On Grand Strand Golf: Calabash Cup the latest Golf Holiday tournament creation

The par-3 17th hole at the Rees Jones Course at Sea Trail in Sunset Beach, N.C.
The par-3 17th hole at the Rees Jones Course at Sea Trail in Sunset Beach, N.C.

The fourth tournament created in less than a year by Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday is already about half full with close to 100 players.

The inaugural Calabash Cup will be played July 24-26 on six of the best courses on the north end of the Grand Strand: Carolina National Golf Club, Crow Creek Golf Club, Rivers Edge Golf Club, Tiger’s Eye Golf Links, The Thistle and the Sea Trail Resort Jones Course.

The 54-hole, two-man team event will be flighted based on USGA handicaps and feature formats of best ball, combined net team score and Texas scramble.

The entry fee is $239 through Wednesday and includes three rounds of golf; a Friday night welcome party at Thistle that includes dinner, beer, wine and soft drinks; a Sunday afternoon awards luncheon at Sea Trail that includes lunch and soft drinks; and a welcome gift. The price will increase $20 after the June 3.

Like the previous three tournaments – the Myrtle Beach Fall Classic in November, Myrtle Beach Preseason Classic in early February and Myrtle Beach March Championship in early March – the Calabash Cup is expected to sell out with a field of 200 players. Each of the first three events attracted players from at least 25 states, according to Golf Holiday.

Prizes will be awarded in flights for daily and cumulative achievements and through random drawings. Visit or call 800-833-8798 for more information.

Royer comes close

Hugh Royer III of Myrtle Beach, a golf instructor working predominantly out of Possum Trot Golf Club and a former PGA Tour member, came a shot from qualifying for the 2015 U.S. Senior Open and is the second alternate from a qualifier Monday at Berkeley Hall Club in Bluffton.

Royer was one of four players to tie for third at even-par 72 and finished second in a four-way playoff to determine two alternate spots.

Marion Dantzler of Orangeburg won the qualifier with a 70 and Charles Raulerson of Fleming Island, Fla., shot a 71 to each qualify for the 35th U.S. Senior Open from June 25-28 at Del Paso Country Club in Sacramento, California. Robert Meheran is the first alternate and has a chance to get into the field, while Royer is a long shot.

Meheran rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt on the fourth playoff hole, a par-4, after Royer missed a 20-footer for birdie. In regulation, Royer double bogeyed the par-3 third hole when a downhill par putt lipped out of the cup and rolled 8 feet past the hole, and he made a couple birdies thereafter to get back to even par.

“I played solid all day,” Royer said. “I’m upset but I’m proud of the way I played. I haven’t played in anything since the qualifier last year. I’ve been trying to get ready for this and a couple breaks and I would have gotten in.”

The qualifier, conducted by the South Carolina Golf Association on behalf of the USGA, featured 47 players.

Uh Oh Canada

The five players with ties to the Strand who have status on PGA Tour Canada this year got off to a tough start to the season this past week. None of the five made the cut in the season-opening PC Financial Open in British Columbia.

Zack Byrd of Murrells Inlet, Ricky McDonald of Pawleys Island, Thaddeus Wier III of Myrtle Beach, Tyler Light of Little River and Coastal Carolina alumnus Charlie Winegardner all failed to qualify to play on the weekend.

The second of 12 events with purses of $175,000-$200,000 is this weekend – the Bayview Place Island Savings Open at Uplands Golf Club in Victoria, British Columbia.

McDonald is exempt for the season, Winegardner has conditional status, and Byrd, Wier and Light are exempt up to a status reshuffle after the sixth event.

Worldwide publicity

Four international golf journalists will be on the Grand Strand this weekend to get a sampling of the area’s offerings for travel stories they are writing for publications in several countries.

The group is being taken on a tour of the area by author and former Augusta Chronicle sports editor Ward Clayton, the director of communications for Landmark Media based in Florida, which works with Golf Holiday to schedule the journalists’ itinerary.

This is the fourth trip organized by Landmark Media over the past 14 months. The group will stay at Inlet Sports Lodge in Murrells Inlet and play The Dunes Golf and Beach Club on Saturday, True Blue Golf Club and Caledonia Golf & Fish Club on Sunday, and Heritage Club on Monday before departing Tuesday.

Clayton anticipates taking in the Marsh Walk and enjoying its establishments, as well as Collector’s Café and Sea Captain’s House.

The journalists on this trip are Michael Brostrom writing for Golf Bladet in Sweden, Chris Folley writing for the London Evening Standard, Karl Hansell writing for National Club Golfer of the United Kingdom, and Andrew Marshall writing for both Destination Golf in Ireland and Golf Australia.

“Basically we try to show them the variety of golf Myrtle Beach has as a top level destination,” Clayton said. “The ones that haven’t been there before are astounded at the variety and quality of the golf of offerings.”

Groups of international writers have also visited the Strand in April and June last year and this past April, and have stayed at either the Grande Dunes Marina Inn or Inlet Sports Lodge while playing a selection of the area’s upscale courses.

Miracle League adds golf

The First Tee of the Grand Strand is helping the Grand Strand Miracle League add golf to the sports and activities it offers to individuals with special needs beginning this month.

There is a meeting at 9:30 a.m. Saturday for prospective participants and volunteers at the Miracle League field at Pepper Geddings Recreation Center at 690 33rd Ave North, off Oak Street in Myrtle Beach.

SNAG (Starting New at Golf) equipment will be set up on the field to provide an orientation to the program, which already has 20 participants registered and some volunteer groups. The Miracle League’s existing sports are baseball and soccer.

“I think it’s where we need to be as an organization,” said First Tee of the Grand Strand executive director Rich Abraham. “We’re being more inclusive than just golf for kids.”

The first of three blocks of golf sessions over three months will take place on June 15, 17 and 20, and the inspirational Dennis Walters Show is free and open to the public at 10 a.m. June 16 at Whispering Pines Golf Club. Walters, who was paralyzed from the waist down in an accident in 1974, performs trick shots from a specialized cart with assistance from his dog, Bucky.

Miracle League golf sessions will also be held in late July and early August, and a program finale is Aug. 8.

Participants can register online at or email Abraham at or contact Isabel Shen of Miracle League at 843-448-7712 or

Optimist juniors advance

Seven junior golfers played well enough this weekend at River Hills Golf and Country Club to earn an opportunity to participate later this summer in the Optimist International Junior Golf Championship at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

They were among 28 players in six gender and age divisions in the 2015 South Carolina Optimist District Junior Tournament.

Each player had to win or finish near the top of their age division and shoot required target scores in order to qualify for the international event, being held from mid-July through late July, with different age groups playing on different dates.

The qualifiers were: Daniel Graves of Longs in the Boys 16-18 division with a score of 74-77–154; Matthew Griego of Loris (Boys 14-15) with an 84-72–152, Myrtle Beach residents Keegan Vaugh and Kevin Dittmar (Boys 12-13) with respective scores of 78-74–152 and 79-76–155, Kareem Elkassem of Charlotte, N.C. (Boys 10-11) with an 84-76–160, and Kayla Kozak of Bluffton and Anna Eddy of Hilton Head Island (Girls 15-18) with respective scores of 78-77–155 and 79-77–156.

The S.C. Optimists will pay full or partial entry fees and travel expenses for the seven qualifiers. Tournament co-chair John Grover said another $1,000 needs to be raised in the next 10 days to cover all participant expenses. He can be reached at 843-251-9602 or

Hootie Jr. Tour

The Horry County chapter of the South Carolina Junior Golf Association is holding registration for its Hootie & the Blowfish summer chapter tours.

Players must pay the $160 SCJGA membership fee and complete an application to be eligible to compete in the seven-event tour series featuring different divisions from ages 7-18. Tournament entry fees are $10 each.

Players may register at Shaftesbury Glen Golf & Fish Club is the host site for the 2015 tour and all matches are on Monday. Accompanying golf instruction will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday at Shaftesbury Glen. Contact Horry County SCJGA director Ashley Smith at 843-421-2955 for more information.

Parent-Child sign-up

The Horry Chapter of the SCJGA is staging the fourth annual Parent/Child Golf Tournament at Shaftesbury Glen at 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 13.

The nine-hole tournament is open to boys and girls ages 7-18 and one of their parents or grandparents and has a captain’s choice format. Participants will be divided into the age groups 7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-over, and some will be combined if a group has less than six teams. The event includes a post-round cookout. The registration fee is $50 and the registration deadline is June 10.

For more information, call Smith or Shaftesbury Glen at 843-369-1800.

Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284 or on Twitter @alanblondin, or read his blog Green Reading at