Letter to the Editor: LOCAL Life asked Cary Corbitt to share his thoughts on what it means to be local. Corbitt is VP of Sports & Operations for The Sea Pines Resort. LOCAL Life welcomes letters to the editor and comments to our website. Write to [email protected].
Does living in a certain place for a long time make one a local? Or is it loving your community and investing heart and soul to make a difference that qualifies one as a local?
I have been involved in the Lowcountry golf scene since I began my golf journey on Hilton Head Island more the 40 years ago. It all started when as a high school golf team player, Charles Fraser reached out to many of the South Carolina teams to ask if they wanted to volunteer for the 1969 Heritage (held in November that year). That experience pretty much convinced me that I wanted to pursue a career in golf and Hilton Head Island was where I wanted to be.
Once I graduated from Lander University in 1974, having attended on a golf scholarship, I secured a job working for Sen. Bill Cork. Wendy and I were married in 1975, and we began our life together on this Island paradise. In 1978, I took the plunge into the golf world and landed a job at the Sea Pines Plantation Golf Club, bagging carts and picking up the driving range. I was determined to work hard and secured my Class A PGA status. A couple years later I did achieve my PGA membership, and began working my way up through the ranks from bagging carts, to first assistant, to head pro, to director of golf, to VP of Sports & Operations for the Sea Pines Resort.
Along the way, people like Charles Fraser, Joe Fraser, Bill Cork, Donald O’Quinn, the Sea Pines associates, the Goodwins, Pete and Alice Dye and countless others invested in my life in one way or another and set wonderful examples of making a difference in this community.
Golf in the early days was not very organized so Tim Moss, Skip Malek, Karen Ferree and I were all area golf professionals, and it was a close-knit group. We were part of the Carolinas PGA, but the Lowcountry did not have any organized golf professional groups so we began to organize ourselves and incorporated the Hilton Head Island Golf Professional Association, which now is a chapter of the Carolinas PGA. We also formed the Hilton Head Island Junior Golf Association and the Island Cup Scholarship program to assist with young men and women with their college tuition. We eventually merged our scholarship program into the Heritage Classic Foundation’s Scholarship program. The Hilton Head Island Junior Golf program now serves hundreds of local young golfers each summer.
I take great pride in being a part of the Hilton Head Island community though my involvement with the Lowcountry Golf Course Owners Association, the Hilton Head Island/Bluffton VCB and the Sea Pines community where my wife, Wendy, and I live. Being involved is important if you want to be a part of moving our community forward and being a part of its success.
In today’s fluid economy, it is unusual for a person to stay in a job for virtually his/her entire career. I have worked in the golf industry for Sea Pines for 42 years. During that time there have been multiple owners – some good and some not so good. The current owners have brought wonderful stability to the community and have invested capital to rebuild and restore all three golf courses, both clubhouses and so much more.
Hilton Head Island is a wonderful place to live, and work, and raise a family. My wife, Wendy, and I have one son, Parker. Parker is married to Shannon Brackfield Corbitt, and they are the proud parents of 3-year-old Aiden Corbitt. LL