The American Singles Golf Association was once an active organization on the Grand Strand.
But the local chapter disbanded about a decade ago after interest waned and local leadership was difficult to find.
Myrtle Beach area singles once again have organized golf gatherings, thanks in large part to a relocated former Pittsburgh, Charlotte and Washington, D.C., resident who has taken the reins of the organization in the market.
Linda Cunningham has been a leading force behind the rejuvenation of the Grand Strand chapter of the ASGA, which is now about 15 months into its rebirth and is growing with a membership of about 50 players.
The Grand Strand chapter stretches between and includes the cities of Charleston and Wilmington, N.C. It was resurrected in February 2022 with a meeting that was organized by Cunningham with the help of a few others.
Cunningham was widowed in 2011 and joined a chapter in Washington a few years later. “I found myself wanting and needing to meet people through golf,” said Cunningham, a retired bank regulator.
After retiring to Myrtle Beach in 2017 after being a part-time resident for several years, she was asked by ASGA founder and president Tom Alsop to revive this chapter.
“I think we’ve done a lot in a year,” Cunningham said. “We’ve done a lot to try to get it up and running, get people interested, keep people interested, and get the word out and get new members. That’s the hard part is just getting the word out.”
Grand Strand Chapter details
This year there are two events per month on Saturdays that are followed by food and drinks at a nearby location, and one social event at a bar/restaurant in Carolina Forest on the third Wednesday of each month including food and drinks. Social events include 50-50 raffles to raise money for the chapter.
There are additional social outings, such as a Christmas party, and more are being considered including at Topgolf. Unofficial gatherings of members are also organized.
There has been one weekday golf outing thus far this year, and more are being considered.
The organization is open to all adult ages but the chapter is generally 40s and older, and features about 60 percent women. “We’d love to have some younger folks, that’s why we do our events on Saturdays because we don’t want to cut anyone out,” Cunningham said.
Dues are $89 annually, though a first event can be played free as a guest.
The golf events have been attracting about 20 to 24 players and green fees are usually kept at $50 or less per round.
Golf chair Mary Misenheimer has the tournament schedule nearly set for the remainder of the year. Formats change, as there are two-person team events and individual events with formats including best ball and scrambles. Rules and formats follow themes on holidays, such as players choosing a Trick or Treat on each hole on Halloween.
“We try to make it as fun as we can,” Cunningham said.
Upper echelon courses on the schedule include the Grande Dunes Members Club, and Grande Dunes Resort Course, Prestwick Country Club and Tidewater Golf Club. Many of the courses are owned by Founders Group International.
Organizers try to have both men and women in each foursome.
“It’s not really a match-making kind of thing or a dating organization or anything like that,” Cunningham said, “but it’s a good way to meet other single people, even to get together and do things outside of golf, particularly when you have golf in common and you find you might have other things in common.
“It’s a good way to make friendships, both male and female friendships. You might end up meeting somebody for a longer-term relationship, but we have a lot of fun.”
The ASGA also utilizes the meetup.com website to help members connect.
The organization inherently loses members occasionally as they meet and become couples.
National, local organization
The local chapter has several volunteer executive positions including president, treasurer, and chairs for memberships, communications, and golf tournaments, as well as social and assistant communication positions.
Cunningham filled multiple roles last year, including golf chair and membership chair, and is the membership chair and de facto president this year after the resignation this year of a short-term president. The treasurer position is open, as well.
“We had to take on multiple positions last year to get this thing up and running,” Cunningham said. “I was kind of doing the whole thing last year.”
Grand Strand communications chair Linda Young emails and posts online a monthly newsletter.
Young, a Pennsylvania resident who spends much of the year at her home in Myrtle Beach, is a former member of the earlier iteration of the Grand Strand chapter and has remained in the ASGA as a member at large, which Cunningham also was for a few years.
There are more than 30 ASGA chapters covering about 50 cities.
Alsop organizes affordable marquee domestic and international trips for 100-plus members that have included TPC Sawgrass, The Greenbrier, Tiburon Golf Club, Pinehurst, Hawaii, and there are upcoming trips planned to The Grandover in Greensboro, N.C., PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and Scotland.