By Paul Gable
Horry County District 8 council member Carl Schwartzkopf announced Monday that he will not seek re-election in the upcoming 2014 general election.
Schwartzkopf said he was announcing his retirement from county council early so that candidates would know District 8 was an open seat in 2014.
Schwartzkopf said at age 73, he believes it is time for him to retire.
Schwartzkopf brought an interesting background to county council as a retired Navy officer and Assistant National Director for the U.S. Golf Association. One of his duties with the USGA was to prepare courses to host national championships.
A full profile of Schwartzkopf’s life, as I wrote it for Carolina Weekly, is attached below.
Carl Schwartzkopf Profile
Having served over 10 years as county council member for Horry County District 8, Carl Schwartzkopf brings a varied and interesting background to his public service office.
Schwartzkopf enlisted in the Navy, in 1959, after completing high school. After completing Boot Camp, he was assigned to Special Services at the Naval Amphibious Force base at Little Creek, Virginia. His next assignment was to an Operational Test Evaluation Force staff before being assigned to the U.S.S. Willis A. Lee (DL-4), a Mitscher class destroyer.
“I arrived on the Lee not too long before the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962,” said Schwartzkopf.
The Lee was one of the ships in the quarantine line during the crisis, but did not have to actively interdict any ships.
“I was assigned to the boarding party, if we had to board and inspect a ship, so I wasn’t upset that didn’t happen,” Schwartzkopf said.
Discharged in 1963, Schwartzkopf returned to his native Michigan where he alternated between working and attending Michigan State University. He graduated from Michigan State in 1971 with a B.S. in Agronomy and Turf Grass Management.
The degree led Schwartzkopf into a career in golf course management at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a historic course that has hosted both the U.S. Open and PGA Championship.
“Most of the greenskeepers at that time had come up through the ranks working at courses,” Schwartzkopf said. “I was one of the first that entered the field with a college degree in turf management.”
In 1972, Schwartzkopf was hired by the U.S. Golf Association. He spent the next 10 years traveling the country devising grass advisory systems for golf courses.
“We would go to a course and design a system to help them with disease and insect problems as well as fertilization,” he said.
After reaching the position of Assistant National Director for the USGA, Schwartzkopf left the organization to return to Michigan where he joined a brokerage firm that bought and sold golf courses in the U.S. and the Caribbean.
“It was my job to get the course into saleable shape,” Schwartzkopf said.
He and several other investors bought 187 acres near East Lansing, Michigan that they developed into Timber Ridge Golf Club, now rated a five-star course by industry magazines.
“It was an interesting adventure,” Schwartzkopf said. “The land was a Christmas tree farm that we turned into a golf course.”
Schwartzkopf moved to South Carolina in 1989 to enter the teaching ranks at Horry-Georgetown Technical College as a Golf Course Management professor for the next 14 years.
“My approach to teaching was to share my experiences in the field of golf course management with the students,” he said. “Part of the lesson would come from the book and I would fill in with real life examples from my experiences in the field.“
“Out of all my experiences in the golf industry, I enjoyed teaching the most because it provided me an opportunity to share real life experiences with my students,” Schwartzkopf said.
In 2003, Schwartzkopf entered the political arena as a candidate for Horry County Council District 8 in a special election to fill out an unexpired term. He has been re-elected twice since.
“I enjoy serving on council,” said Schwartzkopf. “It gives me the opportunity to help citizens not familiar with government procedure and the hoops they have to jump through to get something done.”
Schwartzkopf said his proudest achievement as a council member hs been maintaining services in the county without a tax increase as the county has gone through a difficult revenue crunch.
“We were able to reassign priorities while maintaining the tax structure so that services were not impacted,” he said.