Golf

This Myrtle Beach area layout is a finalist for national golf course of the year

Meadowlands Golf Club was named the 2018 golf course of the year by the Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association.
Meadowlands Golf Club was named the 2018 golf course of the year by the Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association. file photo

A golf course in the Myrtle Beach market was named a finalist for the National Golf Course Owners Association’s 2019 Course of the Year award.

The family-owned-and-operated Meadowlands Golf Club in Calabash, N.C., was the 2018 Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association Golf Course of the Year and progressed to be one of four courses vying for the national honor.

Meadowlands was the South Region course of the year and competed for the national honor with GreatHorse of Hampden, Massachusetts, representing the Northeast Region; Applewood Golf Course in Golden, Colorado, representing the West Region; and The Heather at Boyne Highlands in Harbor Sprints, Michigan, of the Midwest Region, which earned the national honor.

The award was presented during the NGCOA’s Golf Business Conference last week in San Diego, and Meadowlands partner, vice president and chief of operations Sheila McLamb attended the conference and awards ceremony.

Each finalist was featured in a video that showcased their accomplishments and was played during the awards dinner.

Meadowlands was in the running to become the third national course of the year from the Grand Strand in the past 15 years. International World Tour Golf Links and the Resort Club at Grande Dunes earned the national honor in 2004 and 2009, respectively.

Meadowlands Golf Club is a 6,880-yard par-72 layout designed by Willard Byrd that opened in 1997 on the North Carolina-South Carolina border. W.J. McLamb, 88, is the founder and developer and several McLamb family members are shareholders.

The Meadowlands property has been in the McLamb family for numerous generations and some family members still live on the land.

Consideration for course owner association awards is based on four criteria: quality of the course, quality of ownership and management, contributions to the community, and contributions to the game.

Meadowlands had a strong case with its contributions to the community and game.

The McLamb family has used Meadowlands as a vehicle for philanthropic work by hosting several charity and veterans events, and has been a strong supporter of Brunswick Community College. Three family members and course owners have served on the college foundation’s board and the family established the W.J. McLamb Family Endowed Scholarship Fund.

Meadowlands supports many area Grow the Game initiatives and the family has provided approximately eight acres of land to The First Tee Coastal Carolinas for its Cinghiale Creek headquarters and teaching facility in Shallotte, N.C., allowing the organization to use the property through a free annual lease.

The First Tee has constructed a nine-hole Tom Watson-designed par 3 golf course on the property. Meadowlands has also supported The First Tee by participating in its discounted rounds card program.

Meadowlands solicited donations for the Junior Golf Exchange program that provided free clubs to youth, hosted a 2016 U.S. Kids Golf Tour event, has donated unclaimed clubs to The First Tee and the U.S. Army at Ft. Bragg, N.C., and under the Kids Play Free Program, junior golfers 16 and under play free with a paying adult at the course.

Meadowlands allows the Canine Angels nonprofit that trains rescue dogs into service dogs to use the course for training, and seven veterans are among the course’s employees.

W.J. McLamb was also one of the original organizers of the Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce and several owners have served on the chamber board.

The McLambs also own Farmstead Golf Links on a neighboring property.

Elite amateurs coming

Lockwood Folly Country Club in Holden Beach, N.C., will host one of the top women’s amateur tournaments in the country when it welcomes the Women’s Southern Golf Association Amateur and Mid-Amateur Championships from June 3-7.

The tournaments annually attracts many of the top female amateurs throughout the South. Past amateur winners include LPGA stars Lexi Thompson and Stacy Lewis, and recent winners include collegiate standouts Mika Liu (Stanford), Alex Wright (Ohio State) and Sierra Brooks (Florida).

Players from 15 southern states and the District of Columbia are eligible to compete.

The tournament has a rich history. Its first champion was crowned in 1911 and two-time Southern Amateur winner Louise Suggs (1941 and 1947) was one of the LPGA’s founders.

The Mid-Amateur was created in 2015 for women 25 and older. Winners include past U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Laura Coble of Augusta, Ga., and the past two Mid-Amateur champions Susan West of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Tanna Richard of Fort Smith, Ark., are expected to be in the field.

The tournaments feature a stroke-play qualifying round on June 3 followed by four days of match play. Spectator admission is free.

The WSGA annually awards a $3,500 scholarship to assist young women in its area and it is given for four years if grades are maintained.

Junior tour on way

The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour is making a stop on the Grand Strand.

The Orlando, Fla.-based tour will hold the Coastal Carolina Junior Open from March 2-3 at Blackmoor Golf Club in Murrells Inlet.

The cost is $219 for tour members and $294 for non-members. Boys and girls ages 8-19 are eligible to play in one of six divisions.

The tour will have events in 27 states in 2019, culminating in the tour championship in December at Reunion Resort in Florida.

Optimist qualifier returns

The Barefoot Resort Norman Course will host the Optimist Golf Greg Norman Champions Academy Open on March 2-3, which serves as a qualifier for the 2019 Optimist International Junior Golf Championship.

The championship is between July 16-31 at Trump National Doral Resort in Miami. If players meet the qualifying scoring criteria, the top two in the Boys 16-18, Boys 14-15, Boys 11-13 and Girls 14-18 divisions, and top three in the Girls 11-13 division at Barefoot will qualify for the Optimist finals.

The registration deadline is Feb. 27 and the entry fee is $205 and includes two tournament rounds, range balls and a gift package. Interested players can contact Sharton Parton at golf@optimist.org, call 314-881-1307 or visit www.optimist.org/golf.

Alan Blondin covers golf, Coastal Carolina athletics and numerous other sports-related topics that warrant coverage. Well-versed in all things Myrtle Beach, Horry County and the Grand Strand, the Northeastern University journalism school valedictorian has been a sports reporter at The Sun News since 1993, earning eight top-10 Associated Press Sports Editors national writing awards and 18 top-three S.C. Press Association writing awards since 2007.


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