PGA Tour

BMW returns to Spartanburg at the Carolina Country Club

The Carolina Country Club was part of the course rotation for the BMW Charity Pro-Am between 2008 and 2012. The picture above is from the 2011 tournament. (GolfClub Photo)

The last time the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by TD-Synnex was played at the Carolina Country Club in Spartanburg the Tour had a different name.

Future PGA Tour winners like Tony Finau, Hudson Swafford, Russell Henley and Greenwood’s Ben Martin were just getting their careers started and Nick Flannigan became the first two-time winner of the tournament in a 3-hole playoff.

Now it is 10 years later, the Web.Com Tour is the Korn-Ferry Tour and Tim Dunlop, the owner of the Carolina Country Club, is excited to be a host for the first two rounds of this years BMW.

“It really has been exciting to see how everything is coming together for the tournament,” said Dunlop. “Not only here at the club, but in the whole community the way this year’s event is connecting with Spartanburg,” he said.

It wasn’t always that way.

In the past when Carolina was part of a three course rotation for the tournament from 2008-2012 it was like the tournament was renting a course for the event rather than making it a real partner in the championship.

There was little out reach to the community, not much was done around town to let not just golf fans, but everyone know there was a big event going on with big-time celebrities from Hollywood, sports and music.

Celebrities in the field during the time the event was played at Carolina included Hollywood stars Joe Pesci, Dennis Quaid, Catherine Bell and dozens of other “A” listers. (Pictured above, Golf Club Photos)

This year fans will be able to get autographs and selfies with Larry the Cable Guy, Brian Baumgartner, Ozzie Smith and Ken Griffey, Jr. to name a few.

After years at The Cliffs and Thornblade the Greenville community knew how to enjoy the tournament and the amenities that naturally came with being the host course.

In Spartanburg it was more like the circus had come to town, put up a tent and was gone before anyone knew they had been here.

That was then, now the tournament has reached out to the community civic and business leaders for support and in return has increased the schedule of events to come close to the lineup that used to be only in Greenville.

Last fall Dunlop (left) and the Carolina Country Club hosted the first Carolina Collegiate college event. An exemption into the BMW Charity Pro-Am was presented to tournament champion Johnny Travale from Central Florida by BMW Tournament Director Mike McGovern. (GolfClub Photo)

Dunlop, who is on the South Carolina Charities Inc. (the organization that runs the BMW) board of directors, has seen the support grow for events in Spartanburg that mirror some of the activities in Greenville.

“The Marshall Tucker band playing in downtown on Tuesday and our Ladies Luncheon and Clinic are a couple of events that have great support from the community,” he said.

Carolina will host a Junior Clinic on Monday, June 6th from 4-7pm to kick off tournament week and then host the President’s pro-am on Tuesday. The pros will have practice rounds on Wednesday and then the tournament begins.

“We have been working for over a year to make sure the course pops. Our superintendent Jeff Reynolds is making sure the bunkers have a sharp edge and has been working on the greens for years,” said Dunlop.

Carolina has not had to do anything to trick up the course to make it more challenging for the professionals. Instead they will play about the same course the members play with a little added distance and a few more difficult pin placements.

“The way the course can defend itself is with the greens. Mother Nature has been good to us this growing season and all our projects have come together,” he said.

Competitors will finish their rounds on what is normally the ninth hole at Carolina Country Club. The hole is below the clubhouse creating a natural amphitheater effect. (Photo from the 2011 tournament. GolfClub Photo)

Golfers who have played Carolina will note that the nine’s have been reversed for the BMW. The pros will play the front nine as their final nine holes finishing their rounds below the clubhouse and the VIP area.

“Our18th hole is a great finishing hole, but number nine is really good too. With the hole below the clubhouse it creates an amphitheater effect for the spectators,” he said.

A “Clubhouse Credential” will be needed to access the VIP area inside the club, but Dunlop notes that there will be plenty of food and beverages from vendors like Willy Taco and Delaney’s available for all ticket holders to purchase around the clubhouse.

“Spectators may want to get out and follow some players around the course, but the back lawn and the area around number nine and the clubhouse will be great places to see golf,” said the Carolina Country Club owner.

From newly repaired cart paths around the entire course to major renovations in the club house as well as the college tournament and now the BMW all continue to add to the credibility of the revitalization the course has seen since Dunlop has taken over.

“This tournament is a fun event for our members, our staff and the community. We look forward to the golfers and the fans joining us at Carolina this week,” concluded Dunlop.

Categories: PGA Tour

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