Greg Sanfilippo took cover inside the clubhouse after a morning braving the Dye Course at Colleton River Plantation.
As the temperature Thursday pushed 100 degrees, Sanfilippo was hot but excited after experiencing the layout the United States Golf Association has chosen for the 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship.
"This golf course is going to stand up to the test of all the junior golfers, the world's best," said Sanfilippo, the USGA's director of the Junior Amateur and U.S. Senior Amateur. "It's going to be one of those golf courses that are going to challenge them not only off the tee, but coming into the green, with all the undulation. They're going to have to use every club in their bag in order to manage through this golf course that Pete Dye designed. It's really awesome."
Sanfilippo officially announced the venue as the site of the 2015 championship to a crowded room of Colleton River members and local dignitaries. The Junior Am will be the course's first USGA championship and will include two rounds of stroke play to determine the 64 players to advance to match play. The championship ends in a 36-hole final.
The process began more than two years ago with a letter from the club to the USGA, expressing interest in hosting a U.S. Open sectional qualifier and a U.S. Senior Amateur. USGA officials visited the site in April 2011 and liked the walkability and challenge of the Dye Course.
The par-72, Pete Dye design has hosted numerous USGA qualifiers, including its third U.S. Open local qualifier in May, U.S. Amateur sectional qualifiers in five of the previous six years and a U.S. Senior Open sectional qualifier. The course held the S.C. Golf Association's S.C. Amateur last year.
Members welcomed the chance to block off a week for the club's first USGA championship, said Al Thiess, Colleton River board chairman.
"I've always had the view, and our members have the view, that when you have a great golf course, I think once in a while-- not every year, but once every five or 10 years -- you ought to let the best players of some group of golfers play that golf course. You kind of owe that back to the game. I'm sure we'll look forward to another one if this goes well, which I'm sure it will."
Sanfilippo said once the golf course was deemed worthy, the logistics had to work. The clubhouse and locker rooms had to accommodate 156 players and allow movement of hundreds of people each day. After that, the USGA committee looked at local hotels and airports and the proximity to the course.
Colleton River fit the criteria. Sanfilippo said it would be up to the hosts as to whether the USGA brings the club another championship.
"Look at our track record with some of the venues we have repeated, because the golf course is great, the staff is great and the venue is spectacular," Sanfilippo said. "It would be up to the host club to see what else they'd be looking for down the line."