The Martins had yet to take a vacation together but with an improving financial situation, Jennifer was ready for a trip, and she noticed an ad for a golf tournament in Myrtle Beach.
“I’m in the hotel room and Jennifer called me and said, ‘there is this tournament in Myrtle Beach and it sounds like a perfect vacation for us,’” Martin said. “She said, ‘I can go to the beach and you can play golf.’”
Thirty-one years later, the World Am is as much a part of the Martin’s calendar as Christmas. Friends, family and work know they will leave Nashville behind for 10 days in Myrtle Beach the week before Labor Day.
“It’s an event we look forward to every year and we aren’t going to change it,” Martin said. “At some point, my wife and I will have spent a year of our lives here because of this golf tournament.”
Martin has played in the World Am for 31 consecutive years and has accumulated more than his share of memories, including a 1993 trip to the World Championship Playoff. He was paired with Jim Low, who was battling health problems but made quite in impression that day at the Dunes Club.
“He was eat up with cancer and knew he wasn’t going to be around that long,” Martin said of Low. “The guy drank a beer a hole and you couldn’t beat him. He hit five iron down the middle, five iron to the green. All I could do is clap and say, ‘give me a beer too!’ I signed his scorecard and he won the whole thing. That was neat.”
One year, Martin got pulled over by cop, who felt he had cut him off. When Martin explained that he didn’t realize he had cut him off, and he mistook the police car for a cab to begin with, the man in blue wasn’t amused. But Martin got off with a warning, he recalled with a laugh.
While Martin would relish the chance to return to the World Championship Playoff, the tournament is much more to him than a chance at victory.
“(We have) established relationships with people from those early years, and we’ve made some of our best friends (at the tournament),” he said. “It’s like a high school reunion every year. By the time we get to (registration) people have called and we are texting about getting together for dinner or a practice round.”
Over 31 years and 300 days, the Martins have enjoyed a lot of practice rounds and dinners with friends at the World Am.
By Rick Limpert
Sure food and drink are the driving force each year at the Myrtle Beach World Am's 19th Hole, but golfers looking to improve their game or get that "edge" flock to see what the more than 50 exhibitors are showing off or debuting each year.
World Am exhibitors come from all over the country to get feedback from the more than 3,000 golfers playing this week and offer up their goods at great "World Am Prices."
Here are three to check out:
Copper Tech Gloves
Copper has become the "go to" material when it comes to pain relief and performance. Copper Tech Gloves are engineering that has never been seen in golf. Easy on your hands, Copper Tech improves health and performance and you now have a choice of a tacky glove that comes in all sizes, including XL. Copper Tech Gloves come in models and sizes for both men and women, so nobody is left out. The benefits include no slip, improved circulation and oxygenation of working muscles and less strain and fatigue for your entire body. Copper leg and ankle sleeves as well as back supports are proving popular, so why not golf gloves? Copper is a great additive to articles of clothing when playing multiple rounds in consecutive days, so give it a try this week. Price: $19.95.
Goto Caddie Yardage Books
Yardage books used by professional caddies and players? Count me in! This is also the No.1 DIY yardage book used by amateur, collegiate and junior golfers worldwide. If you are looking to gain strokes, without putting forth more effort on your swing, yardage books are an advantage within the rules of the game. Yardage books are essential tools that all professional golfers use and begin taking notes prior to and often during tournament play. Professional caddies used to spend hours on the golf course familiarizing themselves with the layout of the course. With new technology like Google Earth, caddies and players can now design their books before stepping foot on the course saving specific notes such as yardage and green slopes for practice rounds. Goto Caddie yardage books can help eliminate costly mistakes and will also erase doubt from a player and caddie's mind by servicing them both with very accurate information. This helps determine strategy standing on every tee and over every shot. Your notes can provide accurate measurements for distance and elevation from the tees to hazards and bunkers and from many fixed points in and around the fairway to the front edge of the green.
The yardage book also provides detailed sketches and measurements of the greens, allowing a player/caddie to know exactly where the pin is located, therefore, providing confidence in their plan of attack for each hole they face during a round. It is the definitive tool of course management and a critical piece of equipment for the modern game. Check out their booth!
Grip Spritz brings new life to your old grips. It is specifically formulated for ball players and golfers. Grip Spritz is a safe, non-toxic solution proudly made in Ohio. It works on golf grips, baseball bats, hockey sticks and even works on shoes when you put a dab on basketball or volleyball shoes to keep them from skidding and slipping.
A simple practice aid that you need now! Get immediate feedback on where your ball hits the club face. Practice indoors or out. Attach the Strike Shield and start swinging your irons and wedges. The provided ball will actually stick to the face of your club. Extra balls included and the cost is $39.99. Developed by former LPGA player and top-50 women's instructor, Tiffany Faucette.
Their products allow you to self-learn and experience the joy of winning shots through the mastery of: Flow, Force and Fly.
Relive the fun of the World's Largest 19th Hole, including a video of Charlie Rymer's 9-ball battle with the Striking Viking, Ewa Laurance, and footage from the East Coast Party Band at World Am Live.
If you didn't get to listen to yesterday's Katrek & Maginess On Tap show on Sirius/XM's PGA Tour Channel, we have the video for you.
At the World Am’s annual Welcome Party, tournament director Scott Tomasello gave away, among several other prizes, lifetime entry into the World Am, and Berry, to his amazement, had his number drawn.
“Outside they (called the numbers) nice and slow, one number at a time,” Berry said of hearing his ticket being called in the House of Blues courtyard. “When they pulled the last number out, I screamed and everybody high-fived me. It was great. I don’t care what happens the rest of the week, I’m good to go.”
Berry enjoyed the event when he played just after the turn of the century, but work and travel made consistent participation difficult, problems that were remedied by a move to Brunswick, Ga., and a chance meeting last year.
“I joined the Golf Channel Am Tour (in Georgia) to play local events and first day I played, Paul Baker was in my group and he was talking about the World Am,” Berry said. “I said, ‘I used to play in that; maybe I’ll come up this year.’ I used him as my referral and we came up together. That’s what started me coming back.”
What Berry is unlikely to do in his return is sacrifice his enjoyment of the event for on-course intensity.
“I’m not that cut throat,” he said his demeanor on the course. “It’s for fun and enjoying the guys I’m playing with, and it will be that way this week.”
It will be that way World Am week for the rest of Berry’s life.
The 34th annual World Am teed off this morning with temperatures in the low 70s and breezy conditions. Participants played on 32 courses along the Grand Strand, beginning what should be fun-filled week.
The World’s Largest 19th Hole will open its doors at 6 p.m., and Golf Channel star Charlie Rymer will be on hand to emcee the evening’s festivities. East Coast Party Band will provide the entertainment and Sticky Fingers will be providing barbecued pork, ribs and chicken (don’t panic, Domino’s and Friendly’s, serving ice cream, will be on hand as well!)
With play underway, here is a look at the World Am “By the Numbers”:
Countries Represented: 20
States Represented: 49
Number of Courses Used: 51
Average Score: 88.6
Number of International Players: 132
Golf Balls Awarded: 7,812
Longest Distance Traveled: 10,302 miles
Rounds Played: 12,000+
Beers Consumed in the 19th Hole: 17,910
Estimated Number of Golf Balls Used: 30,215
Unique Players over 34 Years: 48,841
Gifts Cards Paid Out: $75,200
Estimated Number of Greens in Regulation: 80,600
Estimated Number of Strokes: 1,011,500
Jim Mullaney is playing in his sixth Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship, and his most vivid memory of the event brings a smile to his face, along with the slight grimace of a man who learned a lesson the hard way.
A native of Dunkirk, Md., Mullaney made the first and only ace of his golf career on the par 3 10th at the Hackler Course. He struck a perfect 7 iron from 135 yards and watched the ball disappear into the cup in his second appearance at the tournament.
“The day after (the head pro) announced that we had a hole in one yesterday and everyone (groaned), but then he said, ‘he wasn’t in the skins game’ and everyone went ‘yay!,’” Mullaney said with a smile. “I’ve been in the skins game ever since.”
He has been committed to the event as well, bringing friends with him along the way, but he is particularly looking forward to this year’s tournament. Just four months removed from a total knee replacement, Mullaney has been playing 3 to 4 times a week in hopes of making it to the World Championship Playoff.
Either way, Mullaney and his wife will have a good time.
“My bride and I, we go to the 19th Hole and run around,” he said. “The cocktails are free and we have the ballroom for dancing. We do the whole thing … It’s just a lot of fun. I love golf and hopefully (I’ll play) a fifth day one of these years.
Players have until 5 p.m. to go through registration but the highlight of the day’s events will be the annual Welcome Party, which will be held at House of Blues.
The party will begin at 5 p.m. and feature live music by the Paul Grimshaw Band, a familiar name to World Am participants. House of Blues will be offering drink specials and providing players the opportunity to renew acquaintances with old friends before beginning play.
If you attend the party, don’t forget to bring the ticket you received at registration so you can enter the random drawing contest. There will be thousands of dollars in giveaways, including complementary entry into next year’s tournament.
We hope to see you at House of Blues, but if not, good luck this week!