It’s that time of year, time to come up with a unique gift idea that will never be suspected. If you find yourself in this situation and a golf lover is at the top of your list, I have just the solution; an entry into the 2022 Myrtle Beach World Amateur Golf Tournament.
It’s a great gift idea, especially for the competitive golfer. I’ve always been competitive, and ever since I can remember, I’ve always been able to make a game out of just about anything. Whether it was playing hockey (I started playing organized hockey in my hometown of London, Ontario at the age of 3), pick-up football with my friends after school, or counting blue cars on the way to my grandparents’ house, everything was a game. And I always wanted to win. Who doesn’t?
I am very passionate about the game of golf, which tends to feed my competitive habit. I’ve been blessed to write about and make a living doing something I love. My grandfather and uncles on my mother’s side of the family were fantastic golfers. My Uncle Donald is 80 years old and still shoots his age; he’s been doing that for about the last 6 years. Unfortunately, I didn’t go swimming in that gene pool, but I’ll still give it my all.
Nonetheless, when I was asked if I wanted to participate in the 2021 Myrtle Beach World Amateur and write about my experience, I decided to accept the challenge. I guess it’s part of being competitive.
I’ve never played in an organized golf tournament that didn’t include mulligans, “gimmes,” and hitting all four balls from the same place. When I play with my friends at home, anything within about 4 feet is “good.” Little did I know how much that would come back to haunt me. Nevertheless, I made the 10+ hour drive over to Myrtle Beach to take a shot at the title. When we arrived in town, we headed over to the PGA TOUR Superstore to register and collect my gift bag, and then it was off to our beachfront hotel – the Caravelle Resort. The Caravelle is a great place to relax after a round. If you like water, you can choose between the swimming pool and the ocean. My wife travels with me for work and does all of the photography. Because of COVID, she wasn’t allowed on any of the courses, so for her, it was a 4-day beach vacation. For me, not so much.
The Myrtle Beach Amateur is in its 38th year and this year’s event had almost 3,500 participants. For your entry fee you get 4 rounds of net, stroke play tournament golf played on over 50 of the Grand Strand’s nicest courses; win your flight and there’s a 5th round. Finish in the top 5 and you’ll at least take home a trophy and a gift card. You’ll also receive a gift bag that includes a hat, golf towel, coffee mug, polo, quarter zip, and $20 store gift card, as well as nightly access to the World’s Largest 19th Hole for yourself and a guest. On the last night, there are drawings for over $25,000 in random prize drawings.
The 19th Hole is held each night of the tournament at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center and is probably the largest golf party you will ever attend. Free, beer, free booze, and free food, as well as several aisles of golf-related vendors. Twelve area restaurants are serving up appetizer-size portions of eclectic dishes that change each night. Everything from Domino’s Pizza to things I’ve never heard of, yet they all taste good! And Friendly’s Ice Cream. My favorite was the Angus Meatloaf served up by Sam Sneads on Thursday night. And the ice cream.
This year’s tournament was divided into 71 flights; mine was for handicaps 10.0 – 10.9. I drew four nice courses: The Love Course at Barefoot Landing, Aberdeen Country Club, Arrowhead Golf Club, and The River Club. Each of the courses was in fantastic shape, especially the greens. During your four rounds you’re likely to play with 12 different people and, since play is usually slow – everyone has to look over and study each shot and putt – so you’ll get to know your playing partners pretty well.
Of the four rounds, I played to my handicap only once. Rounds of 87, 87, 82, and 88 put me in 10th place in Flight 35. I blame it partly on nerves and my inexperience in such events. And the fact that I missed 17 putts within 5 feet over 4 days. No trophy or gift certificates for me.
The World AM is one of the best-run amateur golf tournaments in the country and the staff deserves a round of applause. Each flight is well-policed and sandbaggers are not tolerated. Shooting well below your handicap two days in a row will draw the ire of the committee and may very well get you disqualified. You’ll still be able to play your rounds, but your scores won’t count. Unfortunately, it happens each year more often than you think.
All in all, the Myrtle Beach World Amateur is a great place to test your skills against other golfers of the same caliber. You’ll meet some great people, have your fill of food and drink, and play some fantastic golf courses. And you may very well walk away with the title of World Champion, just like 64-year old Jean Ober of North Palm Beach Florida did this year.
The 2022 World Amateur will be played from August 29th – September 2nd, 2022. For more information, visit them online at www.myrtlebeachworldamateur.com. I hope to see you there.