Story by Ian Guerin
PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. | About midway between Charlotte and Fayetteville, N.C., the tiny town of Troy served as golf proving ground for Brian Lewis. Operation Iraqi Freedom took care of the rest. Lewis, currently the head golf professional at Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club, went from a job in construction and welding to serving as a nurse in the U.S. Army Reserves to a civilian post at Hancomb Air Force Base in Massachusetts to looking for a different path. With a fresh perspective from the military life, he found it in the sport he learned from his father and uncle in and around little ol’ Troy at the Uwharrie Golf Course and Densons Creek Golf Course.
“It was a great course that anyone could play,” Lewis remembered of Uwharrie, which closed in 2015. “It wasn’t a special design, just a course someone carved out of an old farm in the hills of the Uwharrie Mountain range. (Denson’s Creek) was the home course to West Montgomery Warriors high school golf team. I have walked through the hills of that course more times than I can count. When I go home to visit, I always try to stop in and play at least nine holes with my high-school buddy. Playing there never gets old. I don’t think I’ve had the same lie in the 28 years that I have played the course.”
The diversity of his rounds at Densons Creek coincides with what attracted him to the Grand Strand golf market, where he has always appreciated the quantity of quality courses. He was accepted into a teaching program and almost immediately began working as an assistant at Blackmoor Golf Club. Within two years, he had graduated from the Golf Academy of America in Myrtle Beach and was being promoted up the ranks.
All those other experiences had brought him back full circle to the game he loved. It made sense, since the appeal of golf was a natural one for him from the beginning. As a youngster in Troy, he had already played football, basketball and baseball. “I figured I wanted to try out that golf ball,” Lewis said. “Little did I know that it would set me on a track for some of the most fun times of my life – as well as some of the most frustrating.” And also rewarding.
In addition to Blackmoor and Pawleys Plantation, he also spent time learning the ropes at River Club and Myrtle Beach National. In 2016, he was given the top job at Pawleys Plantation, the Jack Nicklaus course that draws plenty of golfers south from Myrtle Beach. Since taking over, he’s been recognized for leading a staff that frequently draws high marks for customer service.“My decision to change careers has been the best move of my working life,” Lewis said. “I enjoy getting up every day and coming to work. I enjoy interacting with our membership and our package guests from across the country and the world.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of series of stories illuminating the men and women serving as Golf Professionals at Myrtle Beach-area golf courses
Ian Guerin is a DJ and freelance writer based in Myrtle Beach. You can follow him on Twitter @iguerin and Facebook facebook.com/IanGuerinWriter/