Sometimes you have just got to get away to see what you have – or don’t have – at home.
This is what seems to have happened for director of golf Bryan Sullivan who has come up with several of the innovative brainstorms for Kilmarlic Golf Club located in Powells Point – the first and foremost being a cottage-on-the-green concept that is now rolling faster than a downhill putt at The Masters.
You see, it was on a visit to the in-laws in Wrightsville Beach a few years ago that Sullivan noticed the formation of a number of small, two-bedroom bungalows fashioned around a pool inside the resort’s famed “Circle.”
He immediately, thought to himself, “We can do a similar thing around a [lighted] putting green at Kilmarlic.”
Fortunately for Sullivan, the Kilmarlic community had some property available near the Highway 158 entrance along with enough space along the side of the block to accommodate four short golf holes for chipping practice and/or après golf play. Known as “The Killie,” this short course ranges in length from 27 to 45 yards with unique undulating greens and a few pot bunkers. It certainly allows players an alternative outlet to test their short-game skills … or settle bets.
The result? Kilmarlic now features the best of all worlds for the visiting golfer located inside its prestigious golf community.
“We had the land out there and the county was all for seeing more rental properties on this side of the bridge,” Sullivan says. “So we now have 12 cottages operational with room for six more. We have space for 60 or more people to stay, seeing that we added a two-bed loft to each cottage to go along with the two bedrooms downstairs. This also makes the cottages ideal for families who want to enjoy the beach, the golf and the nearby waterpark in the summertime.”
Golf tends to be an early-risers game so watching the sun come up through one of the loft windows of the Hogan Cottage means a great day is in store in OBX. Since the Kilmarlic cottages are located on Master’s Drive, each one is named after a Master’s champion or something associated with Augusta National. So far the list of names includes Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Seve Ballesteros, Phil Mickelson, Fred Couples, Ben Crenshaw, Nick Faldo, Sergio Garcia and Tom Watson. Rounding out the group is a cottage called “The Butler Cabin.”
Sullivan, who named the cottages, says the next group of designations will include Tiger Woods, Byron Nelson, Jordan Spieth, Gary Player, Bobby Jones and “The Caddie Shack.”
“Putting in the cottages was a big investment,” Sullivan adds. “I felt fairly confident that we could always get golf rentals, the big question was the summertime business. Those rentals, however, have been a big surprise. After we built the first six and saw how popular they were, we knew we had something. We were ready for it. We definitely needed it.”
Since its initial overall groundbreaking in the early 2000s, Kilmarlic has skyrocketed into its current stature.
“It’s more than I ever imagined,” says Sullivan, who has been at Kilmarlic since day one. “We are the only resort amenity in OBX with golf, a racquet club and a water park nearby. There’s so much to offer right here. Being off the island, it’s also a shorter trip home or quicker to get to on the way in.”
And if you happen to be staying in the cottages on a Thursday during the busy golf shoulder seasons, Sullivan came up with another idea he borrowed one day after visiting Talamore Golf Resort in Pinehurst: a Thursday Night Barbeque.
“During the spring and fall our chef puts on a complimentary barbeque cooked in our own smoker,” he says. “It’s our way of thanking the cottage folks for making Kilmarlic their golf choice while in OBX.”
Also during those busy times, the lights on the putting green constructed inside the rectangle of cottages stay on until 11 p.m. Sometimes even later.
“This past spring, golfers were wanting for us to the leave them on longer, so we had to,” Sullivan concludes with a laugh.
So once again it must be true: Sometimes you have to get away to see what you have – or don’t have – at home. That has certainly been the case at Kilmarlic.