2000 is available in three colors with a suggested retail of $199.95.

Catalyst Sleeves
If you bring valuables, smartphones or gadgets like a laser rangefinder or a launch monitor with you to the course, you need to have them protected this fall and really any season of the year.
Catalyst is a company that makes waterproof sleeves in three different sizes.

Here is what they feature:

  • High-grade EVA foam lining to keep electronics protected from drops
  • Seams and zippers welded with double lock construction for waterproof protection
  • IP66 certified water-tight closures ensure contents stay dry and dust free
  • Durable waterproof exterior made from Ripstop Nylon
  • Multiple products in one – Sleeves can be used inside a bag as protective covers or quickly transform into a backpack, briefcase or tote by adding removable straps

Available in small, medium and large sizes to fit the most popular electronics including: MacBook, iPad, Galaxy Note 8, Microsoft Surface and Kindle Fire,and your golf devices, among others

OnCore Golf Balls
There is no better time of the year to try out a new golf ball than the fall.

OnCore has produced the World's first and only patented hollow-metal core golf ball which is conforming to the USGA metrics and has their first two golf balls approved by the USGA for legal play; the EVO (approved in October 2013) & MA 1.0 (approved in May 2014).

The technology and concept behind the ball is completely amazing.  Unlike traditional competitor balls on the market, when a golfer makes contact with the OnCore ball; the energy is reacted off of the hollow metal core creating the energy to shift to the outer-sphere of the ball, hence producing perfect gyroscopic spin.

Tested in the Golf Labs in San Diego on the Iron Byron against the top 9 balls on the market. OnCore has found out that their technology and concept behind the hollow-metal core golf ball works.

"Golf Etiquette Quick Reference" Guide
- We all need this...  - said every golfer who ever got frustrated on the course.

Yves C. Ton-That, a former rules official and best-selling author, has written a new reference guide called "Golf Etiquette Quick Reference. A Golfer's Guide to Correct Conduct."

This is a booklet that every golfer should read and keep in their bag. From preparing for your round at home to having a drink at the 19th hole, Ton-That explains the code of conduct in his usual concise and understandable way. Each point is clearly illustrated. Ideal for experienced golfers as well as beginners.

A great deal at $12.99 for 48 pages, 180-plus full-color illustrations, plastic coated and high quality spiral binding.


Rick Limpert also writes for YahooRick Limpert is an Atlanta-based sports, technology, and travel writer. He writes for Yahoo.com, a daily tech piece for Examner.com and has been featured in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Sports Illustrated. You can follow Rick on Twitter at @RickRoswell. 

Big Break Myrtle Beach Episode 9 Recap: The $10,000 Question is Answered

December 02, 2014 by Chris King

Two things were guaranteed to happen in episode 9 of Big Break Myrtle Beach. Most importantly, the semifinals were going to be set, and secondarily, we were going to find out whether Charlie would earn $10,000 by advancing to the semifinals without using the super immunity he earned in the opening episode.

The five remaining contestants went to the sixth hole on the Love Course at Barefoot Resort for the opening immunity challenge. There were four hitting locations on the hole – a 100-foot putt, a downhill chip, a chip over a retaining wall, and a 100-yard shot. The players closest to the hole on the first three locations advanced to the fourth were the winner would secure immunity and a trip to the semifinals.

Emily, Jimmy and Toph advanced to the 100-yard shot in the battle for immunity.

Emily, who has played exceedingly well the last two weeks, put her ball to 4’2” to earn her trip to the semifinals.

The second immunity provided three locations – a 7-foot putt, 160 yards from the pin, and 230 yards out. The four remaining players Anthony, Charlie, Jimmy and Toph played the hole out from each of the three locations. Lowest score earned immunity, highest went straight to elimination.

Anthony and Charlie both made their putts on the opening location while Jimmy and Toph missed, turning the challenge into a pair of two-person matches. Anthony and Charlie battled for immunity while Toph and Jimmy sought to avoid going straight to elimination. Both “matches” came down to the final location.

From 230 yards out, Anthony and Charlie were both... 

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Big Break Episode 9 Preview: Final Four to be Set!

December 01, 2014 by Chris King

Only two episodes remain before the season finale, and the final four will be determined in this week's drama-filled episode. Will Charlie hold on to the Super Immunity he won in the first episode and collect $10,000? Will the brash Anthony continue to advance? Those are but a few of the questions that will be answered Tuesday night at 9 p.m. on Golf Channel. Enjoy a preview of the ninth episode of Big Break Myrtle Beach.

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Carolinas PGA Section Honors Head Pros at True Blue, Caledonia

November 26, 2014 by Chris King

True Blue is one of America's top 100 public coursesThe list of honors for Caledonia and True Blue, two of America’s top 100 public courses, just got a little longer.

Bart Romano, the head professional at True Blue, was named The Carolinas PGA Section 2014 Merchandiser of the Year in the Resort Course Category.

Caledonia’s head pro, Marc Guertin, was named CPGA Merchandiser of the Year in the Public Course Category as well.

“We are grateful that The Carolinas PGA Section has recognized Bart and Marc as Merchandisers of the Year in their respective categories,” said Bob Seganti, PGA Director of Golf Operations at Caledonia and True Blue. “I know that both men appreciate their vendor relationships, fellow staff members and most importantly the customers who support the brands. To have their efforts recognized by the Carolinas PGA is a nice way to start the Holiday season.”

By virtue of winning the Carolinas Section awards, Romano and Guertin will be nominated for national Merchandiser of the Year honors.

The awards are another in a steady stream for Caledonia and True Blue, both Mike Strantz designs. Golf Magazine ranked Caledonia 27th and True Blue 77th on its prestigious list of the Top 100 You Can Play, a ranking of the nation’s best public courses that was released in September 2014.

Golfweek also ranked Caledonia the 24th best resort course in America in its recently released Ultimate Guide to Golf Course Living and Great Escapes.

Routed along a stunning piece of property, Caledonia is equal parts art and architecture. Strantz carved a masterpiece between soaring live oak trees draped in Spanish moss and alligator-filled, lowcountry water that used to feed a thriving rice plantation.

Everything about True Blue, a 7,126-yard monster, is big, including the fairways, greens and waste bunkers.

Golf Magazine said of True Blue, “Hole to hole, the variety is astounding. The course is mostly open, with beauty and menace mingling with lakes, marshland and plenty of scrub-filled natural sandy areas … Rarely has golf architecture had a shaper as artful as Strantz. The full measure of his formidable skill is on display at True Blue.”

Big Break Myrtle Beach Episode 8 Recap: Charlie Flirts With Danger

November 25, 2014 by Chris King

Big Break Myrtle Beach returned to Barefoot Resort and with just six players remaining, everyone’s margin for error is razor thin, something that’s not lost on the contestants.

The first immunity challenge, which took place at the Dye Course, required players to hit the ball through what amounted to a Big Break frame approximately 35 yards from the pin.

Each player had to predict how close he or she would hit the ball to the pin and then hit the ball inside that number. The player who predicted the lowest total and then delivered would be the winner of the challenge. Players had to pick their distance before the competition started.

The challenge featured a few unexpected developments, starting with Charlie, who has been the strongest player on the show to date, predicting a distance of 22 feet. He put it inside the number but was easily bested by four other players.

The biggest surprise was the challenge winner. Jimmy, who hadn’t earned immunity since episode two and had survived a pair of elimination challenges, predicted he would hit the ball within six feet and he did it.

For a player who has been flirting with danger throughout the show, it was a shot in the arm.

The second stage of the immunity challenge was a repeat of the first. Charlie, perhaps having learned his lesson after being conservative, and Toph both put their bid in at 9 feet. Both hit excellent shots, finishing inside the predicted distance, and they went to a playoff.

Toph went first and was 26 feet from the hole, opening the door for a seemingly easy victory for Charlie, but the assumed front runner chunked his chip and was 76 feet from the pin.

Toph earned immunity and along with it the opportunity to jet ski along the Intracoastal with his buddy Jimmy.

The final immunity challenge allowed players to hit two shots from three different locations, and they accumulated points based on how close they were to the pin.

Emily won immunity based on the strength of her second shot on the second stage, which snuggled up to the hole and earned five of the 13 points she scored, good enough to nose Anthony by a point.

Tessa finished last and went straight to elimination, leaving her to choose between Charlie and Anthony as her opponent.

Charlie, who earned super immunity in the first show, a reward that could exempt him from an elimination challenge, opted to risk elimination and keep alive his chances of winning $10,000 if he makes it to the semifinals without using it.

Tessa decided to make Charlie face the elimination wringer for the first time, and the two had to play the eighth and ninth holes on the Dye Course.

They opened on the par 5 eighth and Charlie hit three outstanding shots, culminating with a chip that left him a tap-in birdie. Tessa put her drive in the left rough but eventually recovered to leave herself a seven-foot birdie attempt. Unfortunately, she hit a poor putt and missed it to the right.

Charlie went to the ninth one-up.

Both players hit poor drives, pulling them left, but excellent approaches. Tessa had an 18-foot birdie putt while Charlie had a 15-footer. Both two-putted, leaving Tessa one-stroke short and making her the seventh player eliminated from Big Break Myrtle Beach. Watch Episode 8

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Caddie Chronicles: From Augusta to Azerbaijan, Our Man Duncan Brings 2014 to a Close

November 25, 2014 by Lorne Duncan

Our man Lorne Duncan concluded his 2014 season in MexicoI think it’s safe to say that my 2014 season has come to a close. A tour caddie that is supposed to be retired, I still worked ten tournaments this year. That may be a little more than I planned or wanted to do, but I have to admit, I enjoyed every one of them.

From getting kicked out of The Masters (something I'm actually quite proud of) to being part of winning the silver medal with Matt Fitzpatrick at the US Open to working for my old boss, Johan Edfors, in far flung Azerbaijan, to working this week at the only PGA event in Mexico, all of them have been great. The problem with retiring from 30 plus years of being a tour caddie is all your friends are on tour and you end up never getting to see any of them. These few weeks back out gave me the opportunity to catch up with all my mates.

Wouldn't have missed that for anything.

The week in Mexico was particularly enjoyable for me as I always enjoy doing the unusual events, and I think a PGA Tour event being held in Mexico falls into that category.

It was also quite nice because I was working for a new player for me. In this caddying world, we tend to end up in certain "stables.” Taking me as an example, I've worked for 22 different Swedes in my career. You do a good job on the bag for one of them and the next thing you know you've gone through the whole stable of them.

I've also bagged for quite a few Spaniards, and this week I got an opportunity to work for a big name player, Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño (you have to admit, that's a big name!). How I ended up on the bag was sort of interesting as well.

After working for Matt Fitzpatrick at the French Open, Matt's management group decided since I wasn't caddying fulltime anymore they needed to get someone else on that bag, and I went back to looping for Johan Edfors.

A few weeks went by when I got a call from Matt saying he wasn't getting on so well with his new caddie and would I come out and work for him at the Dutch Open. This was great news for me as the Dutch Open is one of my favorite weeks on tour. The tournament was being held at Kennemer Golf Course, which is arguably one of the best courses on continental Europe. It's a Harry Colt designed layout and if you ever get a chance to play it, don't pass it up.

Well, as it turned out Matt and I had the locker right next to Gonzalo. One afternoon I got back to the locker in time to hear Gonzalo's caddie telling him that he really didn't fancy flying all the way from China to Mexico and then flying all the way back to Japan. I gave his caddie a little nudge in the ribs and told him I would be more than happy to do that week for him.

We had a laugh and nothing more was said about it. But three weeks later I got an email from Gonzalo asking me if I was available to bag for him the week of the Mayakoba? Great, I was back in the Spanish stable!

I've actually done this tournament twice before when it was just a Web.com event. As coincidence would have it, I also worked that week for a Spanish player, Alejandro Canizares, who's the son of the legendary Spanish golfer, Jose Canizares. In a lazy sort of way, it is always nice to come...

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The Ultimate Myrtle Beach Golf Trip Itinerary? You Decide

November 24, 2014 by Chris King

Glen Dornoch helps anchor the Ultimate Glens packageAs you begin preparing for your Myrtle Beach golf trip next spring, here is an inside look at an offer that delivers great golf and value – the Ultimate Glens Stay & Play package.

The Deal: The Ultimate Glens package touts eight rounds of golf for the price of three and includes free lunch each day at the course. If you play Heather Glen, Glen Dornoch and Shaftesbury Glen, you receive a free morning round at Possum Trot, and free pre-booked replays at each course. Accommodations are at the Village at the Glens condos at Heather Glen.

The Price: Cost ranges from $295 (interested in a Christmas golf trip?) to $559 during peak season.

The Golf: Sure, the price is great, but the Ultimate Glens package will leave your group thanking you because of the quality of golf the trip offers.

With the Intracoastal Waterway buffeting five holes, Glen Dornoch is one of the area’s most scenic and memorable designs. The three finishing holes are as challenging as they are difficult.

The 17th hole is one of the best par 3s on the beach. With the marsh from the Intracoastal threatening on the left and railroad ties framing a bunker on the right, it’s the best hole on the course. But it’s hardly alone in its quality.

Heather Glen, home of three nine-hole layouts, has been a quiet star on the Myrtle Beach golf scene for years. Named Best New Course in America by Golf Digest when it opened in 1987, Heather Glen continues to deliver a memorable round of golf.

The fairways are generous but make sure you avoid the pot bunkers, especially the “Devil’s Mistress.” The fourth hole on the White Course, home of the “mistress,” has provided a sandy grave for many golf dreams over the years.

Inspired by the design work of A.W. Tillinghast, Shaftesbury Glen, the newest of the Glens Group courses, is renowned for the quality of its greens and playability. One of the area’s few remaining layouts with bentgrass greens, Shaftesbury’s putting surfaces are impeccable, particularly in the spring and fall peak seasons.

The challenge can be getting to the greens, which are elevated and often protected by the finger bunkers Tillinghast made famous.

One of the first dozen courses to open in the Myrtle Beach area, Possum Trot is an institution. It’s not as challenging as its sister courses, but Possum Trot touts itself as the friendliest course in the area and it delivers.

The Verdict: Unquestionably one of the best Myrtle Beach golf packages. The course lineup is outstanding, the value speaks for itself, and there is very little driving required. Throw-in Chianti South, a great Italian restaurant located less than 1/4 –mile from Village at the Glens, and you’ve got a winner on your hands. Eight rounds, four nights accommodations, free lunch every day and outstanding golf is a tough combination to beat.

Big Break Episode 8 Preview: An Anthony Fireworks Show Awaits?

November 24, 2014 by Chris King

It’s Thanksgiving week and we are our counting blessings as we await the eighth episode of Big Break Myrtle Beach. There are only six contestants remaining, and Charlie, the favorite in our eyes, still holds the super immunity he earned in episode one. Will Jimmy, who hasn’t earned immunity since week two, get sent home or will he rise to the challenge yet again? The mercurial Anthony promises a fireworks show, so there should be no shortage of drama. Enjoy a preview of episode eight.



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Inaugural Myrtle Beach Fall Classic Comes Up Aces

November 21, 2014 by Chris King





The final putt has dropped at the inaugural Myrtle Beach Fall Classic, and the tournament was, by all accounts, a rousing success. A 72-hole, two-man team event, the Fall Classic was played on eight of Myrtle Beach’s best golf courses.

Players were placed into one of four flights based on their USGA handicap and a different format of play was used each day. The tournament attracted players from 28 states and Canada, and the flight winners reflected the event’s geographic diversity.

Geoff and Andrew Richards, a father-son team from Alpharetta, Ga., won the Masters Flight, while Richard Dutcher from Charlotte, N.C., and Robert Mieczkowski of Laurance Harbor, N.J., teamed up to win the U.S. Open Flight.

North Myrtle Beach’s Darin Epps and Otto Susec of Chandler, Az., captured the Open Championship Flight, and the husband-wife team of Gerald and Leisa McCredie of Howie in the Hills, Fl., won the PGA Championship Flight.

“My experience was phenomenal,” Earnest Mack of Hanover, Md., said. “I would do this again in a heartbeat. I really liked the format, the people and the camaraderie.”  

The Fall Classic was played at Caledonia, True Blue, Grande Dunes, King’s North, the Fazio and Norman courses at Barefoot Resort, TPC Myrtle Beach and Prestwick.

“Beautiful courses,” said Mark Posten, Laplata, Md. “Every course was top notch and in great shape; everybody at the courses were nice. I can’t brag enough about the four courses we played.”

In addition to golf, players received a gift bag, a Sunday evening welcome party, and a post-tournament banquet (see photo gallery) that included a plated dinner and open bar.

The tournament formats were, in order, best ball, Texas scramble, combined net team score and a scramble.

The Fall Classic was the first of two new events Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday is debuting in the coming months. The inaugural Preseason Season Classic, a 54-hole, two-man team event, will be played February 2-4. The Preseason Classic will feature another strong golf course lineup – True Blue, Glen Dornoch, Panther’s Run, Tradition Club, Wild Wing Avocet and The Witch – and great value at just $195 per person.

Use These Holes To Create Your Own Big Break Myrtle Beach Challenge

November 20, 2014 by brasierjd63@yahoo.com

You can use the Faux ruins on the Love Course to create your own Big Break challengeAre you planning a few practice shots through window ruins at Barefoot Resort’s Love Course? If you’ve been watching Big Break Myrtle Beach on Golf Channel, I bet you are. My guess is the marshals will be somewhat forgiving if they see you do it.

It’s particularly fun to play a course – and hit a shot – that you’ve seen the pros tackle. On the Grand Strand, The Dunes Golf and Beach Club (Senior Tour Championship), TPC of Myrtle Beach (Senior Tour Championship) and Wachesaw East (four LPGA Tour events) quickly come to mind.

Perhaps you’ve dropped a ball by the plaque in the 15th fairway at The Dunes Club where Jay Sigel launched a 5-wood shot that dropped into the cup for double eagle at the 1994 Senior Tour Championship. I know I have.

Now, thanks to the current run of Big Break Myrtle Beach on Golf Channel, we can add four more Grand Strand layouts – three at Barefoot Resort and another at Pawleys Plantation - to the list of TV courses.

Though new episodes will continue to run through December, you can already be sure to see visiting golfers at the Love Course taking a few extracurricular shots through the window (a Big Break challenge) on the faux plantation house ruins at No. 4.

Big Break is featuring some of the great holes at the four courses. But the competition won’t show you every hole of each course. So here’s a guide to holes you may or may not see on TV, but will remember after playing each layout:

No. 16 Barefoot Love: A lot of fun off the tee, this (412 yards from the tips) par-4 features a beautifully sculpted split fairway separated by sand and waste. There’s a small carry over marsh off the tee then more water and marsh on both left and right.  With no greenside bunkers, shots can be rolled up slope in front of the green and onto the putting surface.

Challenge shot: Try to reach the green from the bunker (about 125 yards out) in the waste area that separates the landing areas.

No. 10 Barefoot Dye: Hardly the toughest hole on the course, the 344-yard (from the tips) par-4 is a real beauty with a lake stretching the entire left side of the fairway until giving way to a series of four front bunkers below an elevated green offering a dramatic view of the entire hole.

Challenge shot: Getting up and down from one of the cluster of bunkers behind the big tabletop green.

No. 9 Barefoot Fazio: A beautiful, 408-yard par-4 requiring a modest carry off the tee over water with water extending along the right side of the dogleg right. There’s generous bailout room to the left unless you find a large horseshoe-shaped bunker not far off the fairway. A back right pin placement on the triangular putting surface is especially hard to target.

Challenge shot: Reaching the green from the horseshoe bunker about 150 yards away.

No. 11 Pawleys Plantation: A long par-5 (563 yards from the tips), but no water or marsh to worry about. Sounds easy enough? Hardly. In addition to requiring two solid shots splitting trees on both sides, golfers must stay left of a sprawling live oak that blocks short approaches down the right side of the fairway. If you’re stuck behind the tree, you have to invent a low shot that somehow manages to avoid the sand in front of the green.

Challenge shot: Best score from a lie directly behind the live oak. Bubba Watson might not be able to open up a wedge, hit a shot over the tree and land it on the putting surface. The best shot is a low runner under the branches to short grass in front of the green. Then pitch up and try to save par.

John Brasier is a freelance golf writerJohn Brasier covered Grand Strand golf as golf writer and sports editor of The Sun News in Myrtle Beach. He also has written about Grand Strand golf for several national publications, including Golf Magazine, Golfweek and GolfWorld. A mid-handicapper with a history of luck on short holes, he’s made four holes-in-one, though much to his regret, none on the Grand Strand.

Caddy Girls Basking in Post-Shark Tank Exposure

November 19, 2014 by Chris King

The Caddy Girls got their start in Myrtle BeachThey’ve been featured on ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank,” but the story of The Caddy Girls began here in Myrtle Beach with an entrepreneurial college student looking to leverage two of the region’s primary strengths: great golf and weather.

Meghan Tarmey was a cheerleader at Coastal Carolina University working two jobs to pay the bills, and she wanted to make her own schedule and be outside.

As a bartender at two local establishments, she was more than familiar with the impact of golf on the local economy. In 2005, Tarmey, bolstered by a combination of ambition and hard work, decided to launch The Caddy Girls, a group of, ahem, attractive young ladies who would provide caddy services to groups coming to Myrtle Beach on a golf trip.

“I didn’t mull over the option of it working or not, I just did it,” Tarmey said. “I flew by the seat of my pants for the first few years, doing everything I could. Once I dropped all the other jobs and focused on my business it really took off.”

A business that started with six caddies now has more than 200, including 80 in Myrtle Beach, on its roster and that number is growing after the Shark Tank appearance, which shined a national spotlight on The Caddy Girls.

To answer the primary question most people have, yes, they understand the game of golf.

“Most of our caddies forecaddie, but carrying bags is something that most of them could do,” Tarmey said. “We have training videos, manuals, written tests and of course take them on a golf course to train. Duties include everything that a traditional male caddy would do.”

They just happen to be easier on the eyes than a traditional caddy. Their primary mission is to make an already enjoyable day on the golf course even better.

[Checkout the top 10 reasons to use a Caddy Girl]

With 80 caddies in Myrtle Beach, golf groups have plenty of options and if the initial reaction to the Shark Tank appearance is an indicator, the stable will need to grow.

“Shark Tank was a huge game-changer,” Tarmey said. “They took us seriously, recognized us as a great business, and the exposure of 8 million people seeing us has caused business to explode.”

Within 12 hours of the show airing, there were more than 100 investment offers and countless media opportunities, including an Inside Edition feature.

The Caddy Girls had already expanded outside the Myrtle Beach market, an effort that was accelerated by the show appearance. But just like so many golf groups, Myrtle Beach is the epic center for The Caddy Girls growth and development.

Big Break Myrtle Beach Episode 7 Recap: A Favorite Emerges While One Player’s Swing Disappears

November 18, 2014 by Chris King

Christian Heavens was eliminated from Big Break Myrtle BeachA road trip was taken, a clear favorite emerged, and the cruelty of the game of golf was reaffirmed on the seventh episode of Big Break Myrtle Beach.

First the road trip: after playing at Barefoot Resort & Golf the first half of the season, Big Break moved to Pawleys Plantation, one of the most scenic and challenging courses along the Grand Strand.

The beauty of the property immediately impressed players, but each had a job to do. The seven remaining contestants were given $500 cash and the opportunity to grow their investment during the first immunity challenge.

The challenge was a closest to the pin contest on the par 3 17th hole, which requires a carry over a saltwater marsh. Players, in an order determined by random drawing, got to choose who they would play. Win the head-to-head matchup and you take the money and advance until one person emerges with all the cash.

Christian, holding $1,500, and Charlie, with the remaining $2,000, advanced to the final matchup. Christian hit an excellent shot, finishing 9’11” from the hole. Victory seemed likely.

But Charlie trumped him, stuffing his shot to 6’11” inches, winning the money, immunity and along with it the role of favorite to win the show. He hit three shots in the elimination challenge and none of them were more than 8’10” from the hole, they were the three best shots hit during the challenge.

We are just over halfway through, but Charlie is the runaway leader in the clubhouse for the "Player You Are Most Likely to See on Tour Award."

The second stage of the immunity challenge was a closest to the line contest on the 11th hole Pawleys. The women had to hit the ball at least 200 yards, the men 230. Everyone got two shots and the two players closest to the line earned immunity.

Anthony and Tessa, who were both within six of the line, led by Anthony, who was 5’8,” advanced. But much as the story was about who won the challenge, it was equally about who didn’t.

Christian, who moments earlier seemed poised to win immunity, hooked both of his shots and failed to get the ball in play, which sent him directly to the elimination challenge.

Big Break Myrtle BeachHe opted to play Jimmy, who for the fifth consecutive episode failed to earn immunity.

The duo played holes 12 and 18, with the highest score going home. They both made par on 12, Christian after leaving a 10-foot birdie putt short of the hole.

They moved to the 18th and Jimmy placed his drive perfectly in the fairway.
Unfortunately, Christian’s pull hook returned and it made for a gruesome finish. He took an unplayable after his drive ended up in a hazard, and his third shot bounced left toward the water, leaving him with, to put it mildly, a compromised stance.

Needing to hole out from well off the green, he attempted to hit the ball between his legs and predictably chunked it. All of this is a long way of saying that Jimmy made a 5-foot par putt with plenty of breathing room to win the challenge.

Christian, who had been playing better and was one of the most likeable contestants on the show, was left to lament a swing that temporarily deserted him at the worst possible time.


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Photo Gallery: Myrtle Beach Fall Classic

November 18, 2014 by Chris King

The inaugural Myrtle Beach Fall Classic, a 72-hole, two-man team event, is underway. Played on eight of the best golf courses in Myrtle Beach and all of America, the Fall Classic attracted a sold out field of 100 teams. Enjoy a look at the action.



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