Today the Palmetto High School Golf Championship attracts teams from coast to coast and is the largest tournament of its kind in the nation.
But before the event emerged as a proving ground for players as far away as California, Texas and Nevada, it began as a regional event that matched the best of North and South Carolina. The Palmetto, then known as the North-South High School Golf Championship, launched at Bay Tree Golf Club in 1998, the brainchild of Tracy Conner.
With the support of North Myrtle Beach High School, which continues as the host school, the inaugural tournament fielded 30 teams from the Carolinas and nearly doubled in size within three years, prompting Conner to open the event to schools from throughout the United States. When the tournament expanded, the name changed from the North-South to the Palmetto and Conner turned over the reins of the event to Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday.
From its first rounds at Bay Tree, the Palmetto field has grown to more than 100 teams and is played on some of nation’s best courses. The event’s 2010 course rotation included five layouts that have been ranked among “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” by Golf Digest and several others that are of similar quality.
After an 18-hole qualifying round, teams are separated into four flights, giving everyone a chance at victory, but the championship flight provides high-level competition. The 2009 Palmetto produced six teams that won state titles, 16 top 5 state tournament finishes, and half the teams finished in the top 12 of their state tournament.
The Palmetto’s prominent alumni include Ricky Fowler, the former Oklahoma State All-American who has earned over $8 million in 2 years on the PGA TOUR with a recent win at the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship!
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