There have been three constants in Charles Causey’s life over the past three decades: his wife of 37 years, Cindy, golf, and Long Bay Club.
He was at the Longs course the day it opened in 1988 and he’s still there today.
Causey, 74, oversees about 10 employees as the director of outside operations and has done just about every job possible at the club as a part-time employee.
He helped prepare the course for opening, began as a starter/ranger and bag drop worker, and has filled in for positions in the pro shop and on the maintenance crew.
“I love this place to death,” Causey said. “I’ll do anything for it. This is a second home.”
Causey’s dedication has been recognized with the Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association 2018 Employee of the Year award.
Meadowlands Golf Club on the N.C./S.C. border in Calabash, N.C., has been named the course of the year. The awards were presented Thursday morning at the MBAGCOA July membership meeting.
Causey currently works three to five days per week, and his daily ritual is rising at 4 a.m. and arriving at Long Bay at 5:30 a.m. after a cup of coffee with his wife.
“I have never been late nor have I ever missed a day’s work that I was scheduled to work,” Causey said. “I was raised that if you took a job you were always on time and you worked when you were supposed to, did whatever people asked you to do. That’s all I’ve ever done.”
While the club has been shut down over the past month as greens are being repaired from winterkill damage, Causey and a few other employees have spruced up the clubhouse with new lights, paint and fixtures, repainted outdoor restrooms and the bag drop, built a bag drop roof, and the helped landscape the course.
“Charles’s love for the Long Bay Club radiates through him and is felt by all our guests. He is an employee that all managers dream of,” said Joe Dipre, a regional manager for Founders Group International, which owns and operates Long Bay. “From the moment he walks on property to the minute he walks off, the course is a better place.”
Causey is from the Wampee area and attended Wampee-Little River High, earning letters for six years in football, baseball and basketball. He has been informed he’ll be inducted this year into the North Myrtle Beach High Athletic Hall of Fame.
He volunteered for the Army and spent three years in Vietnam before returning to the Grand Strand and working maintenance for $1.25 per hour during the construction of Beachwood Golf Club, which opened in 1968.
He spent four years as the City of North Myrtle Beach Recreation Director, then got a general contractor’s license in the mid-1970s, started Causey Renovations and built houses for several years. He spent 12 consecutive years building beach homes in Cherry Grove.
When the housing boom slowed around 2008 he transitioned to handyman services, and he remained in the building/handyman business until about four years ago. “When I was 70 I decided it was time to slow down a little bit, I was beating myself up,” Causey said.
He credits that work for contributing to his golfing ability, as he believes the hand-eye coordination required to repeatedly hammer nails has translated to his game.
“Your eyes will tell you, and if you can take your hands and do it, that’s basically what it is,” Causey said. “I don’t have a good golf swing. I’m really good from 5 o’clock to 7 o’clock [in the swing]. That’s where it really counts.”
Golf has been his recreation of choice since his 20s.
“That was my outlet,” Causey said, “and to tell you the honest truth I didn’t need golf lessons because I had such good eye and hand coordination. I could really hit the ball. I didn’t have any problem with golf.”
Causey said his first ever round was an 87 with two birdies and he broke 70 within a year. At the age of 66, Causey shot Long Bay’s non-tournament course record of 64 from the 7,024-yard back tees. He has shot 30 in nine holes at Long Bay several times without completing the round, and shot a 62 at the now-closed Black Bear Golf Club.
“I plan on working here until I die,” Causey said. “I hope I can work another 30 years here. I’ve enjoyed it that much.”