Florence Country Club dedicates Grant Bennett Teaching Center
Hall of Fame golfer Tom Watson on hand to take part in ceremony
With dozens of onlookers peering out from the refuge of their umbrellas, Ben Ziegler spoke of the legacy left behind by former Florence Country Club golf pro Grant Bennett.
“If it hadn’t have been for Grant doing what he did 50 years ago, I think Florence Country Club would be a very different place today,” said Zeigler, Chairman of the South Carolina Junior Golf Association.
Zeigler’s remarks came during a dedication ceremony on June 15 for the country club’s newest addition, the Grant Bennett Teaching Center. The teaching center, which won’t officially open until later this year, was made possible by monetary contributions from John Orr, Steven McKay and Heyward King. The project was assisted by Tom Watson Golf Course Design. The company, headed by hall of fame golfer Tom Watson and his partner, Robert Gibbons.
The company designed the chipping green located near the new learning center. Watson, an eight-time major winner, gave a free clinic on the green prior to the dedication ceremony.
“One of the things about old golf clubs is they never have a practice facility, a facility where you could go to hit golf balls,” said Watson. “The whole idea here was to expand the length of the range, add a nice facility in here.”
Bennett, a hall of fame teaching professional who established one of the nation’s most powerful junior programs in the 1950s and into the ‘60s, served as the head golf pro at Florence Country Club from 1951 until ‘64. Bennett passed away in 2005.
Just before four ceremonial golf balls were driven to complete the dedication ceremony, Zeigler paused and gazed at the new facility behind him and smiled.
“This is the culmination for what Grant Bennett started almost 70 years ago,” he said. “He would be very pleased.”