Friends From Europe, US Coming to Hilton Head For Fisher Cup

By Lance Hanlin,

More than 30 golfers from the United Kingdom and Ireland are coming to Hilton Head Island this month to take on a group of American players for the ninth annual Fisher Cup.

The Ryder Cup-style event starts Oct. 5 and features four days of competition at four local courses: Arthur Hills (Palmetto Dunes), Robert Trent Jones (Palmetto Dunes), Harbour Town Golf Links (Sea Pines) and Oldfield (Bluffton).

Cash prizes will be awarded each day to the best team and in several closest-to-the-pin contests. The real prize comes at the end, though, with the winning team taking home the coveted Fisher Cup.

 “It is a fabulous time,” said Hilton Head Island resident Dave Fisher, who the event is named after. “All the players enjoy Hilton Head and both teams look forward to seeing their buddies from across the pond. The people at Sea Pines tell us that we are their largest private golf outing.”

The seed for the Fisher Cup was planted 20 years ago when Fisher purchased a house in Sea Pines. He started hosting up to eight friends each October for a long weekend of golf. While working at a company called 3dfx Interactive in the late 1990s, Fisher met Paul Davies and his business partner, Brendan Ryan. Both were manufacturing reps for 3dfx Interactive in the United Kingdom.

Fisher quickly became friends with the pair and began inviting them to the annual golf outing each October, which had grown to 24 golfers. After a few years, Ryan and Davies asked Fisher if they could bring a few more friends over from Europe. That bumped the size of the outing up to 32 golfers.

With so many European players, the group decided to institute the Fisher Cup in 2004. The competitive but friendly event is now capped at 72 players with nine standbys.

Competitors come from various backgrounds, ranging from roofers to the electronics field. Their handicaps are also on both ends of the spectrum, from a low of four to a high of 28.

The series is tied at four victories each heading into the ninth annual event. Team Europe has won the past two years.

“We have often thought about bringing the U.S. team over here or even somewhere like Spain, but to be honest, we love coming over every year so much, that thought doesn’t stay long,” said Davies, who serves as team captain for Europe. “Sea Pines and Hilton Head have made us feel so welcome. The courses are fantastic and the nightlife, though somewhat limited, is perfectly fine.”

Many European players stick around a few days after the event for work or relaxation. Favorite hangouts include The Crazy Crab, The Electric Piano, The Quarterdeck and Crane’s Tavern.

“Although winning the cup is important, the main emphasis is that everyone enjoys themselves,” Fisher said.

What: 2012 Fisher Cup (local event)
When: Oct. 5-8
Where: Arthur Hills (Palmetto Dunes), Robert Trent Jones (Palmetto Dunes), Harbour Town Golf Links (Sea Pines), Oldfield (Bluffton)
The skinny: A team of golfers from the United Kingdom and Ireland take on a team of United States players in a four-day, Ryder Cup-style event
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