Player, Teacher, and Personality - The Reserve’s Donald Clement delivers on all three.
Brian Kittler, Vice President of Golf Operations, saves some of his highest praise for Donald Clement, long-time director of golf at The Reserve Golf Club in Pawleys Island, S.C. “We have a lot of good employees, but Clement epitomizes what McConnell Golf is all about,” says Kittler. “Whatever needs to be done, he does it. And he does it with a smile on his face. Everyone who goes down to The Reserve, they talk about ‘DC’ and how great the staff is. We’re just glad to have him on our team.”
Kittler says Clement personifies what he wants from all McConnell Golf professionals: That they be “a PTPer, like Dick Vitale,” he says: “Player, Teacher, and Personality.” One of the Carolinas’ top players for many years, Clement is a member of the Sports Hall of Fame at his high school and his college, Coastal Carolina, where he led the Chanticleers to a third-place NAIA finish in 1985, earning first team NAIA All-American honors in the process. That same year, he qualified for the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and made it to the match-play portion of the national championship. “I had never played in a match-play event in my life,” recalls Clement.
“I had a guy from Hawaii four down with five to play — and he beat me on 18. Welcome to match play. I was already playing my second match. In my mind he was done … but in the end, I was done.”
During the 1990s, Clement coached the men’s and women’s team at Coastal Carolina until his college teammate and roommate, Ronald Crow, enticed him in 1997 to come to The Reserve, where Crow was — and remains — the golf course superintendent.
Before he left Coastal Carolina, however, Clement began recruiting the player who would turn out to be the greatest in school history — current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. As a result of his relationship with Clement, Johnson was a member at The Reserve for several years after he left school.
Clement was playing with Johnson the day he hit a driver, 6-iron to 15 feet on The Reserve’s 600-yard finishing hole, made eagle, and set the course record 65 — a mark that still stands today.
Approaching the start of his third decade at The Reserve, Clement has always given back to the game and his profession. He has served on the Carolinas PGA Board several times and is now in his fifth year serving as the CPGA Area Seven director.
“I’m just trying to give something back to a section that has been good to me,” says Clement. “My job is totally hands on. I try to lead by example. I’m here … and just being here is one of the biggest parts of being a successful club professional. Your membership wants to see you.”