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Myrtle Beach Golf Notes: PGA Tour event grants exemption & unveils logo, CCU adds 2nd tourney

The Myrtle Beach Classic's first sponsor exemption has upped the ante for participants in the General Hackler Collegiate Championship

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The PGA Tour’s inaugural Myrtle Beach Classic has announced its first sponsor exemption, and that has upped the ante for the participants of the 2024 General Hackler Collegiate Championship at The Dunes Golf and Beach Club.

The individual winner of the tournament hosted by Coastal Carolina will be granted entry into the $3.9 million PGA Tour event at The Dunes Club seven weeks later.

The Hackler will be held March 17-19 and the Myrtle Beach Classic will be held May 9-12 as an opposite field PGA Tour event to the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C.

“I think it’s phenomenal,” CCU men’s golf coach Jacob Wilner said. “You take what is already a very prestigious event in college golf with the General Hackler, then to have the PGA Tour exemption makes it even better.”

Many of the world’s top professional players participated in the Hackler while in college. They include Dustin Johnson of CCU, Patrick Reed of Augusta State, Corey Conners of Kent State, Sam Burns of LSU, Matthew NeSmith of South Carolina, Cameron Champ of Texas A&M, Harold Varner of East Carolina, and Bill Haas, Will Zalatoris and Cameron Young of Wake Forest.

CCU adding local event

In addition to the Hackler, which is being held for the 20th year, Coastal will be hosting a new fall event beginning next September.

The Myrtle Beach Golf Trips Intercollegiate at the Grande Dunes Resort Course from Sept. 8-10 will feature a field of 16 teams and a total of 88 players including those competing as individuals. A practice round and college-am is scheduled for Sept. 7 at Grande Dunes, which is owned by Founders Group International.

Wilner intends to make it an enduring annual event.

“I just feel Myrtle Beach is a great place to play college golf tournaments,” Wilner said. “We have a partnership with Founders and Grande Dunes – we practice there quite often – and it’s an awesome golf course. It’s 7,500 yards and has a lot of different tee options, and it’s going to be in phenomenal shape. We have a great field for our inaugural event and we’re looking to build on it for future years.”

The 2024 field is already determined and will feature CCU, Appalachian State, Campbell, East Carolina, Elon, Florida Atlantic, Jacksonville, James Madison, Loyola Marymount, Maryland, Old Dominion, Santa Clara, Texas El Paso, Texas State, Virginia Commonwealth and Western Carolina.

Volunteer opportunities will be available.

Hackler dates tweaked

The Hackler was moved back a week from what had become its traditional dates in early March.

It is expanding from two to three days – 36 holes have been played on the opening day – and the date change allows CCU to continue playing in the Hayt Intercollegiate at Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

That event was moved back a week, and the day after the final round each year the teams and participants are given tickets to a practice round of the PGA Tour’s Players Championship at neighboring TPC Sawgrass.

“That’s just a cool event for the guys,” Wilner said. “So we moved ours. It was better for the club and better for the Hackler, so our dates moving forward are going to be right around that time.”

The 2024 Hackler will feature some new teams including highly-ranked San Francisco and Little Rock. Others scheduled to be in the 14-team field are East Tennessee State, North Florida, Liberty, Louisville, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Kent State, Furman, College of Charleston, Charleston Southern, Western Carolina, UNC Wilmington.

Because CCU starts its spring season later than most in March, the Chants will play numerous rounds in February at The Dunes Club in preparation for the Hackler.

The Hackler was held for 11 years at TPC Myrtle Beach before moving to The Dunes Club in 2015.

“I was blown away with just how the community and membership at The Dunes got involved with the Hackler,” said Wilner, who was hired by his alma mater in May 2022. “The pro shop staff, the food and beverage, and the course maintenance were all hands on deck. They just did an absolutely phenomenal job. The membership with the volunteers.

“I can honestly say without prejudice it’s one of the best events I’ve ever been a part of in my 16 years in college golf. It’s just phenomenal.”

Logo unveiled, tickets on sale

Myrtle Beach Classic tickets went on sale Nov. 16 and can be purchased by visiting myrtlebeachclassic.com.

Ticket options include daily and weekly general admission, clubhouse, and weekly Club 18 Shared Hospitality. Children ages 15 and younger will be admitted free with an adult ticket holder.

There will be a limit of 100 clubhouse tickets per day, which will allow access into the club’s ballroom lounge featuring various amenities, and the Club 18 option includes covered, open-air viewing behind the 18th green, and food and beverages. Private hospitality and pro-am opportunities are also available.

For specific ticketing questions email tickets@myrtlebeachclassic.com.

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is the largest sponsor of the event through Visit Myrtle Beach, has unveiled the official logo for the Myrtle Beach Classic.

The logo, which was created by the international marketing agency MMGY Global, features a Royal Tern, which is a seabird native to the Myrtle Beach area, soaring in front of a Carolina sunrise and includes the colors blue, green, orange and sand.

The official Myrtle Beach Classic logo

Elite juniors visit Strand

The fourth playing of the Elite Invitational took place Nov. 3-5 at Tradition Golf Club in Pawleys Island.

Tournament organizers want the event to be one of the top showcases of junior golf in North America outside of major USGA events.

Canada’s national junior team members participated this year and were among 66 boys and 42 girls from 34 states and seven countries.

The majority of the field consisted of juniors ranked in the top 200 in North America, and more than 50 participants are committed to NCAA Division I schools.

Players and their families enjoyed a professional tour-like atmosphere with roped-off tee boxes, an electronic leaderboard, and yardage books crafted by a veteran PGA Tour caddie.

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