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In his recent visit to the Grand Strand, The Traveling Golfer host Tony Leodora caught up with Meredith Kirk to discuss her many roles in the Myrtle Beach golf scene, and to play the second hole at Founders Club at Pawleys Island.
Tony Leodora: Meredith Kirk. She has more hats than I have, I think. The official ambassador to Myrtle Beach golf and, of course, LPGA teaching professional. Lead instructor at the Dustin Johnson Golf School at TPC Myrtle Beach. Golf Digest named you as one of the top 40 young instructors in the entire country.
Meredith Kirk: It's such a privilege to be amongst this group of instructors because they're all amazing. I learn from all of them as well. You never get to a point where you know it all, so I've just got to continue learning and doing the best I can for my students.
Tony: Tell me a little bit about the role of ambassador for Myrtle Beach golf. How'd that come about?
Meredith: In 2009, I became a Myrtle Beach Golf Ambassador and it's wonderful. I grew up in this area, going to high school and college here, and I know the golf courses really well. I was a junior golfer. I've been teaching for so many years now and it's just a really good fit. I get to really celebrate all of these courses.
So many amazing things you can do while you're here playing golf in Myrtle Beach. You have these live oak trees and you get to see all these amazing birds.
Tony: When you're playing on the South End, you might as well take advantage of the rest of the atmosphere there, and that means some different shopping, restaurants, places to go and have a good time.
Meredith: Oh, yes. The food down here is great and if you love that southern Lowcountry cuisine, you will find it here, as well as places you can go and hear live music. Everyone is really laid back. In comparison to Myrtle Beach, which Myrtle Beach is great in itself, if you're wanting just to chill out and just have a few days, you want to relax a bit, this is a great place to come.
Tony: From the days of just the guy trips, I think we're seeing more and more women coming down on women trips to the Myrtle Beach area.
Meredith: Oh, absolutely. Myrtle Beach has grown so much. The shopping here is phenomenal.
Tony: Yeah, that wasn't put in for the guys. We know that.
Meredith: There are so many great places to go to shop and little boutiques. You have the outlet malls, which are great. Golf is becoming so much more accessible to women. There are more women playing golf. They have so many flights that are going in and out of Myrtle Beach and so many destinations are coming here that you can connect and get here. It's a great place to come.
Tony: 2014, like you had extra time, you decided to enter a beauty pageant. How did that come about?
Meredith: Well, I used to coordinate a PGA Junior League program here in South Carolina and when I was coordinator of that program, a lot of the kids could not afford golf equipment to play in it. It concerned me as an instructor and I want every child to have the opportunity to play golf and so I came up with this program called the Junior Golf Exchange where children can get fitted golf equipment, a complete set, at not cost.
I would need media attention for this project, and so I thought, "Hmm, how can I do this?" With the help of some of my friends, we came up with the idea of entering the Mrs. South Carolina pageant, which I have never been in a pageant, and really borderline tomboy myself, wear fake lashes, walk around in a two-piece and six inch heels. I learned quite a bit.
Tony: Number two at the Founders Club looks like a pretty straight hole until you see water all the way down the right, trouble left. Water in front of the green. What's the strategy?
Meredith: Well, I think the strategy for this hole is to definitely set up for a draw and just give it as much power as you can. This is a power shot because with that water in front of the green, for me, I want to get as much distance as I can, so I am using a shorter club as I'm coming to approach the green.
Tony: All right. I'm going to with a little different strategy: airborne. That's all I'm thinking of. There's the draw.
Meredith: That felt good. I got my draw.
Tony: Well, we followed directions. We got to the left side of the fairway. A little side hill lie, but classic bottleneck hole. The farther you hit it, the more it narrows down.
Meredith: I know.
Tony: Hazard on the other side. Let's see how we do. Oh, baby. Go in. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
Meredith: Let's switch jobs. You start teaching me, okay?