I have to admit that when I signed up for the Myrtle Beach World Amateur, I hadn’t done much research on the tournament or Myrtle Beach in general. Growing up as a golfer in Southern California, golf in Myrtle Beach was not on my radar. The most exposure I’ve had to the golf scene in Myrtle was ‘Big Break Myrtle Beach’ on Golf Channel a few years back. With five full days of tournament golf in Myrtle on the books, I was about to learn why they say the Myrtle Beach World Amateur is unlike any other tournament experience.
The World Amateur in Myrtle Beach is literally the world’s largest golf tournament. Every year, 3,500-plus golfers varying from scratch to 36 handicappers invade the Myrtle Beach area and compete for a chance to be crowned the World Amateur champion. The format is a 72-hole individual net competition conducted on 60 of Myrtle Beach’s best golf courses, with a bonus 18-hole championship playoff making this one of the few 90-hole amateur events on the calendar. The gross division is conducted simultaneously with the top 3 from the 72-hole competition playing another 18 holes for a cumulative 90-hole score.
For me, competing in the gross division was my first time playing in a 72-hole event, let alone a 90-hole event (more about that later). Leading up to the World Amateur, my game was feeling really good. A change to the armlock putting method earlier in the summer really sparked my confidence on the greens. I felt like if I could stick to my game and adjust to the Bermuda greens, I could find a way to keep myself in contention with my putter. My goal for the week was to finish in the top 3 and get to the final round at the Dye Club.
With the World Amateur being so focused on the net competition, I was not sure what the level of gross competition would be. AmateurGolf.com has been a long-time advertiser with the World Amateur, so I was confident that top players knew about this event. Even with the name recognition and advertising that the World Amateur does, getting top-level amateur players to commit to a week in Myrtle Beach is a challenge. It came as little surprise that the gross division in the 2019 World Amateur was stacked with top players from across the country, including multiple USGA qualifiers. Getting myself into the top 3 was going to be a challenge, but a major twist in the format of the Myrtle Beach World Amateur helps level the playing field for first-timers. The course rotation for the competition is never the same. I played with a guy who had been to the tournament eight years running, and he had only ever played one of the courses in the 2019 rotation before. There are 100 courses in the Myrtle Beach area, and the organizers of this event have found a way to use all of them.
Yes, golf is an important part of the Myrtle Beach World Amateur, but you can’t talk about this tournament if you don’t mention the World’s Largest 19th Hole: Unlimited food and drink, live music, featured guests and hundreds of vendors offering everything from training aids to deep tissue massages. Did I also mention that this happens every night of the tournament?
So.. after four tournament rounds, I finished with a 4-under 284 total, which put me in a tie for first place. This guaranteed me a spot in the gross championship playoff at the Dye Club. Alas, 90 holes of golf.. here I come.
I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t a bit disappointed in my playoff performance, but 90 holes is a lot of golf. I finished in solo second place. Big congratulations to Chris Reina for his outstanding play to take the gross flight championship.
A special thank you to Scott Tomasello and his entire crew for their hospitality this week. Thank you to all the local volunteers who helped with the tournament.
Remember, save the date for the 2020 Myrtle Beach World Amateur, to be played Aug. 31 - Sept. 4. See you in Myrtle Beach!
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ABOUT THE Myrtle Beach World Amateur
"The largest amateur golf tournament in
world" now has a gross division. The event
players annually. Barefoot Resort is just
over 40 of Myrtle Beach area’s
courses on which this tournament is
The winner of each flight competes on the
day for the overall title Senior Division
ages 55-64, Super-Senior ages 65 and up.
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