After 35 years on the Grand Strand, the Carolinas Section of the PGA of America will be moving its headquarters later this year to Greensboro, N.C.
The move could result in fewer CPGA-run tournaments on the Strand, as well as the loss in a couple years of the CPGA Merchandise Show and Annual Meeting, which has been held every February for the past 18 years at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
"I'm not going to say it won't change some things," CPGA executive director Ron Schmid said. "We will have new business relationships up there, so you never know what will come from those relationships. But we won't forget Myrtle Beach was a great home for about 35 years now."
The CPGA is the largest of 41 PGA of America sections with approximately 1,800 club and teaching professional members at more than 700 facilities.
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The organization sold its corporate office on two acres on S.C. 9 in Little River to Loris Community Hospital late in 2006 for the expansion of Sea Coast Medical Center, and has been leasing office space at Grande Dunes ever since. Schmid said that lease ends on Nov. 19, and the organization will move to Greensboro, likely to a temporary site for a few months while its offices are built at Bryan Park.
He said the Strand was included in the search for a new site, but the city-owned Bryan Park has a lot to offer. It is approximately 1,500 acres and includes a lake, soccer complex, a pair of golf courses and a large practice facility, and the courses hosted last year's U.S. Public Links Championship. Schmid said the CPGA has a 40-year contract to lease three acres, with some out clauses built in.
"We weren't dead set on moving out," Schmid said. "We were looking all over here for office space, but at the same time we were looking for someplace we could call a home site that would offer more than just an office.
"... We're at a facility that has a large practice range, and we look at it as a possibility to develop teaching summits and more teaching [programs], and at the same time it's a chance to expand business opportunities in a bigger city with more corporate clientele. I think it's a win-win situation for ourselves and for Bryan Park and the city of Greensboro."
The CPGA Merchandise Show includes an awards dinner, the organization's annual meeting, and seminars for its members, and it covers three days. The 18th annual show last month featured 135 vendors occupying 205 booths, and nearly 1,000 members registered for the annual meeting. Schmid said the contract at the convention center runs through 2013, and the Greensboro Coliseum Complex would also be suitable for the show.
"Obviously Greensboro is hopeful we would bring that event to them and they have a big exhibition center there," Schmid said.
The Carolinas Open in May - one of four annual individual CPGA major championships - has been held at the Surf Golf and Beach Club in North Myrtle Beach for the past several years, but that contract expires this year. "Not to say it won't return," Schmid said, "but that's something we'll be working on."
The Pro-Assistant Championship has been regularly held on the Strand in recent years on courses including The Dunes Golf and Beach Club and Members Club at Grande Dunes, and the new Senior-Junior was held at The Reserve Club in Pawleys Island last week.
The Carolinas PGA Junior Championship has been played on the Strand for several years at courses including Wild Wing Plantation and Quail Creek Golf Club at Coastal Carolina, and is being played at Whispering Pines in late June this year. The CPGA also operates the Charles Tilghman Junior in December, which isn't likely to leave The Surf Club, its only home.
The Strand will always host some CPGA events because the organization annually moves many of its tournaments around. But logistics and corporate sponsors may make the Greensboro area more appealing once the CPGA headquarters relocate.
"The beach is still the beach and people like to come here," Schmid said. "Whether we have our office here or not is not going to change us having a golf event here."
The CPGA has nine full-time employees, and many of them have been with the organization more than a decade. "This is very much a family," Schmid said. "We've certainly encouraged and offered each one of them to come with us and be part of what we're going to do now, but it's not realistic to think every one of them can come."
The CPGA formed in Greensboro in 1923 and was in Durham, N.C., before moving to Little River in '76. The location of the headquarters has little effect on most of the membership. "We did a survey of our membership and asked where our home should be," Schmid said. "The majority of them didn't care where it was. They don't really come to the office much. Us being up there is not really going to have an impact on our membership."
S.C. juniors victorious
South Carolina's top junior golfers once again earned a victory over some of the top juniors from Canada's Ontario province in the Can-Am Junior Team Matches held this weekend at Wachesaw Plantation.
The American team earned a 233.5-198.5 victory Sunday to take a dominant 10-3 overall lead in the matches, though the Canadians won the Joseph T. Simons Can Am Trophy last year.
The Ryder Cup-style competition features eight boys and eight girls on each team, and the S.C. squad is chosen based on the state's Heritage Classic Foundation junior rankings. Stephen Behr of Florence and Katelyn Dambaugh of Goose Creek captained the U.S. team. Girls were added to the competition last year.
The S.C. contingent held a 76-68 lead after the opening four-ball round Saturday, and won 157.5 of 288 possible points in Sunday's 18-hole singles matches, when each hole was worth a point. S.C.'s girls captured seven of their eight singles matches to key the victory.
Wachesaw Plantation has hosted the matches since 2002 and has agreed to host the event through 2013. A group of course members help fund the event and many residents act as host families to competitors.
Chants hire assistant
Coastal Carolina men's golf coach Allen Terrell hired a new assistant just in time to help out with last week's General Hackler Championship.
Todd Selders, who coached the Southern Methodist women's team for 10 years before resigning following the fall golf season, was hired less than a week before the Hackler teed off. Selders is also a former assistant coach at Oklahoma.
"He's a lifetime coach and he's really good so we're lucky to have him," Terrell said. "He's been doing this for about 20 years."
Selders was a two-time coach of the year at SMU - in 2004 in the Western Athletic Conference and 2006 in Conference USA. SMU finished the 2005-06 season with the program's highest Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking of 27th. Selders replaces Tommy Wiegand, who was hired last June.
Wiegand had replaced Chris Wilson, who accepted a coaching job at Air Force. Wiegand played at Kent State but worked for a sports marketing and management firm prior to joining the Chants staff.
"Once he got into it he realized it was something he probably didn't foresee himself doing his whole life and he got a good opportunity with Merrill Lynch in Phoenix," Terrell said of Wiegand. "He did a good job for us recruiting; we signed one of our better classes coming in next year. But long-term that was better for him."
BMW seeking volunteers
South Carolina Charities, Inc. is accepting volunteer applications for the Nationwide Tour's 2011 BMW Charity Pro-Am, which will feature touring pros in groups with celebrities and amateurs. It will be played May 19-22 in the Greenville area at Bright's Creek Golf Club, The Carolina Country Club and Thornblade Club golf courses.
Interested individuals can visit bmwcharitygolf.com and click on the Volunteer Registration tab.
The volunteer registration fee is $40 before April 1 and $50 after. All fees go to charity organizations. The registration fee includes a tournament polo shirt, cap or visor, volunteer credential, guest credential, and food and beverages while volunteering. Registrants are expected to volunteer two days.
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