National women’s golf tourney planned for Blythewood

BLYTHEWOOD – The Women’s South Carolina Golf Association’s (WSCGA) 3rd annual South Carolina Open Championship is moving from Seabrook Island Club to Cobblestone Park this summer, Mayor Bryan Franklin announced at the Monday night zoomed town council meeting. He said the nationally televised tournament will be held Aug. 12 – 16, promising to bring as many as 3,000 – 4,000 spectators to the town.

Franklin said the event will bring over 500 touring professionals, senior tour and amateur players and nationally ranked amateurs. Players’ families, caddies, ancillary staff and several national publications and media will also attend, Franklin said, generating substantial revenue for local area hotels, restaurants and businesses in the town.

The change of venue came after the Seabrook Island Club course was closed this year for major renovations.

“This is an opportunity for Blythewood to host the event and, of course, if we do a great job with it this year, it might come back,” Franklin told council. “It’s something we may allocate money to.”

To bring the tournament to Blythewood, the WSCGA is requesting a $20,000 hospitality tax award from the town to go toward the projected $68,000 total budget for the event.

“That’s a lot of money, but once we get people coming to the tournament and the television stations start covering it, people in Blythewood can rent their homes out. All the hotels will be full. You can do Airbnb, all those kinds of things that will be a shot in the arm for the town,” Franklin said.

He said admission to the tournament will be free this first year to encourage citizens to come to it and see what’s going on.

Franklin said much of the credit for bringing the event to Blythewood goes to Kristi Coggins, a former University of South Carolina golf coach and a member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association, who lives in Blythewood.

“Kristi and her husband Buck have worked hard to bring this tournament to Blythewood,” Franklin said. “Everything here has been shut down and this event could start bringing people back to Blythewood, to get some much needed money in here to stimulate our local businesses and tourism – all that H-Tax and A-Tax revenue that we’re missing out on. This will help our town.”

Council also discussed awarding H-Tax and A-Tax funds to three other events.

The Big Red Barn has asked for the most – $25,000 (double what it received last year) – for a music event to be held in September or possibly next spring in Doko Park. The event’s organizers said the top attendance has been around 1,000. 

A new event, Queens of the Castle Basketball Showcase at Westwood High School is requesting $20,000 for a tournament to be held Dec. 3-5.

Bravo Blythewood has requested $5,000 for its annual Holiday Market to be held at the Manor, Nov. 5-7.

All H-Tax and A-Tax requests will be voted on at a later meeting or as event dates are finalized in conjunction with COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.