Greg Norman will be taking part in the ceremonies on Aug. 21 for the grand opening of the Greg Norman Champions Golf Academy at Barefoot Resort’s expansive driving range.
Norman, a winner of 91 professional tournaments worldwide, including the 1986 and ’93 British Opens, visited the area in August 2010 to announce the Barefoot academy location.
The 57-year-old Australian golf legend hoped to have the academy open last summer, but as is often the case, construction was delayed.
The Shark attached his name to an academy at Long Bay Club in the spring of 2010 and the Greg Norman Champions Golf Academy has been operating at that location since.
“We’ve been here for two years with the Greg Norman Academy and its going well, and we’re so excited to move to Barefoot,” said academy owner Juan Manuel Fernandez, who moved to the Grand Strand from Mexico a couple years ago. “I believe it will be a huge opportunity for the kids around here and overseas. Hopefully we can move it forward and get it in the shape Greg wants it.”
The ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:30 a.m. is open to invited guests only.
The Barefoot academy is the first of several planned Norman academies, and will likely remain the headquarters of the teaching facilities, Fernandez said.
The planning process has already begun for satellite locations in Jupiter, Fla.; British Columbia, Canada; and Cancun, Mexico – all locations have Norman-designed courses. Fernandez and Norman also hope to have locations in Hawaii and Mexico City.
Fernandez has been traveling with Norman a lot to publicize the academy. They have been to Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, multiple countries in Europe, and locations on the east and west coast of the U.S.
A story featuring Norman and an advertisement for the academy are running in the West Coast magazine Baja Traveler.
Norman designed one of Barefoot’s four courses that opened in 2000 and his Greg Norman’s Australian Grille is just across the Intracoastal Waterway at Barefoot Landing.
Norman missed the cut two weeks ago in the Senior British Open and seldom plays competitive golf anymore. He’s busy with a myriad of businesses that carry his name involving apparel, sunglasses, restaurants, golf course design, turf, a winery, beef exporting and golf tournament operation.
A development company operates out of his Great White Shark Enterprises headquarters in Florida.
The Barefoot academy includes a driving range that has a hitting area approximately 75 yards long and 25 yards deep, and 14 measured target greens. The practice area also includes an 8,000-square-foot putting green, 1,000-square-foot flat putting green, 6,000-square-foot chipping green, and three practice bunkers with greens set up for 10-, 30-, 45- and 70-yard shots.
A 10,000 square foot clubhouse houses a gym, two classrooms, one meeting room, boys and girls locker rooms, three covered indoor/outdoor hitting bays, six offices, and a club repair and storage room.
The academy will have hourly and day lessons for the general public, and has 15 full-time students this school year between the ages of 14 and 21 that are living in The Farm in Carolina Forest, as well as several touring pros who receive instruction. On-site housing may be built in the future.
Coastal Carolina golf scholarship recipients Roberto Ballesteros and Frida Castillo attended the academy.
Norman will take part in the ribbon cutting along with Fernandez, North Myrtle Beach mayor Marilyn Hatley and Barefoot Resort owner Sam Puglia. Norman will go through a swing clinic and show students a good golf-specific workout on the gym’s Cybex equipment.
Fernandez is awaiting responses from actors, actresses and golf pros he has invited to the opening.
He expects Norman to return twice in 2012, possibly in September and November, to check on the academy and students’ progress.
Fernandez intends to speak to National Golf Management officials prior to the Barefoot opening to discuss the future of the Long Bay Club teaching facility. It includes a full practice facility, three hitting bays, a lounge, three offices and a small gym, and utilizes the V1 swing analysis system.
The Norman academy owns the building and has been operating on the property through a lease agreement with National Golf Management, which has owned the property since the company was created in March through the merger of Myrtle Beach National Co. and Burroughs & Chapin Golf Management.
“It’s not a rush because this works for our tour guys to practice. They do like more privacy,” Fernandez said. “So I’m not rushing into things because I’m fine with it. If National Golf Management wants to do something with it in the future we can come to an agreement. If we have to close it down we will, if not it’s perfect.
“… If someone is interested in buying it we’ll see.”
Coastal Open created
Born out of the desire to provide players in the area with a competitive tournament aside from charity scrambles, Hackler Course at Coastal Carolina University head pro Chuck Johns has created the inaugural Coastal Open Golf Championship at the Hackler Course on Aug. 17-18.
The event is open to all players 18 and older.
“We wanted to have something different down here for everyone to be able to play in,” Johns said. “We have the World Am and there tend to be a lot of charity events and scrambles. I was looking for something a little more competitive that everyone could play in.”
The 36-hole stroke-play event has four divisions – a gross division playing approximately 6,900 yards; a division for Professional Golf Management and PGA of America apprentices playing 6,900 yards; a senior division for players 60 and older set at approximately 5,900 yards that will be flighted after the first round; and an open division playing approximately 6,500 yards that will be flighted after the first round.
Women can play in any flight from shorter tees of between 5,600 and 5,800 yards.
Winners will have the option of a gift certificate or cash award, and skins will be available each day as an additional game. The gross division costs $175 and all other divisions are $150 and include lunch both days.
The entry deadline is Aug. 13 and a practice round on Aug. 16 is $25. Visit the course, call 843-349-6600 or email Johns at email@example.com to register or for more information.
Wilcox adding names
Chris Wilcox of the NBA’s Boston Celtics said he has been working on adding some celebrities to the fourth annual Chris Wilcox Power Forward to Cure Lupus Golf Outing at 10 a.m. Friday at Myrtle Beach National Golf Club.
The 6-10, 29-year-old Whiteville, N.C., native who helped Maryland win the 2002 NCAA Championship will be participating, and he has recruited former heavyweight boxing title contender Ray Mercer, former heavyweight champion James “Bonecrusher” Smith, and America’s Got Talent participant magician Carl Michael. Wilcox said he’s lobbying some of his Celtics teammates to take part as well.
The entry fee is $100 for an individual or $300 for a team of four and the captain’s choice scramble event benefits the Lupus Foundation of America. Two of Wilcox’s aunts have died from Lupus and an older sister suffers from it.
Visit ChrisWilcox.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Carrie Potter Group at 713-982-8500 for more information.
Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284.