Myrtle Beach-based Craig Schreiner, president of Schreiner Golf, Inc. (SGI), has designed golf course projects throughout the North and Central America. He holds a BS in landscape architecture from Oregon State University and an AAS in turfgrass management from Ohio State University. He has designed such courses as Prairie Highlands Golf Course in Olathe, Kansas; The Signature of Solon in Solon, Ohio; Hawks View Golf Club in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin; and Beaver Creek Golf Course in Baton Rogue, Louisiana. The First Tee program has recognized Craig as its “resident architect,” since he has collaborated with PGA Tour player Tom Watson on a facility outside Kansas City, Missouri and worked on the design and construction of First Tee Facilities Clark Park in Baton Rouge and Mud Run in Akron, Ohio.

It took fifteen years of preparation, but after all my schooling, I was finally ready to get out there and design some courses, so I was trying to get my name out there by working with a headhunter who really taught me how to interview and market myself to the different firms. I was knocked over by the response I got! I had offers from Tom Watson, Tom Fazio, and several other famous firms. I even had a very rare offer from Jack Nicklaus to come on as a senior associate.

The headhunter I was working with had taught me how to put on my poker face and not jump at the first offer, but rather, to really wait for position that was right for me. But at the same time I was starving and my funds were beginning to depleted, and I needed to make some sort of a decision soon.

During this time I was debating over my different offers, I was at a golf event for the American Society of Golf Course Architects in Pebble Beach, California. During the first round of the three-day tournament, I made it to the most photographed hole in the world, Pebble Beach’s scenic, oceanside par three seventh hole.

I thought to myself, “Wow, wouldn’t it be spectacular if I were to make a hole in one today on the most famous hole in the world?” So I grabbed my three quarter wedge, aimed, and hit the ball solidly…and apparently perfectly, because it landed in the hole!

Later that evening, in the 19th Hole Lounge, I was enjoying the accolades, and thinking about my future. If all these different companies had an interest in hiring me, maybe I should go into business for myself? If everyone wanted me to work for them, I must really be ready to do this. If I could make an ace on the seventh hole, I could certainly start my own company, right? The ace gave me confidence. I considered it a “sign.” I decided, right then and there, to tell Mr. Nicklaus, and all the others, “No, thank you,” and start my own business instead.

My family about died when I told them I had declined the senior associate position with Jack Nicklaus. Everyone thought I was crazy.

I interviewed shortly after to build a course in Willoughby, Ohio. I was in the final three competing for the job, and ended up getting my first job.

I haven’t stopped since. I am in business with myself, all because of a revelation on the golf course through a hole in one.