Wednesday, February 26, 2014
This group of golfers — evolved to be called The Swafford Tour – has been playing Caledonia every year since 1994. Thursday, Feb. 20 proved the perfect day — sunshine, mild temperatures and daffodils blooming — for another memorable round.
The Swaffords are four big, brawny brothers with personalities that match appearances. They, quite literally, stumbled onto Caledonia in 1994 when the course they were scheduled to play cancelled tee times at the last minute due to an issue with damaged greens. In a frantic rush to accommodate their group of buddies, Caledonia — newly open to the public — was quick to extend a warm welcome. And the Swaffords have been returning every year — thanking their lucky stars.
“The course is always immaculate; the layout is great, and service is over the top,” said Dan Swafford. “We fell in love with the place the first time we drove down under the oaks, and it’s been our favorite course ever since.”
Twenty years ago when brothers and an ever-growing group of acquaintances played Caledonia for the first time, a random sentence in a golf guide suggested golfers drop in on a traditional Thursday fish fry with the property’s owners. They took advantage of the offer and have since become friends of John Springs, Doc Lachicotte and other of the property’s heavy hitters. Now those gentlemen are old friends and join them each year for a pig pickin’ and fish fry that follows the Swafford’s round of golf.
The four brothers, originally from Ohio, hail from far-flung states including Texas and Florida as well as their home state. They have all solicited fellow golfers to join them on a seven-to-ten day jaunt on the Grand Strand where they play 18 to 27 holes every day. Between seventy and one hundred men make the trek every year, and Caledonia remains their favorite. Fourteen states were represented this year, and participants’ ages range from twenties to seventies.
“We love this course,” said Dan. “And we’ll keep coming until I can’t swing a club.”