story by Cindy Reid
photos by John Wollwerth
As First Assistant Golf Professional at Dataw Island Club, Chris Fearn spends his days in beautiful surroundings doing something he loves. Not playing golf, but helping people of all skill levels enjoy a rewarding (and maddening!) sport. And as befitting our lowcountry ties to the military, Chris’ love of the links has lead directly to his involvement with fundraising for our nation’s military veterans.
As he tells it,” I started at the Dataw Island Club in 2013. I was there during their veterans fundraising tournament, and it was a big success. It was very rewarding and so I had the thought we could create more fundraisers.”
He continues, “I had heard of an event called a ‘Golf Marathon’ but there weren’t any happening close to our area, so I decided to start a one-man, one day ‘Golf Marathon.’ How it works is that I take pledges for each hole I can play in one day. The first year I started with a goal to raise $5000 and I raised $13,500! Thanks to the community’s generosity, the Golf Marathon just grows bigger every year.”
It sure has:
2014 – 1st Year- $13,500 raised
2015 – 2nd Year- $19,500 raised
2016 – 3rd Year -$ 28,500 raised
2017 – 4th Year – $36,000 raised
Beneficiaries have been the OnCourseFoundation USA, the Green Beret Fund, and the SMGA Association. This year Chris has partnered with Tee it Up for the Troops, which supports local veteran’s organizations.
The Golf Marathon is not your average round of golf. In 2016, running from shot to shot, Chris was able to complete 191 holes. That is the equivalent to playing 10 ½ rounds of golf, in one day. Last year Chris played over 200 holes. You have to get up pretty early to get 200 holes of golf in one day. He says, “The Golf Marathon takes place right after the daylight savings change so I have limited daylight. I start just before dawn, and the members bring their golf carts and shine their headlights on the course so I can play early in the morning. I have glow-in-the dark golf balls and play right up until the sun goes down.” Chris says the Golf Marathon is a crazy day that ends with a big splash. He says “Two hundred members show up to root me on and we have the coolest party when it’s over. The members are very giving. Dataw is a great place to be!”
Chris’s volunteer involvement continues throughout the year. He volunteers with wounded veterans through the OnCourseFoundation USA, where he coaches the US team. And for the last three years, Chris has coached the American Simpson Cup team, an annual Ryder Cup-style tournament between teams of 13 injured servicemen and veterans from the USA and their British counterparts. (This year Wounded Warrior Chad Pfeifer is the team Captain)
Originally from Fredericktown, Ohio, Chris says, “I actually played every sport in high school and raced motocross. Golf was just for fun. But after high school, I got it into even more.” He studied Business Management Technology at the University of Akron and moved to the lowcountry eight years ago to attend Professional Golfers Career College in Bluffton. In addition to being the First Assistant Golf Professional at Dataw Island Club, Chris is in the Carolina section PGA, in the Hilton Head PGA chapter.
Chris has another big event coming up. He and fiancée Chelsea McGowan are getting married on Sept 29. Fittingly they met at Dataw and that’s where they will wed. Chris says they plan on staying in the area because “The lowcountry is a perfect fit for us.” He says his favorite lowcountry fun is “playing golf!” and he and Chelsea love fishing, paddle boarding and kayaking. Favorite place? He say is it really is Dataw Island. Chris says, “I always say if you can’t live there you can work there!”
Save the date:
November 06, 2018
Dataw Island Veterans Golf Classic to Benefit Tee It Up for the Troops.
Dataw Island Golf Club
100 Dataw Drive
St Helena Island, SC 29920
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