Note: The following appears in the February issue of Orange: The Experience. For full access to all of the publication’s content, join IPTAY today by calling 864-656-2115.
By Chas Williams // Athletic Communications
For the 13th consecutive year, the Clemson golf program hosted its annual Tiger Golf Gathering from Dec. 3-4, 2015. The annual two-day event, which was started by former Clemson golfers Charles Warren (‘98), Lucas Glover (‘01) and Jonathan Byrd (‘00) is a charity golf event organized and operated by the Tiger Golf Gathering foundation, a non-profit corporation that provides financial support to the Tiger golf program, the Clemson University Professional Golf Management Program and the South Carolina Junior Golf Association.
This year’s “Thursday Open” was held at Thornblade Country Club in Greer, S.C., and consisted of a four-person team, 18-hole Captain’s Choice tournament. The field of 21 teams played on a rather frigid day on the upstate course, home to the BMW Charity Pro-Am, designed by Tom Fazio.
Thursday night was a much more relaxed portion of the weekend. The actual “gathering” was held at Thornblade Club and featured Clemson fun, food, a live band and a silent and live auction. Members of both the men and women’s golf teams were present for the dinner as well as over 30 former Clemson players, including those who participated in the “Tiger Pro-Am” held Friday.
Various donations were auctioned off to the highest bidder, ranging from Scotty Cameron putters, to golf weekends at Kiawah Island, to footballs signed by Clemson football head coach Dabo Swinney.
The golf-filled weekend concluded with the “Tiger Pro-Am” on Friday and its classic “pro-am” format, pairing three fans with a former Clemson golfer in a Captain’s Choice format played at The Cliffs at Mountain Park. The 18-hole course is nestled in Travelers Rest, S.C., with immaculate views of the South Carolina Upstate.
Constructed in 2013, the course was named one of GOLF Magazine’s Best New Courses of 2013 and is one of Gary Player’s signature courses. The par-72 course is also home to 13 acres of bunkering, giving it a true championship feel.
This year’s “Tiger Pro-Am” field featured 10 former Tigers who are playing golf professionally and included Byrd, McCuen Elmore (‘12), Luke Hopkins (‘10), Kevin Johnson (‘89), Ben Martin (‘10), Corbin Mills (‘12), Crawford Reeves (‘13), Clarence Rose (‘80), D.J. Trahan (‘03) and Warren. Ford Williams, Bob Mahony, Joe Hill and Trahan led the field on Friday.
For many people in the Clemson community, the Tiger Golf Gathering is more than just a weekend full of great golf at incredible courses in the Upstate. It is a time for everyone to come together and have a reunion and celebrate the success of the Clemson golf programs.
“It is all about our former players and playing professionals,” said men’s golf head coach Larry Penley. “It is a way we can honor and celebrate their successes. For me, I love getting them together and having a reunion and have an opportunity to see guys that I might only get to see once a year, so it really is a fun time for me.
“The Tiger Golf Gathering has made all the difference for our facilities, which were a major goal of our former players when we started this. They wanted to ensure that our student-athletes from now on had the best facilities in the country, and under that premise, the Tiger Golf Gathering started. For the former players to give back their time and monies to Clemson University and to Clemson golf speaks volumes to their character.”
For women’s golf head coach J.T. Horton, the Tiger Golf Gathering has made the process of starting the women’s program much smoother.
“The Tiger Golf Gathering has been such an amazing blessing to the Clemson golf programs. It has made the transition of starting the women’s golf program so much easier knowing we have the best facilities in the country.
“The Tiger Golf Gathering proves we have some great alumni golfers, fans and supporters here at Clemson. We are very grateful to all of those involved in this wonderful event to help us compete at the highest level.”
The 2016 Tiger Golf Gathering is scheduled for December 1,2. For more information, visit TigerGolfGathering.com or like the Tiger Golf Gathering on Facebook.
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