BMW Pro-Am: Inside the Ropes

Two weeks ago, I had the honor of playing in the BMW Pro-Am alongside upstate leaders and some amazing professional golfers. When I first got the call asking if I wanted to play and represent Greer, my first thought was “I am going to hit someone who is watching!” I managed to make it through the week without hitting anyone, and learned that the tournament was much more than golf.

Preparing for the tournament required some extra practice, some gifts from my wife to make my golf bag and me look better than a once a month player, and some new clothes. In order to best represent what our Chamber and community does, I had some new GreerMade logo shirts made to advertise a flagship program that we just launched. To my surprise, I had many questions, comments, and compliments on the logo that opened the door for me to brag on our community.

While the pros were very serious about their game, they were also great to talk with, get tips from, and encouraging. The opportunity to play with them was something that I won’t forget. A special thanks to my great friends who caddied for me as well. The playing schedule for my group was Thursday at Thornblade in Greer, Friday at the Reserve at Lake Keowee, and Saturday at The Preserve at Verdae. The rounds lasted six and a half hours and there is no time for a hot dog at the turn. It was more of a mental grind than I expected when my normal round takes four hours at the most! The driving range practice area was intimidating on the first day, but after then first tee box, I settled in a little and enjoyed the experience. What a thrill it was to walk up to the 18th green at Thornblade with friends and community partners in the stands cheering for you and for Greer as a whole. While I should have made Par, a tap in bogey was received with cheers from our Greer people and it made me proud to be a part of such a great community.

I was not paired with a celebrity so did not get that experience directly, but the ones around were as personable as could be. They spent extra time before and after taking pictures and signing autographs with fans and volunteers. The tournament was excellently run and it required hundreds of volunteers to put on. BMW as the title sponsor puts an enormous amount of effort into making the event first class all around.

What I will take away is that when the adrenaline is pumping, the ball goes a little bit further. That is good off the tee, but not good when putting. That the tournament is about showcasing the upstate community as much as it is about good golf. That playing golf isn’t all about the score, but enjoying the good shots and the time out on the course. I don’t play the game professionally so there is no need to get upset on bad shots, and as one of the pro’s told me, “You play better when you are having fun.”

It was a thrill and an honor to represent Greer in the tournament, but it is more of an honor to be able to live and work in Greer everyday.

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