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golfer21I love the game of golf for the personal challenge and the natural beauty. Hilton Head Island golf is attractive to all players because it offers courses that are both playable for the novice and a challenge for the elite. Many courses have as many as six tees to accommodate all skill levels. The 8th hole at the Robert Trent Jones course has a black tee from 76 yards and gold tee at 227 yards. Both tees have forced carries over the water, which is full of spottail bass and snowy egrets.

When many golfers reach this hole and see the water, their attitudes suddenly change.

You have been playing well the first seven holes, enjoying fellowship with your partners. As you approach the 8th tee, now the anxiety begins to set in. Sweaty palms. Tense grip. Shortness of breath. You begin to doubt yourself and your strategy becomes clouded. The backswing feels short and quick. A mullet jumps out of the water and makes a splash, distracting you for the moment.

rbcheritageFOR YEARS, STEVE WILMOT HAS JOKED THAT THE 15-20 POUNDS HE DROPS ANNUALLY DURING THE STRESS-FILLED RUN-UP TO THE RBC HERITAGE ALWAYS FINDS ITS WAY BACK TO HIM DURING THE PLAYERS AMATEUR, AND IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE IMPRESSIVE BUFFET LUNCHES AND LOCKER ROOM MILKSHAKE SERVICE AT BERKELEY HALL CLUB. OK, MAYBE A LITTLE.

But Wilmot's favorite wisecrack works as a metaphor for the Players Amateur's importance to the Heritage, as the amateur event allows Wilmot and his staff at the Heritage Classic Foundation an opportunity to kick up their feet a bit more while fostering relationships with promising young golfers today that pay dividends to the PGA Tour event down the road.

The laundry list of reasons Berkeley Hall wanted to partner with the Players Amateur could go on forever, but every entry points back to a simple fact: It's great golf.

"Obviously holding a world-class golf event was something that was very attractive," said Bob Ring, Berkeley Hall's director of marketing and membership services. "Here you had an opportunity to host the highest-ranked amateur golfers in the world. It gave Berkeley Hall an opportunity to give back to golf and help these guys as they try to achieve their professional aspirations."

 

Devin-Taylor-mugDevin Taylor is a physical marvel.

The Beaufort native stands 6-foot-7. He weighs 266 pounds. His total wingspan is 87 inches and his vertical jump is 35 inches. He can run 40 yards in 4.72 seconds.

Sportswriters have a term for this type of rare athlete – they call them freaks. In fact, CBS Sports ranked Taylor No. 2 on its “Freak List: The 10 craziest athletes in college football” last year.
When the Detroit Lions saw Taylor was still available, they selected him with the 132nd pick of the 2013 NFL Draft.

memorial-6291After playing a round of golf at Long Cove Club, Tony Kull would often swing by “the clubhouse” to grab a drink, watch golf and socialize with friends.
He didn’t go to the official clubhouse on 44 Long Cove Drive, though. He went to Jim Ferguson’s house, located just off the 14th fairway.

bloody-pointPatrick Ford’s admirable and absurd quest to save Bloody Point Golf Course was documented by ESPN’s Outside the Lines two years ago.
The financial meltdowns, the voodoo curses, the never-ending fight against nature — all the gritty details of his struggle were laid out in a stunning 8,000-word account titled “Staying the Course.”

Author Wright Thompson introduced Ford as a lovable, hard-working golf professional holding on against all odds at doomed Daufuskie Island Resort & Breathe Spa.

The resort went bankrupt. The loan to continue operations until a new buyer stepped in ran out. Salaries were cut. The power was turned off. The phone stopped working. Leased equipment started breaking down. There was no money to buy pesticide or fertilizer for the fading course.

lendl

Ivan Lendl, world-famous tennis pro and eight-time Grand Slam winner, is now giving back with his International Junior Tennis Academy through a program “offering a select number of scholarships to exceptional juniors with passion, a strong work ethic and the attitude to make them successful in competition and in life,” according to the IJTA.

Lendl recently invited semi-finalists for the scholarships to an open house at Port Royal Racquet Club for a personal evaluation.

Above, IJTA staff including Director of Instruction David Lewis (far left with clipboard), Lendl (center) and Junior Sports Corporation CEO Peter Orrell (right) , evaluate a student’s overhead shot. The prospective students each undertook evaluations of their physical condition, tennis ability and even their mental approach to the game.

Learn more about the academy at www.lendltennis.com.

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Whether you’re bicycling for family time, exercise or simply to take in the local ?scenery, Hilton Head Island offers no shortage of routes, paths and options.

The island boasts more than 50 miles of public bicycle paths, and the private communities contain many more (Sea Pines alone has 15 for your pedaling needs). The beach is rarely more than a few miles away, and at low tide offers so much space that you can feel like the place is yours alone. For these reasons and countless more (amenable weather, abundant sunshine) you can see why Hilton Head Island has carved out a reputation as an unofficial bikers’ mecca.

But these days, it’s a little more official.