Larry Sullivan

Larry Sullivan

Okay, if you insist. I’ll take the challenge personally.

Childhood friend and longtime golfing buddy “Stick” is a stickler for details. No, that’s not the real reason we have shouldered him with the nickname. In his younger days, when he turned sideways, he was so thin that his shadow resembled nothing more than a stick in the ground. Though the shape of his body has changed somewhat over the years, the moniker remains the same.

It’s much the same way in which his mind has been made concerning the quality of golf courses.

It Stick had his way, and there have been times during our rounds when the subject matter has emerged, he would spend all his free time playing golf on layouts spread across South Carolina’s Grand Strand. It’s often been a wish of his to start by stopping at the very first golf course he sees upon officially entering the beach area and not return until he has played a round at every one of the sites. He figures it would take several months to complete such a mission.

Stick is adamant about the fact that the golf spreads in place surrounding the sandy seashore are the best there are.

I have often disputed that particular claim.

Take a glance at just about each and every one of the courses. See anything familiar? See anything different? The answers are yes and no. That’s my point. It’s one I’ve tried with limited success to make to Stick since we started playing together regularly a generation ago.

The Grand Strand consists of mirror-image courses spread out all across the flat territory. Just as many of them have closed up shop due to lack of play over the past several years as those that have continued to thrive. I can’t help but believe that the lack of originality due to the same kind of sandy look in place is a contributing factor to that fact.

Still, I’m one who has to be convinced.

So, beginning later this week, I’m once again on tap to tee off on my personal mission to support my belief.

Given rathers, I’d much better prefer the courses carved from unique surroundings in place along the mountains. No sights are considered the same.

My trek actually begins at the host Mt. Mitchell Golf Course. One visit there, and I sincerely believe that even Stick would change his tune. It accounts for another in a regular routine of such annual ventures in which no two such visits have ever been the same.

Over the years in which we have featured a maximum number of 32 players comprised primarily of area players, there have been contrasting reports of visitors. Sightings have been confirmed of wildlife ranging from squirrels to deer. Crawling critters have also been cell-phone photographed. Rumors have swirled over the spotting of bears but no actual proof has ever been recorded.

And yes, there is the golf course to consider. The site actually sits in a valley surrounded by the actual peak of Mt. Mitchell. At various locations around the public 18-hole facility, one can view the observation tower allowing a spectacular view of the peak that rises to 6,683 feet as is the highest such elevation in the Appalachian Mountain and the most elevated on the mainland of North American. Say no more.

So go ahead, Stick, and match that. It’s full fodder to support my side of the debate as to which courses are considered to be the best.

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