On Grand Strand Golf | ‘Dr. J’ to make debut in celebrity charity tournament

ablondin@thesunnews.comJuly 23, 2012 

Julius “Dr. J” Erving is scheduled to make his first celebrity golf tournament appearance on the Grand Strand at the fifth annual Know Your Score Celebrity Golf Tournament and Gala, and is expected to be joined by about 30 other athletes, former athletes and celebrities.

The event, which benefits ZERO – The Project to End Prostate Cancer, will take place Aug. 18 at Pawleys Plantation.

Among those committed to join Erving at the event are baseball Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, and former NFL stars Lynn Swann, Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Richard Dent.

“We have a good group coming in,” said tournament director and Zero Director of Marketing and Communications Heath Carter. “We might add a few people to it in the next week or two.”

There are only a few foursomes remaining at $2,000 per team, and all 32 teams are projected to have a celebrity. The tournament is not open to spectators this year.

Former NBA player Gus Williams is the celebrity host for a second straight year after scrapping a planned celebrity pro-am last year and merging his event with Know Your Score.

He has managed to attract former NFL players Greg Lloyd, Sterling Sharpe, Cornelius Bennett and Thurman Thomas.

Former NBA players and coaches who have committed include Gary Payton, Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues, Sam Jones, Junior Bridgeman, Brevin Knight, Al Wood, Gus Williams’ brother Ray Williams, and hall of fame coach Lenny Wilkins, who was an assistant to Chuck Daly on the 1992 U.S. Olympic Dream Team.

Former Major League Baseball players who have committed include Vida Blue and Tony Womack.

Other celebrities expected to take part include recently retired college basketball coach Bobby Cremins, billiards world champion Ewa Mataya Laurance, actor and billiards commentator Mitch Laurance, actress Dawnn Lewis, long drive golfer Shane Ferguson, comedian Gary Mule Deer, and Billy Hunter, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association who bargained for the players during the recent NBA lockout.

“The longer it goes the more people hear about it, and it’s easier for us to get people to commit when they know people who were here in the past,” Carter said. “Plus having Gus Williams as our celebrity host has helped. We already have people that have committed to return next year.”

The $2,000 entry fee per team includes a TaylorMade gift bag and table for eight to the post-tournament gala, which includes a cocktail reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres, dinner, performance by saxophonist and participant Branford Marsalis, and Locker Room Sports Chat emceed by Mitch Laurance. The athletes will discuss different topics and answer questions. The gala is nearly sold out at approximately 300 people.

One team is being auctioned off online at www.Knowyourscoremb.com and eBay, and highest bidders can choose between Bogues, Swann or Payton.

Legends such as Erving, Morgan, Swann, Jones and Dent were scheduled to participate last year, but their travel plans were disrupted by Hurricane Irene on the eve of the event and they never made it. About half of last year’s committed celebrities were able to participate, and Carter moved the tournament dates up a week this year.

“Short of a hurricane we should have a sellout,” Carter said. “Hopefully we’ll avoid that this year.”

The event was held at Long Bay Club and Kingston Plantation in its first two years, and has been at Pawleys Plantation the past two years. Organizers plan to move it to a centrally-located course next year, and allow spectators.

“Next year we’re hoping to open it up to the community on a limited basis, probably sell a limited amount of tickets,” Carter said.

All proceeds benefit the fight to end prostate cancer by funding testing, promoting education and awareness, and enabling research. Atlantic Urology Clinics and Carolina Regional Cancer Center are title sponsors for the second consecutive year.

To register for the tournament and gala and to get more information about Know Your Score visit: www.knowyourscoremb.com.

Dunes Club garners award

The Dunes Golf and Beach Club has been named the Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association’s 2012 Course of the Year through a vote of the association’s membership.

The Dunes Club edged out Barefoot Resort’s Dye Club for the award and will advance to state competition, where it will make a presentation along with four other courses from different regions in the state. The S.C. course of the year will be announced in mid-August.

“This was the most competitive vote in the 15-year history of this award, with submissions from two of the area’s premier courses,” said MBAGCOA executive director George Hilliard.

Among the significant contributions for each, the Dunes Club hosted the Senior PGA Tour Championship for six years in the 1990s, a U.S. Women’s Open and PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament final, while the Dye Club has hosted the Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After The Masters Celebrity Pro-Am for the last 10 years.

Each course was judged on the quality of its layout, maintenance and management, and its contributions to both the community and the game of golf.

Each state winner will advance to the national competition, with the winner to be announced in February in San Diego in conjunction with the National Golf Course Owners Association annual conference.

Trees coming down

Tom Jackson’s tight 38-year-old layout at Carolina Shores Golf & Country Club has become less narrow in the past few weeks.

A major tree removal project is underway that will eliminate approximately 900 trees at its completion, according to course general manager Philippe Bureau.

The project is being done in three-hole phases, and Phase 1 involves approximately 100 trees on holes 16, 17 and 18.

Bureau selected trees that were blocking sunlight and therefore impeding grass growth on tees and greens, and was forcing spending on fertilizer and chemicals. He said the Carolina Shores town tree committee and N.C. Extension Office looked at the trees and offered advice.

“I just wanted to identify trees that were keeping us from having the best playing surface,” Bureau said. “The number of trees to be removed was far less important than the effect of removing the appropriate trees to meet our goal. If you don’t improve the surfaces and give the best product you can you won’t be in business very long.”

One hole is being done at a time and play has not been interrupted. The town has to give approval to go to the next phase, and has already permitted the second phase consisting of holes 13-15.

“The town was concerned we wouldn’t clean up quickly enough, so we agreed to do the project in six phases,” Bureau said.

The 173-yard par-3 third hole will be among the most affected, with more than 60 holes slated for removal. “The tee box gets less than an hour of sunlight between November and March,” Bureau said. “That puts us into a difficult situation in trying to provide the best grass surface possible.”

Trophy stays in area

While the gross championship trophy in last weekend’s 15th annual Golf Dimensions National Father & Son Team Classic will reside in the Michigan hometown of winners Mike and Brock Zeeb, the net trophy remains on the Strand.

Jerry Ingalls of Calabash, N.C., and his son, Chris, of Evans, Ga., captured the net title Saturday in the 804-player tournament held on eight Grand Strand courses with a gross 12-under-par 204 for a net 36-under 180.

Jerry, 71, a retired food workers union employee as an industrial engineer, is a 12 handicap and played from the senior gold tees. Chris, 39, is a federal probation officer with a 9 handicap. The family is originally from the Dakotas.

In their fourth appearance in the tournament, the duo shot a net 58 in better ball at Rivers Edge Golf Club, net 63 in modified alternate shot at Myrtle Beach National’s SouthCreek Course, and a net 59 in a two-man scramble at Long Bay Club.

“We just made putts,” Jerry said. “When he didn’t make the putt I made the putt. It was one of those years everything was just going good.”

Sandpiper hosting families

Sandpiper Bay Golf Club is hosting a Family Golf Day on Saturday in conjunction with the PGA Family Golf Month and Play Golf America. The event features a clinic, exhibition and nine holes of golf – all free of charge.

There will be a junior clinic from 10 a.m. to noon featuring long drive champion Tom Garber of Surfside Beach, who will discuss the game and give long drive swing tips. Attendees will also receive hands-on instruction from area PGA of America pros and clubs will be provided to juniors who need them.

At noon, juniors and their families can play three, five or nine holes, and special junior tees will be set up on the layout. There must be at least one junior in each group for free play, and adults can rent carts for $10 per person.

RSVP to Sandpiper Bay at 910-579-9120 or golfshop@sandpiperbaygolf.com.

To view Blondin’s blog, Green Reading, or Q&A Forum Ask Al, go to TheSunNews.com.

Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284.

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