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Tackle PGA challenge at Kiawah

How many times have you wondered how your game would stand up to a major championship test?

The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort is offering you the chance to find out in August.

The host course for the 2012 PGA Championship will be set up Aug. 1-7 this year exactly as it will be set up next year when the world's best players take on Pete Dye's famous oceanside layout. The only thing the resort can't control is the wind, which makes up its own mind.

The Ocean Course will play 7,606 yards with the same green speeds and firmness as in tournament trim. The rough lines and rough lengths will be the same as for the PGA Championship and all those natural areas, spilling in and around dunes, will be there to catch errant shots.

"It's the dream of serious golfers everywhere, whether a scratch or a 30+ handicap, to play one of the world's great courses in the same conditions as the professionals play it in a major championship," Kiawah's director of golf Brian Gerard said.

There will also be a low-net competition among golfers who take the PGA challenge. It will require a certified USGA handicap and must be witnessed by an Ocean Course caddie with the winner receiving a two-night stay at the famous Sanctuary hotel with golf included.

The PGA Championship package is being offered at normal Kiawah golf rates, and packages are available by calling 800-576-1570 or visiting www.kiawah resort.com/ packages/golf .

Chip Shots

If you host the occasional golf outing for friends or business associates, the people at the Golf Club at Ballantyne are offering a free how-to-do-it properly session later this month. On Feb. 28, club officials will host a four-hour session taking guests through the process of hosting a successful golf event. The complimentary seminar also includes lunch. If you're interested, call 704-248-4383 or e-mail ngrosso@golf ballan tyne.com .

Jim Furyk, the 2010 FedEx Cup champion, will return for a second straight year to the Hootie & The Blowfish Monday After The Masters Celebrity Pro-Am on April 11 at Barefoot Resort in North Myrtle Beach. It will be the 17th playing of the popular pro-am hosted by Darius Rucker and his bandmates, which last year raised more than $300,000 for the band's foundation, which benefits educational needs for children in South Carolina as well as the S.C. Junior Golf Foundation. Tickets for this year's event will go on sale Feb. 26 through Ticketmaster outlets, the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach and Barefoot Resort.

Author Jim Dodson has been honored with the 2011 Donald Ross award given by the American Society of Golf Course Architects. The award is given to an individual who has made a positive contribution to golf and golf course architecture. Previous winners include Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Herbert Warren Wind and others. Dodson, who lives in Pinehurst, will be honored May 15 in Denver.

Carolinas-based McConnell Golf recently acquired Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, host of the PGA Tour's Wyndham Championship. Sedgefield joins a group of clubs that includes Raleigh Country Club, Cardinal Golf & Country Club in Greensboro, Treyburn Country Club in Durham, Old North State Club in New London, Musgrove Mill Golf Club in Clinton, S.C., and, The Reserve Golf Club in Pawley's Island, S.C.

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