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Augie Swarat is Back

Augie Swarat begins a new stint teaching golf on the the Grand Strand. He's a new teaching pro at the private Reserve Club in Pawleys Island and believes he's "coming home."

He first came to the Grand Strand 43 years ago, and as the two-time head pro at Pine Lakes International Country Club he was instrumental in establishing the course as the "Granddaddy" of Myrtle Beach golf and growing the golf package business that fueled the Strand's growth.

"I would say Augie has a handprint or footprint on the whole Myrtle Beach golf scene. He's one of the pioneers," said former PGA of America president Gary Schaal, who was the Pine Lakes pro between Swarat's two stints.

Swarat also teaches the fluid motion of the swing rather than mechanics, and his teachings have been published in several magazines, including a four-page spread in the United States Golf Journal.

As a new instructor he'll be teaching the club members, with the possibility of adding outside clients.

"He still loves what he's doing and has a lot of enthusiasm about it," Reserve general manager Donald Clement said. "We rode around the facility and I could just see the enthusiasm he has to come back to the beach - one, to continue teaching - and two, also to be around his family and his daughter."

He also believes in giving quality customer service to their clients.

"We were strong in believing that when a customer drove into the driveway, we were responsible for him until he left the property," Swarat said "... We pampered people, which was an easy thing to do, and we had everybody doing the same thing consistently."

Swarat was also a confidant and essentially an extension of the creative and visionary Fred Miles, who first hired him, and his son Sandy, who hired him in the early '80s.

"We didn't have the best golf course in the world but we had an amenity," Swarat said. "What we had was something no building, no structure can have. You can't build it."

He also created and coached the Myrtle Beach High golf team - Reserve board member Mike Hirsch played on one of his teams - and mentored many area pros.

Looking back, Swarat got his start in golf as a 10-year-old entrepreneur and after 11 years, he's found his way back home.



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