My World Amateur course assignments cross state lines!
"Big" is the word that best describes the Myrtle Beach World Amateur
. The field is big, the number of courses is big, the experience is big. The tournament bills itself as the largest, most fun and most valuable golf tournament, and I will be taking it all in, not only writing about the event but playing in it.
There are many things that make the Myrtle Beach World Amateur one of the most unique events in amateur golf. One is the number of host courses, 50 in all. Players do not learn about which four courses they will play in their division until a week before the tournament starts, forcing a demanding test of their all-around game. Not knowing the tracks ahead of time is necessary because of the vast number of participants in the event: as of mid-last week, over 3,200 players signed up to be part of 12 different divisions. Each division gets a new set of courses each year.
There’s an opportunity for the net division, playing at TPC Myrtle Beach, for the closest to the pin winner on the 17th for a shot at one million dollars. Following the conclusion of play, the winner will get a chance to hole out from the 18th fairway for the life-changing check.
The party gets started after each round. The 19th hole, held each evening, brings all 3,200 players together. Booths upon booths abound as celebrities and others around the golfing world make appearances. This year, Tuesday night will be Ladies' night, where the tournament will host key women from the game.
Related: 2021: Jean Oberg is first woman to win Myrtle Beach World Amateur
BACK IN THE GAME
The Myrtle Beach World Amateur is my first amateur tournament in 7½ years since I picked up my final putt at my college conference championships in 2015. While my game might not be what it once was, covering the LPGA Tour for the better part of the last three years taught me some mental aspects of the game that I hadn't considered before.
One does not simply walk back into the competitive golf arena, so I've decided to arm myself with some of the best tools to prop up a rusty game. One area I've noticed I struggle with is reading specific breaks on multi-tiered green complexes, and every course in Myrtle Beach will be brand new to my eyes. Strackaline yardage books
, ordered the instant I found out the four courses I’m playing, should give me enough information to keep my mind at ease.
Reading those should also help slow me down on the course. As I’ve played, there’s been a correlation between speeding up once I hit a bad shot. Taking the time to go into a yardage book between shots is a mental reset opportunity for me. I can only imagine how quickly my head could spin once I hit an unexpectedly poor shot. The only expectation is that I'll hit several of those over a 72-hole tournament.
Playing tournament courses "blind" also means I'll really have to rely on my range finder, and I found a good one from Cobalt
. It is really accurate and while I might be unsure of the outcome of my swing, I'll certainly know how far away from the hole I am.
What I'm most excited about is the clubs I'll be using as I play the World Am for the first time. Earlier this year, I made a visit to Cobra's mobile fitting van
in Carlsbad, and my fitting yielded a new driver, three-wood, driving iron, and four new wedges. The new sticks let me put to rest my college three-wood and hybrid I still had in my bag, a vast technological improvement. And, even though I had ordered a new driver shortly before my fitting, Cobra's LTDx LS driver went 20 yards past it. As fitter Brandon Dickinson quipped at the start of our session, "Let's make sure it's a fair fight." It turned out to be a knockout that can only help me at the tournament.
The final thing I picked up to guide my approach is V1 Game, the game-tracking app
which has given me feedback on what I needed to focus on as I returned to golf. Early, it wanted me to work on putting. But, as I've gotten closer to showtime, it's pushing me to work on my driving.
PERSPECTIVE FROM A TOURNAMENT VETERAN
To help me prepare, I’m turning towards tournament-veteran and longtime AmateurGolf.com Player Staff
member Ed Donlin
for his perspective. Donlin plays 12 to 14 tournaments a year, and will be in the scratch Super Senior division at Myrtle Beach. He’s living his best retirement life: Donlin plays at 8:00 a.m. five days a week with the same group, not bothering with practicing to tinker with a swing that’s already working.
His experience taught him a simple approach to what he needs at each event. He brings a full-size tour bag to each one he plays in.
“It has all my rain gear in it,” Donlin said, “rain gloves, extra towels, and a dozen extra balls. If I have to take a cart in the tournament, that bag is always in the cart with me.”
He’s taking no special steps to prepare for the World Am. Instead, he too orders Strackaline yardage books
and uses them to plan from the green back to the tee. His goal? Set up an approach shot inside 150 yards.
Further, he hopes to post no worse than a bogey on any given hole.
"Every double bogey you make," Donlin explained, "you have to make two birdies just to get back to where you were. So that's kind of the way I play, if you make a mistake, don't complicate it by making another mistake."
50 COURSES, 3,200 PLAYERS
Over 3,200 players will tee it up across 50 courses, with gross, net and "just for fun" divisions.
First place & ties of each net flight will get a chance to play on Friday’s Championship round at TPC Myrtle Beach for the chance to be crowned a World Amateur Handicap Champion.
The winner of each gross division will also be invited to enjoy Friday’s Championship round, and will be awarded an exemption into the Casa De Campo Open. If any gross division remains tied for first place after four rounds, these players will be invited to compete in an 18-hole playoff during Friday’s Championship round.
Pawley's Plantation, Sea Trails, Long Bay, Arcadian Shores
I will be playing in the men's gross division, and I will play at Long Bay, the Sea Trails Jones Course, Arcadian Shores, and Pawleys Plantation. Plenty of water hazards line these Carolina courses, and I’ll get some interstate travel along the way: Pawleys Plantation, Arcadian Shores, and Long Bay are all in South Carolina, while the Sea Trails Jones Course is in North Carolina.
The first tee balls will fly on Monday, August 29th. The party will start soon after.
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Editor's note: Some of the items that Kent put in his bag for the World Amateur -- Cobalt, Strackaline, V1 and more -- are available at big discounts as a part of our Member Benefits package. Do not miss out on these offers -- your AmateurGolf.com membership can easily be paid for just with these discounts!View results for Myrtle Beach World Amateur