Harry Kicklighter: Use a 19th Hole to Your Advantage

Harry Kicklighter, the 2003 Georgia PGA Section Assistant Golf Professional of the Year, 2007 East Chapter Golf Professional of the Year and 2001 East Chapter Assistant Golf Professional of the Year, is the PGA Director of Golf at the Golf Club at Sanctuary Cove in Waverly, Georgia.

At my previous facility, a semi-private golf club, we were fortunate to have a true 19th Hole. The golf course, which opened in 1994, was designed originally by Mike Young. When Steve Dawson bought the facility in 2010, he decided that some gradual yet extensive course renovation was needed. One addition was the 19th Hole. The purpose was to use it while individual other holes were under renovation, so that golfers still had an 18-hole playing experience. Since the renovation has been complete, the 19th Hole was still used. People could choose to play it as an additional hole during their rounds. Also, the hole was used during certain club functions. And it often was used during charity tournaments for contests, as fundraisers. The elevated clubhouse allowed golfers to hit balls from the second-story outdoor patio deck. The Heritage Bar & Grill was indoors; then players would walk outdoors, drink in hand. They hit balls over the water on the extra hole. Closest-to-the-hole competitions were popular. Tournaments usually charged each player $5 for a couple of shots, which went entirely to the charity. One corner of the elevated deck had removable rails, a convenient feature. The winner might be given a driver, golf balls, a pair of shoes or another item which was in stock.

The golf course renovations had been ongoing since 2011, but are finished now for the most part. The membership grew significantly as a result. So the 19th Hole was an added attraction, giving tournament organizers something extra in their package. It served as an incentive to bring in more tournaments. During my last five years at the club, there has was a 50 percent increase in the number of charity tournaments held at the club, a result not only of the course renovation but of the 19th Hole, too.