The Amateur Long Drive World Championship will be returning to the Grand Strand for a second time in 2018, and it is changing venues.
The second event will be held next August at Barefoot Golf Resort’s expansive driving range, which is lighted and will allow for the event finals to be held at night.
“There’s just something about long drive under the lights,” said event co-creator Jeff Gilder.
The inaugural event was held on Aug. 25-26 at Legends Golf Resort, and the agreement to move it to Barefoot is expected to be finalized on Tuesday.
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The second annual event is scheduled for the third full week of August – likely Aug. 23-25 or 24-25 – leading into the week of the Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship, and it will likely end on the weekend.
Depending on the number of competitors, it could remain a two-day event or expand to three days.
There will be Open, Veteran and Para divisions, with flights within those for men, women, senior men, senior women, super senior men, super senior women and junior. The Veteran division is being developed through a partnership with the Veteran Golfers Association, which holds tournaments for veterans.
“We’re excited to host it. I think having the lights and doing this at night will be great,” Barefoot Resort general manager Dave Genevro said. “With the different divisions, I think it’s a great opportunity to showcase the veterans … the awareness it will bring to the community and what these guys have done for us and what they can do.”
Last year’s event featured more than 100 competitors, and co-creator Jason Dores believes that number could double or triple, spurred by publicity from the inaugural event and planned qualifiers during some Golfweek Amateur Tour events at chapters around the country.
Dores is a director of the Myrtle Beach-Wilmington chapter of the Golfweek Amateur Tour and Golfweek Senior Amateur Tour.
Gilder is a founder of the iNetGolf web development and digital marketing company, The Golf Director vacation company, and Myrtle Beach Golf Channel, which features Grand Strand-related online golf programming and content.
This year’s long drive event was paired with The ParaLong Drive Cup, which Dean Jarvis of Maryville, Tenn., created in 2013 and continues to operate.
Gilder said it’s unclear if Jarvis will include his event in 2018, though he said organizers would welcome his participation.
“We’re still wide open to having Dean and his ParaLong Drive Cup. If it works for him we definitely want to have him,” Gilder said. “I think having a para division is important, I want to continue that. And I’m really excited about partnering with the VGA.
“… The thing I like about it is some of those guys can’t play 18 holes and be competitive, but they can do this and be competitive.”
Having the finals and possibly some of the late final qualifying after dark will improve conditions for spectators in the summer heat.
Putter’s Pub near the teeing area will be able to provide food and drinks for competitors and spectators, and the adjacent building that formerly housed the Callaway Performance Center can be used for registration and interviews.
“It’s a great setup for the event,” Dores said. “I think the event can really grow. There are condos at Barefoot Resort for housing and there’s all the entertainment at Barefoot Landing.”
This year’s finals received an hour of local television coverage on WWMB-CW 21, and Dores again expects local television coverage, and possibly the addition of regional or national TV coverage in addition to live streaming on the Internet.
Gilder said he’s working on new sponsorships and expects to have entry fees between $50 and $75. More information can be found at Amateurlongdrive.com.