2011 Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame Induction
Simson, Strantz Voted into Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame
PINEHURST, N.C. – Accomplished amateur champion Paul Simson of Raleigh and the late Mike Strantz, a renowned golf course architect from Charleston, have been voted the 2010 inductees into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame.
Simson and Strantz will become the 68th and 69th members in the prestigious hall during an induction ceremony Aug. 23 at Pinehurst Resort. They’ll join such notable names as: Billy Joe Patton, Betsy Rawls, Arnold Palmer, Donald Ross, Ray Floyd, Peggy Kirk Bell, Charlie Sifford, Dale Morey, Beth Daniel, Jim Ferree and Tom Fazio.
Simson has won 22 Carolinas Golf Association championships, second all-time to Morey’s 24. The 59-year-old insurance executive is a four-time North Carolina Amateur champ (1991, ’96, ’00 and ’04), four-time Carolinas Mid-Am champ (1990, ’91, ’94 and ’97) and four-time winner of the N.C. Senior Amateur (2006, ’07, ’09 and ’10).
In addition, Simson twice won the coveted Carolinas Amateur (1991, ’95) and Carolinas Senior Amateur (2007, ’08).
Simson has been a winner throughout his golf career. He was an All-American at the University of New Mexico, two-time winner of the North & South Amateur at Pinehurst, and a two-time British Senior Amateur champion. He also racked up a number of mini-tour victories as a pro, and missed qualifying for the PGA Tour by a shot before regaining amateur status in 1978.
Strantz, an Ohio native, was working the grounds crew for the 1978 U.S. Open in Toledo when discovered by Tom Fazio. Strantz relocated to Hilton Head Island and helped Fazio sculpt such noted courses as Wild Dunes, Wachesaw, Wade Hampton and Black Diamond. Eight years later, Strantz moved to Charleston to begin his own design career.
Over the next two decades Strantz built a legacy as an innovative and maverick architect. In 1993, he crafted the Caledonia Golf and Fish Club on Pawley’s Island, S.C., the first of nine highly-regarded designs by Strantz before cancer cut his life short in 2005.
In addition to Caledonia, his body of work includes: True Blue (SC), Bulls Bay (SC),
Tobacco Road (NC), Tot Hill Farm (NC), Royal New Kent (VA), Stonehouse (VA), Silver Creek Valley (CA), and Monterey Peninsula Country Club - Shore Course (CA).
Stonehouse was named the top new course in 1996 by Golf Digest. In 1997, Royal New Kent was Golf Digest’s best new upscale golf course in 1997. True Blue Golf Club (1998) and the visually-striking Tobacco Road (1999) were both in Golf Digest’s top five new courses.
But the highest honor came as Golf World named him 1998 Golf Architect of the Year. Golfweek followed suit in 2000 by listing him among the 10 Greatest Architects of All-Time.
Meanwhile, Golf Digest continues to include a number of Strantz’s courses in its annual ranking of the Top 100 Modern Courses in America.
Membership into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame has been voted on annually by the Carolinas Golf Reporters Association since 1981. This year, for the first time, the CGRA was joined in the voting process by the North Carolina Golf Panel and South Carolina Golf Panel.