Kiawah Friendship Cup 2016
The 10th Friendship Cup was held March 10 – 13, consisting of 72 teams. The two man tournament, which includes several competitions including best-ball low net, best-ball gross, and the low individuals both net and gross, was contested at Pete Dye’s world renowned Ocean Course, host site of the 2012 and 2021 PGA Championships, and newly-renovated Osprey Point, designed by Tom Fazio. Originally created as an event to promote off-season time periods at the resort, the increasing popularity of the event warranted a move into the spring, leading to the best weather the group has ever enjoyed. Tom Bewley, the Tournament Chairman and resort’s Director of Sales and Marketing was thrilled with the change: “This is really a win-win for everyone involved. Our guests get to take advantage of the beautiful weather which allows the resort to showcase everything we have to offer.”
Kicking off on Thursday night, the players were treated to a Macallan whiskey tasting presentation lead by David Sardina of the Edrington Group, followed by a fantastic dinner prepared by the resort’s award winning culinary team. The evening continued with the much anticipated hospitality suite set up in Terrace Ballroom, including a Full Swing golf simulator, cigar rolling, and corn hole tournament.
After players enjoyed breakfast at either Jasmine Porch or the Ryder Cup Bar, the tournament began with shotgun starts at both Osprey Point and Ocean Course. The 70 degree temperatures and clear skies helped lead to some very impressive scores. The weather on day 2 was no less spectacular, and Duncan Gratton and Bill McQuillan of The Arsenal Project won the Low Net competition at 127, with David Egerton and Jay Kirkpatrick of Quick and Kirk putting up an impressive score of 132 to win the Low Gross competition.
While the tournament itself is the primary focus of the weekend, the extracurricular activities certainly don’t disappoint, and this year’s lineup was the most impressive to date.
The groups playing the Ocean Course each day were able to relax ocean front while taking in a show from award-winning trick-shot entertainer Todd Keirstead, whose evident passion has been largely inspired by his work with disabled veterans. The Osprey Point groups competed in a closest to the pin contest on the range after the tournament, with the individual winner taking home a two night stay in Charleston.
Another perk of this year’s weather was the ability to use Mingo Point for an Oyster Roast and barbecue on Friday night. One of the island’s gems, Mingo is a peninsula that juts into the Kiawah River and provides a quintessential Lowcountry experience, which was the perfect warm-up for The Stranger performing their covers of classic Billy Joel favorites, back at The Sanctuary until midnight.
Next year’s installment of Golf’s Fifth Major is scheduled March 9-12, 2017 and will give guests their first look at the newly redesigned Turtle Point. Jack Nicklaus and his team are in the midst of a 4.5 million dollar renovation to the course, with expectations that it will add another “must-play” to Kiawah’s phenomenal collection of courses.