On Grand Strand Golf: Dustin Johnson school already expanding

ablondin@thesunnews.comDecember 23, 2013 

Less than four months after Allen Terrell gave his first lesson at the TPC of Myrtle Beach under the auspices of the new Dustin Johnson Golf School, the school is already expanding.

A second location is carrying the PGA Tour star’s name at The Wanderers Club in Wellington, Fla., which is an approximate 45-minute car ride from Johnson’s home in Jupiter, Fla.

The school at the TPC opened in early September, though a Grand Opening celebration hasn’t been held yet.

As the director of instruction, Terrell will help train a staff at The Wanderers Club on setting up programming and establishing a junior golf program, and instructors will be Dustin Johnson Golf School certified. Terrell has established comprehensive junior development programs for three age levels from 3-18.

He’ll be conducting two-day mini-schools at first, and is flying to Florida for the inaugural two-day school at the club Friday and Saturday.

“This all kind of happened fast,” said Terrell, who resigned in late August from his post as the 13-year men’s golf coach at Coastal Carolina. “It’s not really a franchise, it’s more like consulting.

“We’re not at a point where we’re selling our franchise but they like the idea of having the school there to help sell memberships. We want to grow it. We don’t want to have just one location.”

Terrell said he’s speaking to four other private clubs in Florida about doing something similar in 2014, including the junior program. “They’re hoping Dustin’s name will encourage more juniors to participate,” he said.

The Wanderers Club was chosen as the first breakout location because an investor in the Johnson school who has relationships in China is a member there. “Having investors will enable us to do a little bit more,” Terrell said.

The Johnson school will use the existing practice facilities at The Wanderers Club and there aren’t yet plans for a full-time school staff member at the location.

Terrell is the sole instructor at the TPC of Myrtle Beach, but he’s looking to hire two more instructors in 2014 to allow the school to accept more students.

Great expectations

Based on his tie for 56th in the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament that concluded last week, Roberto Diaz of Myrtle Beach has been assigned the 18th non-exempt position through the first four events of the tour’s 2014 season.

Players outside the top 45 had to alternate status positions with 2013 Web.com Tour members who finished between 76th and 100th on this year’s money list.

“There’s a really good chance he’ll get into each of the first four, then all he has to do is make a cut,” said Diaz’s swing coach, Scott Shobe.

There is a status reshuffle after the fourth event, and Diaz will have a chance to secure his status on the tour if he plays well early. The season begins Feb. 6-9 at the Panama Claro Championship in Panama City, Panama.

Diaz also has full status on the feeder Latinoamerica NEC Series, where he played much of the 2013 season.

Cobb, Ferree selected

The newest members of the South Carolina Golf Hall of Fame are Karen Ferree of Hilton Head Island and the late George Cobb, who designed the Surf Golf and Beach Club in North Myrtle Beach.

The now-private Surf Club opened in 1960 and is the third-oldest 18-hole course on the Strand, after Pine Lakes Country Club and The Dunes Golf and Beach Club. It is one of Cobb’s more than 200 designs or re-designs of courses across the country, which also include Brunswick County courses Oak Island Golf Club and Bald Head Island Club.

Cobb and Ferree are the 2013 inductees and the formal induction ceremony will take place at the South Carolina Golf Association Golf Day activities on Jan. 11 at Columbia Country Club.

The induction of Karen Ferree will give the Hall its first husband and wife couple as she joins husband Jim, who was inducted in 2008. Karen Ferree was nominated based on her winning record, contributions to women’s golf as an amateur and Class A professional and dedication to junior golfers.

Ferree is one of the first female club professionals in South Carolina and was the pro at Long Cove Club in Hilton Head.

She won the Carolinas Junior, Senior and Women’s Four Ball Championships and is a two-time Women’s SCGA Stroke Play Champion, three-time WSCGA Match Play Champion and five-time WSCGA Senior Champion. She was Carolinas Player of the Year from 2001-2003.

She has also competed in three U.S. Women’s Amateurs, three U.S. Women’s Opens, three U.S. Women’s Mid-Ams and 10 U.S. Women’s Senior Ams.

She now works with the WSCGA’s Junior Golf Foundation in charitable efforts and with husband Jim to generate revenue for youth scholarships, and volunteers with the local LPGA Girls Golf program.

Cobb is known for his design of the par-three course at Augusta National Golf Club, and he also served as a design consultant at Augusta National for 25 years as the club strived to make improvements for The Masters.

Cobb moved his family to Greenville in 1957 after being asked to design and build Green Valley Country Club. His designs also include courses at Hilton Head’s Sea Pines Resort and he earned credit from Pete Dye in the layout of Harbour Town Golf Links, which has hosted the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage since 1969.

To inquire about attending the induction ceremony, call 803-732-9311 or email info@scgolf.org. Ferree and Cobb bring the total SC Golf Hall of Fame members to 63.

Applications for induction are accepted from the general public through SCGA president Frank Ford III and the 28 living Hall of Fame members choose the inductees through a vote.

The Hall of Fame is located at the headquarters of the SCGA in Irmo and consists of a room with pictures of the inductees, some memorabilia and history of golf in the state.

Optimism for juniors

Area junior golfers will have a convenient opportunity to qualify for the prestigious 2014 Optimist International Junior Golf Championships at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., which is home to the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic.

The Greg Norman Champions Academy is partnering with Optimist International clubs to offer a district qualifier from Feb. 22-23 at the Norman Course at Barefoot Resort.

Players can compete in the three age divisions of Boys 16-18, Boys 14-15 and Girls 14-18. Players 13 and younger can request the ability to participate and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The top five finishers in each age division will qualify for the finals if they can achieve the established target scores. Girls ages 14-18 must shoot a 36-hole total of 170, Boys 14-15 must shoot 166, and boys 16-18 must shoot 156.

The Optimist Championships will be held between July 19-29, with younger players teeing off on earlier dates. Each golfer’s age division will depend on their age for the final round of their competition in July.

The entry fee is $176 and includes a lunch on tournament days and an Optimist Golf gift package. Online registration opened Dec. 1 and closes Feb. 7 at http://www.optimist.org/e/juniorgolf/optimist1.cfm if there are still spots available.

Practice rounds for $50 will be available on Feb. 21. Carts and caddies during tournament rounds are prohibited.

Past champions and top finishers of the Optimist include Jonathan Byrd, Jason Day, Bill Haas, Jeff Overton, Beth Bauer, Brittany Lincicome, Jennifer Rosales and Stacy Prammanasudh.

Hirai, Crowe POYs

Reona Hirai of Summerville has won the Beth Daniel Award for the second consecutive year as the South Carolina Junior Golf Association’s girls player of the year, and Trace Crowe of Bluffton is the Jay Haas Award winner as the boys POY.

The Heritage Classic Foundation Rankings for 2013 end on Dec. 1, and Hirai passed friend Kelli Murphy of Elgin when she won the George Holliday Memorial Junior at Myrtle Beach National Golf Club two weeks ago for her seventh victory of the year.

Murphy had taken the points lead with a win in the Players Championship at Hartsville Country Club earlier in November. Points are compiled in more than 200 events over 12 months. Hirai is headed to Furman and Murphy to Auburn.

Crowe, a junior, has also committed to Auburn and wrapped up the award with a runner-up finish at the SCJGA Fall Challenge followed by a win at the Players Championship.

Crowe will be honored at a press conference involving Haas at Thornblade Club in Greenville on Sunday, and Hirai will be honored in February at a ceremony that is expected to include Daniel.

Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284.

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