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Is the Nationwide Tour a Better Value than the PGA Tour?

Andy Reistetter@GolfWriter59Analyst IMay 17, 2010

Featured Columnist Andy Reistetter was on site in Greer, South Carolina outside Greenville for the Nationwide Tour's BMW Charity Pro-Am.

 

The entranced woman was compelled to go up to and say hello to Kurt Russell in the lobby of the hotel.

 

After all he was "Wyatt Earp" to her.

 

1993. Tombstone , Arizona.

 

"Already got a guilty conscience might as well have the money too ."

 

"Really? What about hell? They got a sign or what?"

 

All the woman's boyfriend could do was watch, take another sip of his vodka, and make a mental note that women, even his woman, are attracted to the bad guy once in a while, if not always!

 

The BMW Charity Pro-Am on the Nationwide Tour—it is as good as it gets and then some.

 

Want to meet a celebrity like Kurt Russell, toss a football around with Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, or get caught up in the excitement of beautiful actress Paula Trickey making a birdie putt?

 

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Well then you should have come out to the Pro-Am last week, which was played in the upstate region of South Carolina and right across the border in North Carolina, on three different golf courses.

 

The Nationwide Tour may be a better value than the PGA Tour, from a spectator's perspective.

 

Whether you come out to see the stars, or to see great golf, it is relatively inexpensive, definitely hassle free, and certainly enjoyable.

 

This past week you could do both while surrounded by the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

 

And, by the way, while you were relaxed it was very likely that you would have been inspired by what you saw.

 

Whether or not you expected to be inspired.

 

How about a blind man playing golf and playing it well?

 

Meet Phil Blackwell.

 

Or a man with no arms playing the game, with no aids, and likely doing so better than you or me?

 

Meet Butch Lumpkin.

 

The Nationwide Tour staged its most fun event with 168 celebrities and amateurs competing alongside 168 professional golfers.

 

Why not have a little fun at work?

 

Nationwide Tour President Bill Calfee, Golf Channel producer Keith Hirschland, and television host Jerry Foltz, along with the players, are the face of the Nationwide Tour.

 

Many others helped out, as the event was televised with more than 10 hours of coverage worldwide on the Golf Channel.

 

No need to get into a contentious argument over which tour is a better value.

 

From a charity point of view, they both give back to the communities where their events are staged.

 

At Thornblade Club, all it took was a five-minute questionnaire, and cotton swabs to the four recesses of your mouth, and you are on a National Marrow Donor Registry  

to help young girls find a desperately needed match like 14 year old Alex Carver who is in her second fight against Leukemia.

 

"Be the Match-" who knows you could be the one in a million?

Worried about identity theft filling out a form like that?

 

Maybe doing something like that will help you find your true identity?

 

Working too hard and need to recalibrate for a bit?

 

Why not volunteer at a Nationwide tournament?

 

I was privileged to meet Justine Allen and Tournament Director Darin MacDonald.

 

Both have been with the BMW charity tournament since day one, which was 10 years ago.

 

Want to see joy and excitement on somebody's face.

 

Go meet those two folks!

 

There is a reason why a guy like Darin can take a leap of faith.

 

On Saturday night, after introducing country singer Pat Green, Darin literally ran off stage and jumped into the audience to do some crowd surfing in the mosh pit.

 

Trusting that his fall would be broken, or at least softened, he never hit the ground.

 

Loyalty, trust, charity—that is the Nationwide Tour.

Oh, by the way, Pat Green, who won the Pro-Am event four years ago, could not compete this year due to concert engagements.

But he came anyways to support an exemplary charity event.

Maybe Nationwide is better than being a good neighbor, it is more like family!

 

Oh yeah, do not be mistaken, this is business for these professional golfers who are "PGA Tour Driven."

 

These guys on the Nationwide Tour are really good while competing there and after graduating to the big tour.

 

Arguably, the level of play of the best golfers on both tours is comparable when stressed under intense competitive pressure.

 

On Sunday afternoon, after a short weather delay in Greenville, Justin Hicks' hit a drive with his seven-iron from 169-yards uphill on the 72nd hole, which stopped three feet from the hole.

 

With the ensuing birdie he sealed his second career win on the Nationwide Tour.

 

Raleigh, Columbus, the Midwest, Texas, Florida, and the long way to Daniel Island in nearby Charleston are the destinations for the Tour Championship in late October.

 

This tour is coming to your hometown sometime soon.

 

There is no doubt that 25 players will graduate to the big tour at the end of the season.

 

Don't miss it, because it is something special—all of it!

 

 

Please note: The host club for the BMW Charity Pro-Am was the Thornblade Club with The Carolina Country Club in Spartanburg and Bright's Creek Golf Club in Mill Creek, North Carolina also were in the rotation.

 

 

Andy Reistetter is a freelance golf writer. He follows the PGA TOUR volunteering and working part time for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, and The Golf Channel.

 

He resides in Jacksonville Beach, Florida near the PGA TOUR headquarters and home of The PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach.

 

He enjoys pursuing his passion for the game of golf and everything associated with it. He can be reached through his website www.MrHickoryGolf.net or by e-mailing him to AndyReistetter@gmail.com

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