“Everyman’s U.S. Open” – The World Handicap Amateur Championship : Day 3 Report

Carolina National, 9th Hole, Ibis 9 (Photo: Grant Fraser, GolfTheWorld.ca)

By Grant Fraser @travelgolfguy

Day 3 – Round 2 of the World Am at Carolina National

Pre-Round Warmup
Pre-Round Warmup

 

My second round of the World Am took place at the 27-hole, Fred Couples-designed Carolina National Golf Club in Bolivia, North Carolina (www.carolinanationalgolf.com). Yes, Bolivia, North Carolina, a one hour drive north of Myrtle Beach. Unfortunately, with over 3,000 competitors, not all of your rounds can be played along the Grand Strand.

Getting to Carolina National was certainly a hike but well worth the drive. After playing my competitive round, I decided to play another 18 holes, something I only do when I really like the golf course. This is a World Am player favourite as everyone I talked to after our round had nothing but good things to say about Carolina National. A tougher track than Possum Trot (Round 1) but equally fair and enjoyable. The fairways are wide and the landing areas generous, a course characteristic I appreciate. The bermuda-grass greens continued to fool me but were impeccable. Overall, Carolina National was in fabulous condition and another golf course I’d highly recommend.  The green fee rate at this time of year is (USD) $55, including cart and taxes.

Play got underway again at 9am under sunny skies. Today, I played with a 59-year old accountant from Kentucky and 20-year World Am vet who had lots of great stories about the history of the event and the people he has met along the way. He also gave me some really good advice about playing competitive golf. “Grant”, he said, ” there are two things you have to remember when playing in the World Am. The first is to “arrive and survive” meaning you never give up, and the other is to avoid a big number. Do these two things and you’ll do well.” These were welcomed words of wisdom from a seasoned competitor who could really play.

Enjoying the 19th hole with Charlie Rymer (left) and Win McMurray (right) (Photo: Grant Fraser, GolfTheWorld.ca)
Enjoying the 19th hole with Charlie Rymer (left) and Win McMurry (right) (Photo: Grant Fraser, GolfTheWorld.ca)

As I’ve said before, competitive golf is hard. There’s no comparison to the casual weekend round you play with your buddies. Four rounds of it can be fun or a grind. For most amateurs we get a taste of both over the span of 18 holes. A few ups (birdies), a few downs (bogeys or worse) and hopefully plenty of pars in between. Competing in the World Am makes me appreciate what the guys we watch on television every week do that much more. What Jordan Speith and Jason Day have done over the past three months is nothing short of extraordinary. It’s their focus and mental toughness under pressure that impresses me most. Where they get it from confounds me.

After playing 36 holes, I returned to World Am Central – the Sheraton Hotel and Convention Centre in central Myrtle Beach – in time for the 19th Hole evening fun and festivities. As usual, there was plenty of F&B for all including my favourite – generous servings of ice cream from Friendly’s restaurant. Tonight’s marquee performance featured John Daly and a live on-stage performance of “Knockin’ on Heavens Door” with country-rock singer/songwriter Stephen Kellogg. Outstanding! Golf Channel anchor Win McMurry was also in attendance who graciously signed and posed for every autograph and photo request. Win was certainly a fan favourite among all the 40+ year-old World Am participants. Beauty and brains. Great combination. Thanks for the photo Win!

That’s all for Day 3 at the World Am. Final round is tomorrow setting the stage for Friday’s final round for all the flight winners at the Dye Club at Barefoot Resort.