Myrtle Beach hosts another year of competition, food, fun and excitement
First in a series of daily first-person stories from the 33rd Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship – the world’s largest golf tournament.
By TONY LEODORA
For years, coaches in every sport have preached about the same formula for success – it’s all in the preparation.
And, for years, in varying degrees, I have ignored this advice. Even when approaching the largest competition of the year – the World Amateur Handicap Championship in Myrtle Beach.
Sometimes, it was unavoidable. Like last year, when a back injury and resulting spasms limited all play and practice for a number of weeks before the event. Other times, work gets in the way. And there are occasional years when weather makes proper preparation impossible.
But this year there is no excuse. Despite playing the least amount of golf I have played in 30 years – for a number of reasons – I came into the 33rd World Am relatively healthy.
And I even arrived in Myrtle Beach a few days early – with enough down time in my schedule to play and practice.
Practice? … The thought would make former NBA star Allen Iverson shriek. But it is a good idea in the run up to four grinding days of stroke play competition.
So, there was an extended practice session on the driving range at Barefoot Resort, soon after arriving in Myrtle Beach on Friday.
After a meeting with Blackmoor general manager Bob Zuercher and head professional Jeff Diehl about a possible future Traveling Golfer television show, there was a practice round on their course. It was in great condition and provided the perfect re-introduction to the devilish bermuda grass greens of Myrtle Beach.
That called for more putting practice at Barefoot Resort.
After registration on Sunday, it was back to the short game facility at Grande Dunes and the large putting green. Grande Dunes possesses one of the best practice facilities in the region and director of golf Matt Daley is quite generous in making it available.
During practice on the slick putting green I encountered a young Grande Dunes employee – Derek Dumboski. He is a student of the Golf Academy of America.
He seemed quite interested in my golf bag – a red, white and blue model courtesy of GolfTalk Live sponsor Yuengling Brewery. The interest was more than the obvious attraction of a young man to a popular beer. Domboski is a native of Pottsville, Pa. – home of Yuengling.
With that introduction, we hit on a common chord. And that chord paid immediate dividends. He provided a helpful tip in reading the Bermuda greens – a tip that hopefully will pay dividends this week.
Let the competition begin.