Story by Ian Guerin
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | The farmer’s daughter turned mental health professional was looking for something that matched her personality. Christa Bodensteiner found it within the Myrtle Beach golf industry. Bodensteiner, the head golf professional and general manager at Tradition Golf Club, has spent the last two-and-a-half decades putting her abilities on display, much to the delight of her co-workers and visiting golfers. She’s worked at five different courses as a PGA teaching pro, mostly along the Waccamaw Golf Trail.
As such, she’s also the Founders Group International (FGI) South End Regional Operations Manager. Her climb up the industry ladder started when she took a flyer as an on-course photographer here on the Grand Strand after relocating from Iowa. “I wanted to try out the golf business but knew the golf season in Iowa was too short,” Bodensteiner said. “I had never been to Myrtle Beach or South Carolina, but I heard it was the ‘Golf Capital of the World’ so decided to move here. I thought I would be staying a year or so – that was 25 years ago.” After seven or so in the market, she landed her first head golf professional assignment at Litchfield Country Club. She stayed there until a recent move to the neighboring Tradition course.
Still, it hasn’t been a complete 180 from her childhood in Iowa. After all, it was there that her father was the first farmer to join the New Hampton Country Club. During many summer mornings, she and some of her eight older siblings would take to the property for all-day rounds or she would ride her bike there to fish for golf balls from the creeks lining the nine-hole course before heading home for daily chores. The idea of hard work stayed with her throughout her time at Loras College in Dubuque, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and then began working at a mental health center in Illinois for three years. That became “too stressful,” she said, and it was time for another profession. Yet, she never fully abandoned her former career path helping people away from golf.
Upwards of four nights per week, Bodensteiner volunteers for a pair of ministries – Celebrate Recovery and Martha’s House – helping either formerly incarcerated women reacclimatize to society, further recover from drug or alcohol abuse, or both. The next morning, she’s always back at the course, working in a profession promoting leisurely joy for countless locals and visitors alike. “I get to be around people who are happy most of the time,” she said. “There are some people who take golf too seriously, but most people are here to have a good time and they recognize the fact that golf is fun.”
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