Organizers of the Hilton Head Island Celebrity Golf Tournament say they've weathered the recession that last year clouded the future of the 30-year-old charitable event.
The tournament, which did not sell out the past two years, should easily do so this year, thanks to a recovering economy and a new course that has enhanced the event's attractiveness, tournament chairman Paul Smith said.
Organizers recently added the Colleton River Plantation Club's Pete Dye Course, which Smith described as "a world-class golf facility," to the tournament's lineup of locations. The move quickly caught the eye of potential participants.
"The interest immediately piqued" among celebrities and non-celebrities alike, Smith said. "We fully expect to sell out without a problem."
The three-day event, scheduled for Labor Day weekend, also will be played on the Robert Trent Jones Course at Palmetto Dunes and Harbour Town Golf Links in Sea Pines. Those courses have regularly hosted the event.
The event will begin Sept. 2 at Palmetto Dunes with an opening ceremony honoring the development's parent company, Greenwood Communities and Resorts, which has provided a course every year since the tournament's 1979 inception.
It will move to Colleton River on Sept. 3 and Harbour Town on Sept. 4.
The tournament will feature 32 to 35 five-person teams, each of which will include a celebrity, Smith said.
It benefits 20 Lowcountry children's charities and has contributed more than $3 million to charity since it began.
Last year's celebrity participants included Bret Baier of Fox News, celebrity chef Robert Irvine, Brian Baumgartner of NBC's "The Office," ESPN anchor Jon Barry, Super Bowl champion Dwight Hicks, NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander and CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano.
Organizers also have named two new members to the tournament's Council of Trustees: Dianne Crowley, owner of Wild Wing Cafè, and celebrity chef Robert Irvine.