Meredith Kirk’s pageant career just might be over, but the LPGA teaching pro from Murrells Inlet isn’t done garnering attention for both her attractiveness and the impact she’s making in the golf industry.
Kirk, 36, recently completed her nearly one-year reign as Mrs. South Carolina when she transferred the crown to the new Palmetto State candidate for Mrs. America in mid-October.
The accolades have hardly ended there. In the few weeks since then, she was named one of the 40 “Best Young Teachers (under 40) in America” for 2014-15 by Golf Digest, and has been chosen one of the 10 “Most Beautiful Women in Golf” for 2014-15 by Golf Magazine.
“I think I’m on a lucky streak right now,” Kirk said. “I’m just riding the wave right now. I guess they forgot to check my birth date.”
The recognition by Golf Digest came in the November issue. The most beautiful list appears in the December issue of Golf Magazine that is expected to be released next week and will also be featured on the magazine’s affiliated Golf.com website.
Kirk had a photo shoot Wednesday at Reunion Resort in Orlando. She said her attire for the pictures consisted of evening and cocktail dresses, and one of the sessions was shot on an 11th-floor rooftop at sunset.
“It was a lot of fun because they gave me the opportunity to choose what I wanted to wear, so I chose some things I probably wouldn’t normally wear as a mother of three,” Kirk said. “The outfits I wore were amazing. I chose some things that were kind of out of the box for me.
“It was incredible. It was an amazing experience. Everything about it was top-notch.”
Kirk said others named to the most beautiful list include Holly Sonders of Fox Sports, pro golfer and model Blair O’Neal, Golf Channel personality Lauren Thompson and LPGA Tour member Sandra Gal, who was with Kirk on the Wednesday shoot that also involved video.
Myrtle Beach has made the most of the list, as marketing cooperative Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday previously hired O’Neal to host “The Golf Buzz” on its website, and Thompson has attended the Hootie & the Blowfish Monday After the Masters Celebrity Pro-Am at Barefoot Resort to host a one-hour highlight show on Golf Channel. In addition to being a teaching pro at Blackmoor Golf Club, Kirk is a spokesperson for National Golf Management, which operates 23 Grand Strand courses.
Kirk planned to play a round of golf Thursday before her return to the Strand, possibly at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge.
Prior to the end of her Mrs. South Carolina reign, Kirk participated in the Mrs. America pageant in late August at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Ariz. Pageant activities lasted a week and Kirk made the event a three-week excursion by driving to and from the pageant in a Dodge Durango with her husband Landon, a chiropractor, and youngest son, Jordan, 7. Her other sons, 12-year-old Solomon and 13-year-old Benjamin, flew to Tucson and drove back with the rest of the family.
She took the opportunity to not only see much of the country but promote her passion, the Junior Golf Exchange (www.juniorgolfexchange.org), which she created last December. The program provides new and used clubs and equipment to children ages 14 and younger at no cost through monetary and equipment donations at participating golf courses.
The Durango was covered with large magnets promoting the Junior Golf Exchange and featuring Kirk in a red, white and blue golf outfit with red high heels and a golf club. “I’m sure people were like, ‘Who is that person? What is she doing?” Kirk said.
Kirk Googled different golf courses along the way that were close to the interstates she was traveling and stopped in to share information about the program and encourage club pros to look into it.
“It was a great life experience,” Kirk said. “We had really unique experiences you don’t get to do every day. It was the coolest trip ever.”
Following a hectic year, Kirk is looking forward to settling back into teaching. “Now that I’m done with the pageant I’m getting back into teaching more,” she said. “I’ve missed it so much, I’ve just been busy.
“ That [pageant] venture is over with and I guess new doors are opening now. I’m really thankful. I’m totally grateful. I know I’m fortunate, I’m having fun with it and I’ll see where it goes.”
A home for golf
Tidewater Golf Club & Plantation has been named to the Next 100 Best Residential Courses by Golfweek magazine, placing it among Nos. 101-200 on the list.
Though Tidewater is the only Strand course that makes the list – most of the Strand’s best courses are geared as much toward attracting outside play as establishing a posh neighborhood and community – the quality of golf course living in the Carolinas is highlighted.
Eighteen of the top 100 and 35 of the top 200 are in the Carolinas. No. 1 once again is the Tom Fazio-designed Wade Hampton Club in Cashiers, N.C.