On Grand Strand Golf: TPC of Myrtle Beach bringing Hackler Championship back

ablondin@thesunnews.comNovember 5, 2012 

TPC of Myrtle Beach owner Chip Smith has had a change of heart, and he’s getting his alma mater’s golf tournament back.

The Coastal Carolina graduate’s course will host the school’s General Hackler Championship next March for the 10th time in the past 11 years.

It was held at the TPC from 2003-11 following the inaugural event at the Grande Dunes Resort Course in 2002, but moved to the private DeBordieu Club last year.

“I enjoy the event, that’s one thing,” Smith said. “Being a Coastal graduate comes into play from my standpoint – wanting to give back to the community and school.”

The tournament’s dates make it difficult for the worthy courses in the area to host it. It will be played March 11-12, which is in the midst of the roughly three-month spring golf season for the area’s public courses when the TPC charges its highest rates, which are up to $175 per round.

The tournament is a three-day happening. Three competitive rounds are played over two days, and the eve of the tournament includes a practice round and corporate rounds for tournament sponsors.

If the course sacrifices even 150 paid rounds on each of the three days, that’s a significant chunk of change.

“We talked about rotating it around for financial relief because it’s in the peak of season,” Smith said. “We talked to a number of courses in the area. DeBordieu did a great job last year. I think everybody was satisfied. Coastal was happy.

“But we had a lot of comments from coaches about how much they enjoyed having it at TPC, so that factored into us bringing it back so quickly. And a lot of the coaches have become friends of mine over time and asked about it, so we decided to do it sooner than later.”

The Pete Dye-designed DeBordieu in Georgetown was and possibly still is open to hosting the Hackler again, though it would have to be approved by both the club’s golf committee and board of directors.

“I’ve been told by our committee they would consider that again because it was great,” DeBordieu head pro Shawn Roper said. “The membership enjoyed watching it and following the kids, so they’d be interested in hosting it again.”

Smith said the Tom Fazio-designed TPC in Murrells Inlet, which hosted the 2000 Champions Tour Championship, is better logistically than DeBordieu for the teams’ travel to and from their hotels and Myrtle Beach International Airport.

“We’ll evaluate it again, and maybe it will become an every year event at TPC or every other year, or we’ll rotate it,” said Smith, who has gotten to know some of the past participants as well as coaches. “It’s still to be determined.”

The law is here

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Golf Classic has been so successful on the Grand Strand, the event has spawned several satellite events around the country with more likely.

The 13th annual National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Golf Classic is being played this week on seven courses and features more than 600 players.

Proceeds are donated to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which supports maintenance of the Memorial in Washington, D.C., the annual Candlelight Vigil, research and the campaign to build the National Law Enforcement Museum.

Last year’s event raised $24,000 and brought the event’s 12-year total donated to the memorial to $480,000. The memorial wall has more than 18,000 names of officers killed in the line of duty, and an adjacent underground museum opened on Oct. 12 that chronicles the history and key moments of law enforcement, and includes current law enforcement information.

Tournament coordinator Dan Morphet said five satellite tournaments have grown out of the Myrtle Beach event, with the winners gaining entry into the Strand’s national tournament.

“That’s what we’re trying to do is have as many satellite events around the country where the winners get seeded in our event,” Morphet said.

There are three satellite events in Iowa, one sponsored by the New York Department of Corrections, and one in New Mexico sponsored by the Albuquerque division of the FBI.

This week’s event is being played at Tidewater Golf Club, the TPC of Myrtle Beach, the three courses at Legends Resort, Heritage Club and Oyster Bay Golf Links. A practice round was held Monday and stroke-play tournament rounds are Tuesday through Thursday.

The tournament was open only to those in law enforcement for its first several years, but for the past few years it has been open to anyone. There is a Law Enforcement Division and a Friends of Cops division.

Approximately 35 states are represented in the field, with very little participation from South Carolina. The majority of the participants are from the East Coast, though approximately 250 are from Canada and 16 are from Bermuda, including the commissioner of police.

The tournament peaked with 1,204 players in 2009. “The way the economy is and everything like that, 600 is not too bad,” Morphet.

The event is $489 without lodging, and $669 for visitors including five nights of lodging; four days of golf; breakfast, lunch and dinner each day; a three-hour open bar nightly; and Footjoy golf shoes included in the welcome gift package.

For more information on the D.C. memorial, visit www.nleomf.com.

Passport welcomes more

The Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association is opening up its Myrtle Beach Golf Passport discount card program to anyone in 2013.

In the recent past, the Passport was available only to residents of 10 South Carolina counties and four North Carolina counties in close proximity to the Strand, or owners of second homes on the Strand, and several thousand have been sold in each of the past few years.

The card is $42.50 and is valid through Dec. 31, 2013. It provides golfers access to discounted rates on most Strand courses, a 10 percent discount at Golf Dimensions retail stores and 25 percent off entrees at some area restaurants.

Tee times generally have to be booked within 48 hours of play, and the discount rates are available to the cardholder and up to three guests.

For more information on the Passport program, call the owners association at 843-477-8822 or go to www.MyrtleBeachGolfPassport.com. Golf rates will be posted online, where golfers can also book tee times in real time. Several summer tournaments are held exclusively for Passport members.

Clubs and reels

Pro-am teams have been sold out for some time for the DeBordieu Celebrity Pro-Am for Cystic Fibrosis, but tournament organizers are looking for some fishermen to join 2011 FedEx Cup champion Bill Haas and Champions Tour member Jay Haas in a fishing competition that has been added to the event.

The CF4CF – Catching Fish For Cystic Fibrosis – event will be held on Nov. 12, the eve of the golf tournament.

The entry fee of $500 per two-person fishing team goes entirely to the S.C. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and more than a dozen teams are anticipated. The entry fee includes an awards ceremony with hors d’oeuvres and an open bar, and admission the Nov. 13 Pro-Am Gala Banquet and Auction.

Englis Glover will video some of the action for his show “Reelin Up the Coast,” which airs at 9 a.m. Sundays on WWMB and WPDE TV-15.

Teams including a guide will be targeting redfish, sea trout and flounder. Release of the catch is encouraged, though a fish dinner may also result. Call Roper at 527-6000 for more information.

Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284. To view Blondin’s blog, Green Reading, or Twitter page visit myrtlebeachonline.com.

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