Palmetto Dunes

97-year-old Starter Retires After 33 Years at Robert Trent Jones Course

Hilton Head golf courses

If you’ve ever played golf at our Robert Trent Jones golf course, then you probably know Sammy Mulrain. This 97-year-old lover of golf served as the course starter every Thursday for the last 33 years, never missing a shift! How’s that for dedication? Sammy has finally put down his golf clubs, at least as a career, and retired as our starter ranger at 97 years young.

He’s truly beloved by the staff at Palmetto Dunes and by all the golfers who come through our doors year after year. “You don’t come across people like Sammy every day,” says Brad Marra, vice president of Palmetto Dunes. “He was a great guy to have at Palmetto Dunes and an even greater person to know. His is a wonderful story of service and dedication with a lasting impression on all of us.”

South Carolina golf resortSammy, who was named the 2009 Employee of the Year by the Lowcountry Golf Course Owners Association and recently featured in an article in the Hilton Head Island Packet, is known for his attention to detail, making sure golfers get off on time. A veteran who stormed Normandy in World War II, he’s known for his meticulous efficiency.

He also has a heart for charity and even searches for lost golf balls on his own time, donating them to a local church for their use in fundraising events. Sammy retired to Hilton Head Island in 1978 after a career working for the American Can Company. 

When asked about his favorite part of his years at Palmetto Dunes, Sammy says it’s the people and the chance to stay active. In an Island Packet article featuring him several years ago, he said, “That's why I do it at my age, just to talk to people…I try to get them laughing. The Jones course has a hole on the ocean, so I tell them, ‘When you get to the 10th green, don't go swimming or nothing.’”

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