Tee it Up! "Here’s your 22nd chance to win that Mercedes-Benz"
Author: paul deVere
Just imagine. You’re on Harbour Town’s #17, that par 3 you love and hate. But the wind is down, the light is just right, and there’s that Mercedes-Benz off in the distance, just waiting for you to drop that little white ball in the cup with the ultimate golf shot—a hole in one! Your swing is perfect, your ball arcs perfectly up into the clear blue sky over Calibogue Sound. It begins to drop, pin high, dead on, then … you wake up. Your tee time for the 22nd Annual Mercedes-Benz Invitational Golf Tournament is only an hour away!
On December 15th and 16th, 288 golfers will tee off with a shotgun start at either Harbour Town Golf Links or Wexford for the 22nd Mercedes-Benz Invitational. It’s one of the island’s longest running charity events and, since its inception, has raised close to one half million dollars for the Auxiliary at Hilton Head Hospital. Net proceeds go to medical and nursing scholarships, prescription drugs for indigent patients, the Children’s Center of Hilton Head and Volunteers in Medicine.
“I can say it’s one of the best golf bargains on Hilton Head,” said Lew Wessel, tournament director. “You get to play Harbour Town and Wexford for $230. That’s less than one round at Harbour Town this time of year. And getting to play at a club like Wexford is a real delight. It’s in great shape.”
There are some changes in this year’s event that Wessel thinks will make it even more appealing to area golfers. “We used to play the tournament over several days to accommodate players. Now it’s just two days with a shotgun start. So everybody will finish at the same time on Tuesday. Following the tournament on Tuesday, we’re going to have an awards ceremony at the Champions Ballroom at Sea Pines Resort, including hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. We’ve never done that before,” Wessel said.
The number-one low net team will receive the Max Stein Trophy. Stein was the first tournament director, a position he held for 20 years. The top nine net teams and the top gross team will receive dining certificates for eight at one of the Lowrey Group’s five restaurants: The Old Fort Pub, Antonio’s, Boat House II, CQ’s or Ocean Grille.
“This is my second year as director,” Wessel said. “Max did such a good job at keeping our community of sponsors involved and supportive, it very gratifying. Gordon Faulkner, general manager at Modern Classic Motors, the Mercedes-Benz dealer, has come though again as our title sponsor, just as they have for all 22 years. What tremendous commitment.”
Each day, there is a box lunch for every golfer, courtesy of Bob Cook at the Shelter Cove Piggly Wiggly. “Bob is keeping up the Piggly Wiggly tradition. Every year they donate almost 600 lunches and beverages. It’s that kind of generosity that makes the tournament and this island so very special,” said Wessel. Other sponsors include Hilton Head Hospital, the Lowrey Group, the Island Packet and CH2 magazine.
Players will also receive a sleeve of Mercedes-Benz logoed golf balls each day and other tee gifts from the sponsors. There will be nearest-to-the-pin prizes on every par 3. The format is two best balls of the foursome and 90 percent handicap is allowed.
As for the Mercedes-Benz on Harbour Town’s No. 17? If a player gets a hole-in-one, he also gets the Mercedes. It’s that simple. And Modern Classic Motors’ Gordon Faulkner wants you to win! (Think of the publicity.)
Well, let’s put that into perspective. It shouldn’t be a problem. From the tips, 17 is 185 yards. From the blues, it’s 174. And from the whites it’s 152. It’s the #14 handicap hole on one of the greatest golf courses in the world. You can already feel that Mercedes key fob in your pocket.
Your odds? One in 12,750, according to the insurance company that is betting you’ll miss. What do they know? Go for it.