Bob Gillespie



Almost World Am time: Largest handicap event returns to Myrtle Beach for 30th year

Posted 8/2/2013 8:01:00 PM

It’s still more than a month away, but Myrtle Beach’s annual golfing get-together – the World Amateur Handicap Championship – is already filling up with veteran players and first-timers anxious to see what the fuss is all about.

The World Am, which returns to the Grand Strand for the 30th year, plays host to more than 3,000 amateurs of all skill levels. Sounds like plenty of spaces? Consider: According to the tournament website, already 2,874 players had signed up as of early July.

The website also features a clock counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the event, set for Aug. 26-30 at some 60 area golf courses. That’s quite a bit of growth since 1984, when the tournament debuted with 684 players; now, nearly five times that number come from all 50 states and more than 20 foreign nations.

Besides the 72-hole, stroke-play tournament, the World Am regularly features a lineup of celebrities, with such names as David Feherty (CBS and Golf Channel), baseball stars Roger Clemens and Tony Womack, NASCAR great Jeff Gordon and LPGA legend Annika Sorenstam having attended in past years. Prizes, meals, gifts and parties are part of the week’s lineup.

The World Am is open to anyone 17 and older with a certified USGA handicap (or foreign equivalent), and features five competitive divisions ranging from men 49-and-under to super seniors (70-plus), as well as a women’s division. Between 60 and 70 flights within the divisions will group players by handicap, with prizes to the top five in each flight and flight winners advancing to the Flight Winners Playoff, an 18-hole shootout to determine the World Amateur champion.

The tournament also was awarded the prestigious Governor’s Cup, the state’s highest tourism honor, by Gov. Nikki Haley. A full list of prizes, gifts parties and the rest, plus complete details, visuals of participating golf courses and more can be seen here.