George Bryan Golf Academy
George E. Bryan, III

Mulligans are wonderful and I need to take one now. Last week I congratulated Stephen Hartwig on his new Head Professional position, but failed to mention the club. Hartwig, who has spent the last few years at the Country Club of Lexington, who by friends is affectionately referred to as “Twig,” is heading to Mid-Carolina Club. He is replacing Lee Duncan who is taking a job in Eastern North Carolina near the Outer Banks. In my estimation, Lee Duncan is a future CPGA Golf Hall of Fame member and it is very satisfying to see a young talented golf professional follow a legend.

I made a reference also in last week’s article about the club hiring locally and would like to clarify. The Midlands market is suppressed and depressed. That’s right, the market is considerably overbuilt which means we have too many courses for the numbers of golfers. There are very few profitable operations because there are not enough golfers to support the high number of facilities. Stephen Hartwig grows golf and he is replacing one of the best golf growers, Lee Duncan, I have ever known. Here is my point; our golf market poses challenges much greater than most understand and the fact Hartwig has training under Clem King, Country Club of Lexington Director of Golf, and Tom Mason, formally of The Woodlands and currently Par Tee Driving Range owner, “Twig” has the pedigree to lead one of the area’s most successful golf operations.

Incidentally, it is to the consumers’ benefit to live in our market for there is no other market in the country where you can find high quality golf for bargain basement prices. Nowhere.

If there is a reader who wants to take me on with the above statement, please, correct me for I have had the privilege of traveling over this beautiful country watching and playing, and quite frankly, there is not even a close comparable market. Not one.

So all those that are with me to this point, play more, a lot more, because you are getting an unbelievable value.

Incidentally, I believe our local golf experts and entities are among the best in the country and attribute these factors as why the midlands has so many golfers performing at a world class level. The South Carolina Junior Golf Association is our county’s top junior golf organization and it is located in Irmo. I have already mentioned a couple of golf experts so here are more, just so you know why, in my opinion the game of has numerous world class athletes; Justin Flemming, Bill McDonald, Puggy Blackmon, Clarrisa Childs, Greg McBride, Jimmy Koosa, Robin All, Young Lim, Brad Frick, Chris Miller, Tom Graber, Tony Branham, Chase Butler, Matt McCarley, Blake Cathey, Roger Smith, Steve Larick, Chris Sparrow, “E” Rutherford, Bobby Foster, Buddy Bostian, Happ Lathrop and Charlie Roundtree. Everyone just mentioned are tremendous junior golf supporters, and I am leaving out many, so hope to identify more leading up to our years final major, the PGA Championship. Our community is truly a seed bed for the development of world class golf talent.

Here is some cool local golf news: Hannah Stephenson, Lauren’s little sister has recently gotten interested in competition golf. She has broken 80 this summer, a 77, and also 79, on the South Carolina Junior Golf Associaton’s Tri-County Hootie & the Blowfish Summer Series tour.

After church recently I spoke with Hannah’s dad, Charles, and with a big grin mentioned that, “College golf has been part of the conversation.”

More next week, and speaking of the Tri-County, here are the medalist and runner up for each division. In the Boys 7-9 Division Mathew Roff, Boys 10-12 Liam Stilwell, Boys 13-14 Mavrick Mullinax and Boys 15-18 Patrick Jacobs. For the girls Meredith Price in the Girls 10-12 Division and Girls 13-18 Madison Branum. Congratulations to these players on their outstanding performance.