As a head pro and assistant on the Grand Strand for the better part of two decades, Willie Love has been on the giving end of many charitable events each year.
Golf course owners and operators regularly give up their courses for a nominal or no fee for the multitude of charity tournaments held on the Strand each year. If they’re not hosting a tournament, they’re often providing free round vouchers as part of the prize pool or auction items for charity tournaments on other courses.
So Love is very familiar with how generous the golf market is as a whole, often sacrificing profits for good causes.
Yet in his time of need, following a long and difficult surgery on Nov. 12 to replace a cancerous jaw bone with part of his fibula and potentially facing a continued battle against cancer, the level of the area golf community’s benevolence was still surprising to him.
On a rainy Saturday on Nov. 23 at Sea Trail Golf Links, 55 teams (220 players) showed up for a tournament to benefit Love that required two courses, and another 88 players participated in a fundraiser just a week later at Black Bear Golf Club, where Love is currently an assistant.
“It gave me a whole new look as someone on the receiving end,” Love said. ““The amount of support shown at Sea Trail Golf Resort and Black Bear Golf Club was enough to make me realize that the golf business in Myrtle Beach and surrounding areas is the strongest in the country.
“Not only in number of rounds or hotel rooms occupied, but it is the most compassionate and giving group of businesses and residents who are willing to give back something you don’t receive in your salary or at the bag drop. Faith and peace of mind have been given to [wife] Angela and my families. Those two are what separates our Grand Strand from any other area.
“. . . One thing that keeps me calm is knowing everyone is on this journey with me.”