Sun City Hilton Head hosts an annual “Superintendent’s Revenge” event, including unusual obstacles on every hole.
And you thought it was hard to get a Masters Tournament badge. At Sun City Hilton Head in Bluffton, S.C., a chance to tee it up for the annual “Superintendent’s Revenge” event is on par with trying to gain entry into Augusta National Golf Club each April.
In the charity golf tournament, held each year in early December on two of Sun City’s three 18-hole golf courses, participants must navigate unusual obstacles on every hole. As part of the entry fee, each team donates a new unwrapped toy or book when the members register. The toys are donated to Bluffton Self Help, a nonprofit organization that allows families in need to shop for their children for the holidays.
The event, first held in 2010, soon became so popular that it started selling out within an hour of signup, which begins right before Thanksgiving. As a result, Sun City Hilton Head implemented a lottery system for registering. One year, the system crashed due to the high volume of residents all trying to enter at one time. Now they have two weeks to enter teams for the lottery.
|THE GOAL: Create a fun-filled holiday event for golfers at Sun City Hilton Head while also giving back to the community.
THE PLAN: Sun City Hilton Head staff members start planning for “Superintendent’s Revenge” about two months ahead of the event, which is held each December. For the scramble, the staff sets up obstacles on each hole that the four-member teams must navigate. Each team donates an unwrapped toy or book as part of its entry fee that is donated to a local charity.
THE PAYOFF: Golfers get to participate in a fun outing and help ensure that underprivileged children have gifts for the winter holidays.
“We start sending e-mail blasts in October and tell everyone to be ready,” says Scott Denny, Golf Course Superintendent of Sun City’s Okatie Creek Golf Course. “The ‘Revenge’ is back.”
In addition to Okatie Creek, Sun City is home to Hidden Cypress and Argent Lakes, an 18-hole, par-3 executive course. The property always uses the executive course for the event and alternates between the two regular courses, to accommodate a total of more than 210 players.
The idea for Superintendent’s Revenge was hatched after Denny read about a similar event online. He and Director of Golf Maintenance Rick Barnes, a Sun City superintendent at the time, started brainstorming and came up with their own plan.
“We went to the head pros, and they said, ‘Let’s do it,’” Denny says. “The first year we looked for ideas online, but we’ve done it so long now that we put our own twist on it.
“We do it early in the month so everyone will still be in town,” he adds. “Every year we keep trying to do something new.”
At least one thing remains the same each year, however: There is an obstacle on all 36 holes. Here’s just a sampling of the many ways the superintendents exact their revenge:
• “Let’s Make a Deal,” a new idea that Denny had last year and modeled after the TV show, requires golfers to pick a card at the start, which might then instruct them to tee off at the red tees, the black tees or 50 yards from the hole. Or they might get a challenge to hit out of a bunker or from the wood line along a hole.
• At the “Lunch Break” hole, golfers must navigate around a dozen pieces of equipment parked on the green.
• For “Flags, Flags Everywhere,” the staff puts 30 to 40 flags on a green, so the golfers don’t know where to aim their shots.
• For “Royal Flush” the name of a club is written on King, Queen, Jack, 10 and nine cards that are placed face down on a table. A person draws a card and has to play the entire hole with the club written on the card.
• “Switch-A-Roo” requires players to tee off using the opposite of their primary hand.
• The “Clark Griswold” features blow-up Halloween characters scattered strategically around the green.
• Players putt around spare tires on the “Bumper Golf Hole.”
• Everyone must putt with a hockey stick on the “Happy Gilmore” hole.
Setting up all the tricks on the courses takes about three-and-a-half hours. And grounds crew members might have to carry out important duties during the event as well. For instance, one never knows when a staff member might need to ride up and honk a bullhorn just as a golfer strikes the ball.
The golfers get together for a luncheon after the event, and Bluffton Self Help representatives talk about the organization and pick up the holiday gifts. One team donates a bicycle every year—a boy’s bike one year and a girl’s bike the next. Donations also include board games and books, and some teams contribute more than one gift for the cause.
“We feel good that we’re doing something to help the community. We definitely wanted to connect with the community and make sure a kid has a good Christmas,” says Denny.
One four-person team from each course is selected randomly from the winners to have their names engraved on the Superintendent’s Revenge trophy, which is displayed in the clubhouse.
“It’s just a fun event all the way around,” says Denny. “And it’s our day to get revenge.”
To enhance its Ladies Golf Opening Day, pro shop vendors serving The Country Club of Virginia (CCV), Richmond, Va., were asked to set up a one-day “pop up” shop of ladies apparel, so enough merchandise would be available to let members take their purchases with them, rather than waiting for future delivery. CCV’s clubhouse library was turned into a boutique where shoppers could browse for clothes, shoes and handbags at the end of their rounds. The pop-up concept helped to address the challenge of having adequate variety, selections and sizes on hand without making a large financial commitment for inventory. The response also helped CCV’s pro shop staff evaluate purchases and identify the most popular product lines, so more informed buying decisions could be made going forward.
The Men’s Golf Association at Myers Park Country Club, Charlotte, N.C., held its Inaugural Ross Open to celebrate the club’s Donald Ross history. Players were encouraged to “step back in time and dress the part,” and the club provided Francis Ouimet replica golf balls and hickory-shafted clubs for the nine-hole tournament, which was played at similar yardage as when the course was laid out in 1945. Cocktails from the club’s Signature Bar and heavy hors d’oeuvres were served on the Event Lawn following play. After strong positive feedback from the membership, the Ross Open will now become an annual event at Myers Park.
On the Saturday following the Masters tournament each April, members of the Army Navy Country Club (ANCC), Arlington, Va., take advantage of the club’s Annual Demo Day, an event that both the staff and members circle on their calendars. Promoted throughout the club and by e-mail for weeks leading up to the event, ANCC’s Demo Day generates over $70,000 in club sales as more than 500 patrons attend. Vendor tents line the club’s practice facility to create interest, keep things organized and ensure safety, and a nearby merchandise tent helps to maximize sales, with each member of ANCC’s professional golf staff on site to help attendees navigate the Demo Day price book and assist with purchase orders. Free beer and hot dogs also helps to build enthusiastic attendance.