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S.C. Golf Association Looking for Newbie Golfers

The governing body of amateur golf in the Palmetto state is the South Carolina Golf Association. Founded in 1929 and based in Columbia, their mission is to promote and serve the game of golf. They were raising awareness for their 2018 newbie golfer campaign at the Heritage Lawn along the 18th hole at the RBC Heritage, a professional golf event. The recruitment efforts of newcomers to golf will be chronicled in their Palmetto Golfer magazine, on social media, and on golf courses all around the state.

The S.C. Golf Association (SCGA) is also home to the S.C. Junior Golf Association (SCJGA), putting on golf tournaments and stewarding talented youth aspiring to become professionals. In 2017, PGA tour pro Wesley Bryan became the first South Carolina native to win the RBC Heritage golf tourney, which just celebrated 50 years of history. Since Wesley is also an alumnus of the SCJGA program, he was later recognized with the Order of the Palmetto by Governor Henry McMaster for being a good ambassador for South Carolina golf.
Another SCJGA alumnus is Dustin Johnson, and he became the first South Carolinian to achieve the official golf ranking in 2017 of the number one player in the world. Johnson played at the 2018 RBC Heritage and recently broke ground on the Dustin Johnson Golf Performance Center at the TPC Myrtle Beach course, demonstrating how S.C. pros are giving back to help recreational golfers improve and enjoy their own golf games.

The SCGA lists 270 golf club affiliations in S.C. with 50,000 individual members, but they also see the need to recruit newbie golfers. “Research shows that the vast majority of people who become regular golfers are introduced to the game by a family member or friend,” said SCGA President Ron Swinson. The SCGA wants to hear from golfers who manage to introduce someone new to golf, helping them to clear the hurdles of intimidation and uncertainty about how to visit a golf course and ask simple questions about the equipment required and how to get started.
Golf is a global game, illustrated by the fact that Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira won the 2018 RBC Heritage, needing the help of a translator to make his remarks. The SCJGA is partnering with the East Lothian Junior Golf League based out of Edinburgh, Scotland to present the inaugural Watson Cup in October of 2018. The Kiawah Island Golf Resort will host teams from South Carolina and Scotland at the Ocean Course for the tournament named after American golfer Tom Watson. Then a reciprocal match will be held at Muirfield in Scotland in July of 2020, growing the game on an international scale.

The SCGA also records scores and handicaps for members from golf courses around the state, and ranks the Best 50 Courses in the Palmetto State. Kiawah’s Ocean Course sits at the number one spot and Harbour Town Golf Links is second, but several smaller destination courses round out the list, and would make worthy Lowcountry day trip golf outings. For instance, the Chechessee Creek Club in Okatie ranks #17, the Haig Point Club on Dafuskie Island ranks # 26, and the Callawassie Island Club near Spring Island ranks #49.
Junior golfers in S.C. have received more than $800,000-dollars for scholarships under the leadership of the SCGA, and in partnership with other organizations like the Heritage Classic Foundation and the Monday After The Masters tournament. Ladies golf is represented in the SCJGA efforts too, with the LPGA’s Austin Ernst being a former Beth Daniel Junior Azalea golfer of the year, and now representing the U.S. team in the next Solheim Cup matches against Europe.

For those who wish to contribute to the cause of junior golf a First In Golf vanity automobile license plate is available in South Carolina, with proceeds going to S.C. junior golf. For more information about the SCGA visit the Internet at SCgolf.org or give them a phone call at 803-732-9311. Don’t forget, existing golfers who introduce a new golfer to the game are encouraged to send their names and photos to the SCGA for recognition in 2018. Tee it up in get in the game!

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at LowcountryOutdoors.com

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (360 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com