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Growing the game of golf

Dataw Island was the host site for the 2018 South Carolina State Amateur this past weekend. 
William Harwood from Columbia, a rising junior at Elon College, torched the “Cotton Dyke” course shooting 16-under-par for four rounds, so his name will be engraved on a special piece of hardware.  
This trophy contains numerous current and past PGA Tour players including Bill Haas, Lucas Glover and Dillard Pruitt. 
Caleb Proveaux from Lexington played beautifully, scoring 7-under-par  for the event earning fourth place. Other locals experiencing success were Michael Sims from Lexington and Micah Westermeyer and Shaw James, both from Chapin. 
Dataw Island is another amazing South Carolina coastal resort located just outside Beaufort. Head east toward the Atlantic Ocean and Fripp Island and you will find this amazing place on the left.
It features two 18-hole championship well-manicured courses with an outstanding practice facility complimented with swim, tennis and social club. 
Our state has numerous spectacular golf venues to the extent we have far too many. During the late 1980s to late 1990s, enthusiastic developers and golf visionaries got too excited about South Carolina’s gorgeous golf settings, resulting in an abundance of awesome venues. The supply far exceeded the demand and, since the recession, many courses and golf facilities have closed. 
Golf has stagnated or been shrinking for almost 20 years now across the country. There are pockets of growth and interest in watching the game, but actual participation is suffering. 
In the midlands, the closing of several courses including Coopers Creek, Rawls Creek, Crickentree, along with numerous driving ranges and retail golf shops,  is visible evidence that golf is struggling. 
Even within struggling markets, there are a few golf operations that are vibrant with growth, even flourishing and at least one reason is indoor training. 
My sports editor, Thomas Grant Jr., had a great idea on featuring indoor training and I love this for one great reason - it grows golf.  That’s right, and here is the short answer.
Skill can be developed at a much faster rate and skill improvement inspires increased participation. The better you play, the more you want to play. Or, as my son Wesley said to me recently, “I have more fun when I play well.” 
The fun in the game is why we play and now, not only can golf skill be learned and refined but the actual game can be played through computer simulator technology. And the technology is wonderful. My oldest son, George, who lives in Aiken has a golf simulator and loves playing different courses in his garage. 
Over the next few weeks, my intention is to highlight indoor golf and training. In addition to being an all-weather option, it fits better in our schedules. That’s right. We can play a simulated round of golf in less than an hour whereas “live” rounds can take five.
We also can engage in 10-15 minutes of efficient indoor practice and get far more out of this time than investing two hours outdoors. 
More next week.
In local golf, the Ponderosa Club will host the final event for the SCJGA Tri-County Summer Series and these players have a chance to ear a spot on the Tri County All Star Team
(Boys 7-9) Trust Winters, Gavin Gaskins, AJ Weil
(Boys 10-12) Liam Stilwell, Chase Cline, Gage Gaskins
(Boys 13-14) Ashton Eubanks, Jack Cuneo, Roman Mullinax
(Boys 15-18) PJ Jacobs, Blaine Williams, Jacob Fuller, Charlie Beiers, Mavrick Mullinax
(Girls 10-12) Edie-Raine Hardee
(Girls 13-18) Emily Baker, Kennedy Gooding, Alexis Hodge, Ally Moss, and Lindsey Hoile
 

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