Norman Set To Open New Teaching Facility In Myrtle Beach

Courtesy of Alan Blondin
Myrtle Beach Online

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH -- Greg Norman will be taking part in the ceremonies on Aug. 21 for the grand opening of the Greg Norman Champions Golf Academy at Barefoot Resort's expansive driving range.

Norman, a winner of 91 professional tournaments worldwide, including the 1986 and '93 British Opens, visited the area in August 2010 to announce the Barefoot academy location.

Greg Norman
Greg Norman will be at the grand opening of the Greg Norman Champions Golf Academy at Barefoot Resort on August 21.

The Shark attached his name to an academy at Long Bay Club in the spring of 2010 and the Greg Norman Champions Golf Academy has been operating at that location since.

"We've been here for two years with the Greg Norman Academy and its going well, and we're so excited to move to Barefoot," said academy owner Juan Manuel Fernandez, who moved to the Grand Strand from Mexico a couple years ago. "I believe it will be a huge opportunity for the kids around here and overseas. Hopefully we can move it forward and get it in the shape Greg wants it."

The ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:30 a.m. is open to invited guests only.

The Barefoot academy is the first of several planned Norman academies, and will likely remain the headquarters of the teaching facilities, Fernandez said.

The planning process has already begun for satellite locations in Jupiter, Fla.; British Columbia, Canada; and Cancun, Mexico - all locations have Norman-designed courses. Fernandez and Norman also hope to have locations in Hawaii and Mexico City.

Fernandez has been traveling with Norman a lot to publicize the academy. They have been to Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, multiple countries in Europe, and locations on the east and west coast of the U.S.

Norman designed one of Barefoot's four courses that opened in 2000 and his Greg Norman's Australian Grille is just across the Intracoastal Waterway at Barefoot Landing. Norman missed the cut two weeks ago in the Senior British Open and seldom plays competitive golf anymore. He's busy with a myriad of businesses that carry his name involving apparel, sunglasses, restaurants, golf course design, turf, a winery, beef exporting and golf tournament operation.

The Barefoot academy includes a driving range that has a hitting area approximately 75 yards long and 25 yards deep, and 14 measured target greens. The practice area also includes an 8,000-square-foot putting green, 1,000-square-foot flat putting green, 6,000-square-foot chipping green, and three practice bunkers with greens set up for 10-, 30-, 45- and 70-yard shots.

A 10,000 square foot clubhouse houses a gym, two classrooms, one meeting room, boys and girls locker rooms, three covered indoor/outdoor hitting bays, six offices, and a club repair and storage room.

The academy will have hourly and day lessons for the general public, and has 15 full-time students this school year between the ages of 14 and 21 that are living in The Farm in Carolina Forest, as well as several touring pros who receive instruction. On-site housing may be built in the future.

Coastal Carolina golf scholarship recipients Roberto Ballesteros and Frida Castillo attended the academy.

Norman will take part in the ribbon cutting along with Fernandez, North Myrtle Beach mayor Marilyn Hatley and Barefoot Resort owner Sam Puglia. Norman will go through a swing clinic and show students a good golf-specific workout on the gym's Cybex equipment.

Fernandez is awaiting responses from actors, actresses and golf pros he has invited to the opening.

He expects Norman to return twice in 2012, possibly in September and November, to check on the academy and students' progress.

For more information, visit the Greg Norman Champions Golf Academy online.



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