2013 News for Pawleys Island, Litchfield and Murrells Inlet
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Tourism: Golf Channel broadcast gives courses a boost

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

The eyes of the golf world were on Caledonia Golf and Fish Club Wednesday morning.

Golf Channel hosts Charlie Rymer and Kelly Tilghman broadcast a live segment for the “Morning Drive” program from the back porch of the Caledonia clubhouse overlooking the golf course and former rice fields. They interviewed First Tee representatives Rebecca Albin and Ashley Sloan prior to a captain’s choice golf tournament to benefit the organization.

Albin is executive director of The First Tee of the Grand Strand. All fourth-graders in the Georgetown County School District will participate in the program next year, learning golf skills while emphasizing core values that leaders live by like honesty, integrity, courtesy and judgment. Sloan, a student representing the First Tee of Brunswick County, N.C., qualified to play in The First Tee Open at Pebble Beach in California in September.

South Carolina natives Rymer and Tilghman entertained the 92 First Tee golfers and guests during a dinner Tuesday night at the Dunes Club in Myrtle Beach and carried over their good-natured banter Wednesday morning. They said they were happy to get back to some “home cooking” after being stationed in Orlando, Fla., Golf Channel headquarters. Rymer, a native of Fort Mill, played on the PGA tour before his broadcast career. Tilghman, from North Myrtle Beach, played for Duke University before competing professionally in Europe, Asia and Australia. They met as young competitors in Palmetto State golf tournaments and have been lifelong friends.

Every group participating in the First Tee tournament Wednesday had an opportunity to play with both Rymer and Tilghman. Rymer joined each foursome at the eighth tee and Tilghman at the ninth tee for one shot.

“It warms my heart to see this community support The First Tee,” Rymer said. Tilghman called Caledonia “one of the most beautiful facilities on the Grand Strand.”

The television exposure will be good for the county’s vacation business, according to Lauren Cobb, director of the Tourism Management Commission.

“We are always excited to get more exposure for the Hammock Coast and our beautiful area,” she said. “The Golf Channel reaches 83 million people nationwide. ‘Morning Drive’ has great ratings, and Kelly Tilghman is one of the most popular personalities on the Golf Channel. Kelly also tweeted a picture from the porch at Caledonia to her over 67,000 followers on Twitter. This is a great platform to get the word out about First Tee and Georgetown County.”

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