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Experiencing the Myrtle Beach World Amateur First Hand
17 Feb 2016
by Pete Wlodkowski of AmateurGolf.com

see also: Myrtle Beach World Amateur Golf Tournament, Barefoot Resort - Dye Course

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It’s one part competition, one part nightly entertainment, and one big part camaraderie.

I'm referring to The Myrtle Beach World Amateur, and this year I got to experience it for the first time.

The logistical challenge of holding a tournament with around 3500 players, all descending on Myrtle Beach at the same time, is truly amazing.  Think your flighted member-guest is a big production? This one has more than 70.

The course per square mile density in Myrtle Beach allows players to never have to travel more than 30-40 miles to play, but it’s still not atypical to play one round across the state line, in North Carolina.Playing different rounds of the same tournament in two different states was a lifetime first for me. I loved it!

AGC has had a partnership with the World Am – which is by far the largest field for a simultaneously held tournament in the world – for many years. Who better to point avid tournament golfers towards Myrtle Beach to compete at every level than the leading tournament website? Our program includes a booth at “The world’s largest 19th hole” held every night at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. But I had never played myself, sending our web editor to cover the action while competing. And we had never actually done a booth at the 19th hole, where most of the 3500 tournament players hang out every night. 

In 2014, I was invited to represent the World Am in a friendly competition against a team of players from China (they license the World Am concept there) called the Sino-USA Matches. The camaraderie with my teammates and the fervor of the Chinese players to qualify to play in the U.S. version really helped me internalize the bigger picture of the tournament. Taking your game to the next level matters, whether you’re a scratch golfer or 36 handicap. The World Am adding a scratch division in 2014 was the final straw. I wasn't going to miss 2015.

The scratch players competed at four really good courses, all stretching out to 7000 yards, and all with at least a few scary holes. I played very well the first two rounds with 76-74 and while I struggled to an 81 on the last day, that course was the toughest and I really could have benefitted from a practice round. The joke among my friends is that I finished 13th in the World. While that might not mean too much in just the second year of scratch division play, I see the tournament growing in this area very soon. The top 10 players, who get invited to play in the championship round, were really solid.

Presenting at the 19th hole gave me a good feel for the players, many of whom bring their spouses – a good portion of those spouses entering the tournament themselves. As live acts like Taylor Hicks (American Idol) and John Daly entertained the crowd in a large auditorium, golfers could “walk the floor” of the 19th hole, where all varieties of golf companies exhibited, complimentary food was offered, and large electronic leaderboards showed the flight-by- flight scores. Katrek and Maginnes “On Tap” broadcast their PGA Tour Radio show live from the show floor, and I even got a chance to be interviewed, which left my phone flooded with texts afterwards.

What a week, join me next year!

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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