Ah, April, the month of fools, Easter (sometimes) and, of course, The Masters.
But for golf writers of a certain age (like mine) April was also the month of an important national championship: the annual Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA) Championship in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Most golfers know about Myrtle Beach and many have been: the long stretch of Lowcountry coastline between Georgetown and the North Carolina border is chockablock with golf courses and most of them are public. The latest count I’ve seen is 59 courses within 20 miles of MB, all but 3 of them public. And most of the hotels and motels along the Grand Strand offer some kind of golf package deal, stay-and-play rates that make the area a bargain hunter’s mecca.
Sports trivia fans may know that it was in Myrtle Beach (at the “Granddaddy,” Pine Lakes Country Club) that Time Inc. chairman Henry Luce and 67 editors and writers gathered in 1954 to hash out ideas for a new weekly sports magazine that became Sports Illustrated.
I joined the Golf Writers Association of America in the early 1980s. It wasn’t easy to get in. Like other sportswriters organizations (e.g. Baseball Writers, Football Writers etc.) you had to be a sportswriter covering golf and working for an accredited publication of some kind. Most of the members were newspaper beat reporters—they all covered golf, but most also covered other sports as well. Some others worked for the big national magazines at that time: Golf Digest, Golf, Golf Illustrated, Golf World, etc.