On Grand Strand Golf: Instructor Schroder returns from cancer treatments

ablondin@thesunnews.comMay 5, 2014 

Mike Schroder has returned to teaching at both the Steve Dresser Golf Academy at True Blue Plantation and Wild Wing Plantation, where he has given instruction on and off since 1988.

Schroder, who has been the swing instructor for the majority of the Grand Strand’s top juniors over the past three decades, is teaching on a limited basis until he regains more strength from cancer treatments.

Schroder had surgery on Jan. 21 to remove what remained of a cancerous tumor in his esophagus following six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, and doctors told him afterward there were no more signs of cancer.

“I’m doing real well,” said Schroder, who spent 11 days in the hospital following the surgery.

Schroder gave his first lesson of 2014 on Monday, April 21 and gave five that week. He increased to about three per day last week.

“I’m just giving two or three a day until I get my stamina to a normal state,” Schroder said. “That’s the only thing is my stamina. I get tired pretty quickly.”

In the January surgery, surgeons removed about one-third of his stomach and reattached it to his esophagus, Schroder said. He lost about 50 pounds to drop from 218 to 168 through his cancer treatments and has gained only a few pounds back as he is forced to eat smaller meals because of the decreased size of his stomach.

“I needed to lose some weight but 50 is a bit much,” Schroder said. “It’s almost like I had lap-band surgery. I guess I’ll never be overweight again.”

A port that was used for intravenous feeding was removed last Monday from Schroder’s right chest near the shoulder. “I finally got the last foreign body out of my body,” Schroder said. “I’m feeling good about it, I just want to get back to normal.”

Schroder plans to return to mild gym workouts in mid-May and to hitting balls to revive his own game. He has already been putting and pitching.

Schroder’s next checkup is scheduled for July. “They told me it was the best possible outcome,” he said. “I was given five years when I first went to see them. I didn’t expect to have an end time. That was the life expectancy for what I had. The treatment worked perfectly. The chemo and radiation killed it and it was localized.”

Schroder is appreciative of the well wishes and financial assistance through fundraisers and donations he has received. A benefit tournament at True Blue in January sold out and raised $16,000, and he said he’s received in donations about what he would have made teaching over the past few months.

“I really appreciate everything everybody did. It was astounding,” Schroder said. “It was incredibly helpful. It really helped me get past it. I have a whole new perspective in life.

“I was able to see that what I did for my life wasn’t totally wasted. Sometimes you get a little depressed about humanity, and there’s a lot of good people and people that will help others.”

Schroder’s current students include talented junior Jackson Cole and touring pro Zack Byrd, whom Schroder recently met for a putting lesson at Wachesaw Plantation.

Caravelle Cup on tap

The seventh annual Caravelle Cup will be held May 16-17 in Myrtle Beach, and this year it will benefit Special Operations Wounded Warriors (sowwcharity.com).

The two-person team event consists of a Texas Scramble in the first round at Pine Lakes Country Club and best ball final round at Myrtlewood Golf Club’s PineHills Course.

The tournament is nearing a sellout of between 60 and 72 players. It sold out last year.

The local rate to participate is $199 and the package rate including three nights at the Caravelle hotel is $399. Events include a welcoming pizza party at Santa Maria Restaurant at the Caravelle on May 15, Friends of the Cup banquet with heavy hors d’oeuvres and open bar at the St. John’s Inn banquet center on May 16, and post-tournament awards party on May 17 at the St. John’s Inn. Interested players can call the Caravelle at 843-918-8000 or email golf@thecaravelle.com.

“The last couple years it has really taken off, and I think it’s going to grow as much as we want it to,” said tournament co-founder Chip Russell, general manager of Caravelle Properties. “Thirty teams with what we do is really a good number for the event.”

The event has raised close to $25,000 over the past three years and previous beneficiaries include the South Carolina Junior Golf Association, First Tee of Myrtle Beach and S.C. Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The event has been changing charities periodically.

Open tickets, qualifying

Tickets for both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open, being held in consecutive weeks from June 12-22 about a 2 ½-hour drive from Myrtle Beach at Pinehurst Resort’s No. 2 Course, are still available and can be purchased through www.usopen.com.

USGA officials expect attendance of about 50,000 per day at the men’s open and 25,000 each day at the women’s open. The men’s open has sold out 27 consecutive years, so remaining tickets are limited. All volunteer positions for the two events are filled.

The USGA has accepted a record number of entries for the 2014 U.S. Open. The total of 10,127 entrants eclipses the 9,860 for last year’s championship at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. Among the record total are 51 players who are currently fully exempt into the field.

Local 18-hole qualifiers for the U.S. Open began Friday and will continue through May 19 at 111 sites, including several in the Carolinas, and several players from the Grand Strand will be participating.

On Monday, qualifiers were held at Greensboro (N.C.) Country Club and The Patriot Golf Club in Ninety-Six.

Others will be held on May 9 at River Landing Golf Club in Wallace, N.C., on May 12 at Pinewild Country Club in Pinehurst, N.C., and Long Cove Club in Hilton Head Island, and on May 15 at the Governors Club in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Sectional qualifying will be conducted over 36 holes at two international sites (England and Japan) on May 26 and 10 U.S. sites on Monday, June 2. Ansley Golf Club in Roswell, Ga., is the closest sectional, and there are others in Rockville, Md., Vero Beach, Fla., Columbus, Ohio, and Memphis, Tenn.

The Women’s Open also has a record number of entries with 1,702, surpassing last year’s then-record 1,420. Eighty players are fully exempt into the championship and the USGA holds only 36-hole sectional qualifiers for the women. A total of 24 will be held between Monday and May 30. The nearest qualifiers are May 19 at Dunwoody (Ga.) Country Club and Hermitage Country Club in Manakin-Sabot, Va., and May 29 at Carolina Trace Country Club in Sanford, N.C.

Conway’s Kristy McPherson is registered to compete at Hermitage, which is outside Richmond, Va.

The U.S. Senior Open will be held July 10-13 at Oak Tree National in Edmond, Okla., and registration continues for 34 18-hole sectional qualifiers from June 12-24 until May 28. The closest qualifiers are June 24 at Florence Country Club and High Point (N.C.) Country Club.

Fairway to Heaven

A story on the plight of a handful of former golf courses on the Grand Strand that have closed but have yet to be redeveloped is available in the current issue of Earth Island Journal (www.earthisland.org), the spring 2014 issue that was published in late February.

The article title is “Fairway to Heaven: Exploring the abandoned golf courses of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.”

The theme of the article was the extent to which nature reclaims abandoned golf courses. Writer Jacques Leslie and photographer Bob Dawson, both of the San Francisco area, were on the Strand for five days last July.

Leslie’s prose and Dawson’s visuals depict the developments at the former courses they toured, as well as an unappealing account of Myrtle Beach itself and its wealth of “cheesy enterprise.” Of course they were looking at the area from the viewpoint of nature in its banal form.

They toured the former 54-hole Bay Tree Plantation in Little River, 36-hole Deer Track Golf Resort near Surfside Beach, Robber’s Roost Golf Club in North Myrtle Beach, and Marsh Harbour Golf Links and Ocean Harbour Golf Links in Calabash, N.C.

They show and describe abandoned clubhouses, bathrooms and other structures on the property that have been vandalized and overgrown with weeds, and the wildlife – both harmless and dangerous – that now inhabits some of the land. The article leads with a realtor at Bay Tree warning them of a meth lab that had recently been uncovered on the property.

The initial effort on the closed courses by Leslie and Dawson appeared as a short article in the 2013 November/December issue of Orion Magazine. A lot of the photos and text that was produced didn’t make it into the article, so they explored ways to get the remaining information published and found interest from Earth Island Journal.

First Tee fundraiser

The First Tee of Brunswick County Future Generations tournament has been the largest one-day charity golf tournament on the Grand Strand in the past few years, attracting more than 400 and sometimes 500 since 2011.

It will be held June 7 at St James Plantation’s Reserve Club, Founders Club and Players Club courses. The captain’s choice event has an entry fee $380 per foursome and includes a cocktail hour and dinner with complimentary beer & wine, along with live/silent auctions and raffles.

Players can register by going to www.thefirstteebrunswickcounty.org or calling 910-575-4563.

To view Blondin’s blog, Green Reading, or Twitter page, @alanblondin, visit myrtlebeachonline.com.

Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284.

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