South Carolina's best-kept secret in golf is going national, if not international, this weekend.
The Aiken Golf Club on Saturday will host a new event called The Thoroughbred, a 36-hole outing created by alternative golf media outlet The Fried Egg. Die-hard golf fans are coming from all over the country, plus some from Australia, to visit Aiken and play downtown's quirky, 107-year-old layout.
"We never expected this type of exposure for The Aiken Golf Club because we always consider ourselves just a small, South Carolina town, local golf club," said course owner Jim McNair Jr. "... Now, we're in their universe and we're being recognized all over the country."
Andy Johnson, founder of The Fried Egg, visited The Aiken Golf Club back in February and produced a story about the course and a podcast with McNair in early April. That was during a big stretch of exposure for the club, which had just been named "South Carolina's Best-Kept Secret" by the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel.
That exposure continued to grow, reaching hundreds of thousands of eyes and ears thanks to The Fried Egg, a visit from Erik Anders Lang and a pin on the Sugarloaf Social Club's Hidden Gem Project Map, among others. Now, instead of reading about the course or watching clips of other people play it, some 60-plus golfers are coming to Aiken to experience it for themselves in The Fried Egg's second-ever event.
"We believe in hosting our events at courses with outstanding architecture and stories. At Aiken, you get both," Johnson said. "Jim McNair is one of America's great 'one-course' architects, and at Aiken he fashioned one of the best courses in an area with a deep, historic golfing culture. We also love that it's an affordable, accessible facility that plays an important role in its community. Aiken Golf Club is really everything we look for in a golf course."
The format for the event is 36 holes, 18 of two-player best ball and 18 of alternate shot match play. After that is a horse race – perhaps better known as a shootout – to determine a champion, with prizes for the champions and runners-up to go along with tee gifts and other giveaways.
"It should be a relaxed atmosphere with a lot of fun, banter, and spirited competition," said Johnson. "At our last event, there was an immediate sense of camaraderie and inclusivity. It was as if we all already knew each other because of our shared passions and interests."
For more information, visit https://thefriedegg.com/the-thoroughbred-event/.
"We're honored to have guys from all over the country coming to visit Aiken," said McNair. "I'm really psyched for this weekend."