PGA Professionals' showcase event features two rugged Grand Strand tests
By Bob Denney, The PGA of America
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Rod Perry counts himself lucky for a whistle-stop tour of two courses that will form the proving ground for 312 players in the 47th PGA Professional National Championship.
The Championship make its second-ever visit to South Carolina, June 22-25, and the first to Myrtle Beach – a golfer’s paradise on the famed "Grand Strand." Representatives from 45 states, including 15 past Champions, are entered in the $550,000 Championship presented by Club Car, Mercedes-Benz and OMEGA.
Perry, the defending Champion in the showcase event for PGA Professionals, visited Myrtle Beach last month for the annual Media Day. The PGA head professional at Crane Lakes Golf & Country Club in Port Orange, Fla., says he saw plenty of evidence where he and his peers will find a rugged test.
"We face two excellent courses and you'd better be ready. I got to play golf with The Dunes Club president, and you can tell how much pride the members take in the difficulty of the course," said Perry, making his seventh overall appearance, including finishing tied for second in 2012 and winning the Walter Hagen Cup last year.
One of the country's most recognized centers of public and resort golf, Myrtle Beach will welcome the finest PGA Professionals to The Dunes Golf & Beach Club and Grande Dunes Resort Club.
Designed in 1948 by legendary Robert Trent Jones Sr., The Dunes Golf & Beach Club's 7,286-yard, par-72 layout will serve as the primary host course in the National Championship, including the final 36 holes. Grande Dunes Resort Club will play to par-72 and 7,191 yards. All contestants will play the first two rounds on The Dunes and Grande Dunes Resort Club.
"Grande Dunes Resort Club," says Perry, "will have much softer playing conditions, and will be more scoreable. However, if you are going to keep pace with the leaders, you need to be around 4-under par.
"The Dunes Golf & Beach Club is a very, very stern test. Even-par, I believe, would be a very, very good score as firm as the greens will be. It will be difficult to get the ball close to the hole. If a player hits 10 to 12 greens, that would be striking the ball extremely well from tee to green."
Televised live by Golf Channel, the Championship's low 20 finishers earn a berth in the 96th PGA Championship this August at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky. The Champion earns a first-place prize of $75,000 and receives six exemptions next season on the PGA Tour along with a berth on the 2015 United States PGA Cup Team.
Designed in 1948 by legendary Robert Trent Jones Sr., The Dunes Golf & Beach Club will serve as the primary host course in the National Championship, including the final 36 holes. All contestants will play the first two rounds on The Dunes and Grande Dunes Resort Club.
The Dunes Golf & Beach Club is ranked among "America’s Greatest 100 Public Courses" by Golf Digest. It is listed by GOLF Magazine among "The Best You Can Play" 100 courses in the United States.