The 18th annual Veterans Golf Classic attracted 332 players from 29 states, as well as organized patriotic support from residents in the Long Bay Club community.
The tournament was played on nine Myrtle Beach area golf courses from Monday through Wednesday.
On Wednesday, Long Bay community members gathered at homes near the 16th green to greet participating veterans with a photograph of each group, home-baked muffins and cookies, hotdogs, other food and a myriad of drink options.
Community members also donated enough money to also provide embroidered hats and golf towels to the participants.
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As part of the Long Bay 16th Hole Salute to Veterans, homeowners were encouraged to decorate their homes and yards with flags and patriotic colors.
“We’ve had tremendous support from the community,” said Sandy Young, an organizer of the support. “. . . The more people we have to thank them for their service and sacrifice the better.”
The organized greeting was done for a few years on the 14th hole and included an American flag painted into the fairway. Long Bay did not host tournament rounds for three years but the event was back and the support moved to the 16th hole.
“They’ve really appreciated it and we’ve heard many things back from people,” said Dave Roessler, who served in Vietnam with the U.S. Navy and lives behind the 16th green. “They spread the word and it’s a really a nice thing to do . It’s something we look forward to and we’ve missed it the last three years.”
The 54-hole, two-person team Veterans Golf Classic was open to all current and former members of the military and their friends. States with the most players represented were South Carolina with 88, North Carolina (61), Florida (36), Virginia (19), Georgia (15), Ohio (14) and Alabama (12).
The oldest registered participant was 88-year-old Vann Halbrooks, an Army veteran from Fairfax, Va.
The event featured a different format of play each day – better ball, combined net team score and scramble – and each team had to include at least one current or former member of the armed forces. Players were placed into one of four flights – Eisenhower, MacArthur, Nimitz and Franks – based on their handicap.
The host courses were Shaftesbury Glen Golf & Fish Club, Barefoot Resort Norman Course, Wild Wing Avocet, Prestwick Country Club, International Club of Myrtle Beach, The Witch Golf Links, Thistle Golf Club, Sandpiper Bay Golf Club and Long Bay Club. All nine have earned at least four stars in Golf Digest’s Best Places to Play Guide.
The event, operated by Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, included a Sunday welcome reception, tournament gift bag and Wednesday night awards banquet and dinner at Crown Reef Resort, during which the colors of each service branch – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard – were presented.
Tournaments within the tournament include the Branch Challenge that pits the five branches against each other, and the Carolina Cup, which matches members of the VFW against the American Legion. Visit veteransclassicgolf.com for more information.