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The World's Biggest Tournament: One Player's Perspective

editor's note: James Griffin, a regular player in the amateurgolf.com Tournament Series, recently played in the largest tournament in the world, The PGA Superstore World Amateur Handicap Championship. The annual event brings over 4000 players to Myrtle Beach each year, competing over 40 courses. His personal experiences are related below.

By James Griffin, for amateurgolf.com

MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina (August 31, 2006) -- The tournament started under sunny skies with 90 degree weather and humidity levels that I had never experieced.

I was scheduled for four rounds of golf at different courses around Myrtle Beach, playing with a different foursome each day within my flight.

My tee times were either 8:30am or 9:30am each day. Courses were spread out over 35 miles from tournament headquarters. Over 4000 golfers in at least 25 flights all competed for the title of World Am champion. Unfortunately, I did not play to my expectations, posting gross scores of 90, 92, and 90 for my three rounds. With my 11.0 index I placed 71st overall in my flight. The winner in my flight (No. 15, Senior Men 50-59) shot 79, 80 and 79 for his 3 rounds and advanced to the championship flight. After three rounds I was a whopping 30-shots off the leader (ouch).

The generous 19th hole party the tournament provided nightly at the Convention Center -- dubbed "The World's Biggest 19th Hole" -- along with the Myrtle Beach nightlife, restaurants and beaches made the experience all the more worthwhile.

We played the rain-shortened final round ( 8 holes) in a steady downpour due to a level 1 hurricane that passed through. I have never been so drenched in my life. My tournamanet highlight was on my final hole on this final day before they suspended play when I hit my drive and on my follow-through my club flew out on my hands and ended up 100 yards in the woods to the left of the fairway (with my ball in a much better location in the left-center of the fairway 230 yards from the tee). Thank god they suspended play or I might have injured my fellow players due to the slippery, wet conditions. A final head's up for any golfers who play Myrtle Beach -- the bugs, especially fire ants are pretty brutal in South Carolina and did eat me up pretty good. I will survive, but was a little unprepared for those nasty ants and bugs that thrive in the South.

Overall my World Am experience was great and it makes me appreciate the good life I live in Southern California even more after spending an adventurous week in Myrtle Beach.

I would rate the experience a 6+ on a scale of 1- 10.

If any golfers wish to try test their tournament golf skills over four days I would recommend the World Amateur. Now that I have tested my endurance against heat, humidity, bugs and a level 1 hurricane my game is ready for anything!
ABOUT THE World Amateur

"The largest amateur golf tournament in the world" now has a gross division. The event attracts 3500 players annually. Barefoot Resort is just one of over 40 of Myrtle Beach area’s championship courses on which this tournament is contested. The winner of each flight competes on the fifth day for the overall title Senior Division ages 55- 64, Super-Senior ages 65 and up.

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