Thank you Readers of Island Packet for voting Callawassie Island Best Community and Best Wedding Venue! See our except from the paper here!
Callawassie Island celebrated the grand tradition of Wimbledon, Friday, June 23. Serving up a unique twist on the oldest tennis tournament in the world, Callawassie residents play their own Wimbledon, “Callawassie Style”, on a pair of makeshift tennis courts, overlooking the marsh on the Dogwood golf course's ninth fairway.
This will be the ninth consecutive year that Callawassie Island hosts the event in tribute to the annual grass-court championships! Nine years ago, the Callawassie Island golf courses were closed for renovation when resident Tennis Pro, Bill Hoppe, got the idea for the event. He asked the golf course superintendent at the time about creating grass tennis courts on a fairway, and with his full support the two men proceeded to make this iconic event a reality.
It takes a village to make an event of this caliber come to fruition. Led by Callawassie’s current Golf Course Superintendent, Ryan Watson, the golf course maintenance crew prepares two grass courts on Dogwood #9, setting up nets, painting lines and mowing the grass to the sufficient height. These makeshift courts may not be as compact as true grass courts, which can make play difficult at times as the balls do not bounce nearly as high as they do on traditional grass courts. For those who are used to playing on Callawassie’s six Har-Tru tennis courts, it may take some time adjusting to both the lower and slower speed of play.
Forty people participated in this year’s event and several residents came out to cheer on their favorite players. Even the Queen of England “Callawassie Style” took time out of her busy schedule to make an appearance, gliding across the courts in true royal fashion, halting play momentarily, leaving everyone slack jawed and star struck. In true Wimbledon fashion, players and spectators wear all white clothing just as they do in London. No event is complete without some delicious bites to nosh on. Leave it to Callawassie’s Executive Chef, Jim Spratling, to prepare a spread of traditional Wimbledon fare for spectators to enjoy, including scones, cucumber sandwiches, strawberries and cream and champagne mimosas.
With Hoppe’s vision, and the support of General Manager, Jeff Spencer and his staff, Callawassie Island has differentiated its tennis program from any other in the area.
Callawassie Island has achieved designation as a "Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary" through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses. Billy Bagwell, Director of Agronomy, led the effort to obtain the sanctuary designation for Callawassie and is recognized by Environmental Stewardship by Audubon International. Callawassie Island is one of 23 golf courses in South Carolina to hold the title of Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.
"Callawassie Island Club has shown a strong commitment to its environmental program. They are to be commended for their efforts to provide a sanctuary for wildlife on the golf course property," said Tara Donadio, Director of Cooperative Sanctuary Programs at Audubon International. "To reach certification, a course must demonstrate that they are maintaining a high degree of environmental quality in a number of areas," explained Donadio. These categories include: Environmental Planning, Wildlife & Habitat Management, Outreach and Education, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, and Water Quality Management.
There are 901 golf courses in the world to hold the title of Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Golf courses from the United States, Africa, Australia, Canada, Central America, Europe, New Zealand and Southeast Asia have achieved certification in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program.
“We are so excited to receive this certification! We are so proud to be a National Wildlife Habitat, and are thrilled to add another environmental-friendly milestone to our portfolio,” said Lindsey Cooler, Communications and Membership Director at Callawassie Island.
The legendary Tom Fazio took Callawassie Island’s natural beauty into consideration when he designed the private, award-winning, championship 27-hole course. With the information and guidance provided by the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses and Mr. Bagwell’s continued efforts, Callawassie Island will preserve and enhance wildlife habitats and protect natural resources on its golf courses for years to come. Callawassie Island gives thanks to the Ecology Committee, who helped with the bird counts and lists of wildlife on the island, as well as the community outreach programs that led to the recognition from this certificate.
"For our golf course to get this recognition from the Audubon Society is kind of a thrill," Billy Bagwell said. "As South Carolina's first Community Wildlife Habitat, certified by the National Wildlife Federation, we welcome Audubon's interest and recognition."
Audubon International is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Troy, NY. In addition to golf courses, Audubon International also provides programs for businesses, schools, communities, and new developments with the purpose of delivering high-quality environmental education and facilitating the sustainable management of natural resources. For more information, call Audubon International at 1-844-767-9051 or visit www.auduboninternational.org.