Four college golf teams have sought warmer weather to prepare for the spring schedule.
Michigan State coach Casey Lubahn hopes that number grows in the future. But for the inaugural Colleton River Intercollegiate held at the private community's Dye course, the Spartans will host Penn State, University of Michigan and University of Detroit-Mercy.
The Spartans have visited Bluffton the past four years as guests of former Michigan State golfer Al Thiess, who is Colleton River's board chairman.
"We use it as a practice stop, get a chance to connect with Al and practice and get out of the colder weather and have used it as a place to tune up our games," Lubahn said.
Michigan State will be competing in its first stroke play tournament of the spring after reaching the finals of the Big Ten Match Play Championship in February. Some of the Spartans had played as many as five rounds on Colleton River's Dye course before Tuesday's practice rounds. Some are new to the layout.
With firm winter conditions, Lubahn said approaching the course's imaginative green complexes would be key.
"It puts you on the defensive a little bit," he said. "...You're going to have to be really specific about entering the greens and staying away from some troublesome pins."
Lubahn said he targeted a small field of northern schools, which would benefit from a week of warmer weather. Planning next year's event will begin soon after the inaugural tournament ends.
The Spartans hope Colleton River becomes an annual spring break destination for bigger and better events.
"If they're happy with it and the membership is happy, we'd love to come back," Lubahn said. "I think we could host a very elite college event here this time of year."
Colleton River Intercollegiate
Who: Host Michigan State, Penn State, University of Michigan, University of Detroit-Mercy
What: 54-hole men's college golf tournament
Where: Colleton River Plantation's Dye course
When: Today and Thursday
Details: Play today will start with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun, with the first two rounds played back-to-back. The final round will tee off from 8 a.m. until 9:12 a.m. Thursday, with awards and a cookout scheduled for 2 p.m.