Bryant Brings 'Hog Hole' To the Fore
Charlie Bryant is one of those great guys that you always look forward to seeing. He’s done everything, been everywhere, and is more entertaining than the average sitcom.
Bryant grew up in High Point, where he was a three-sport star in high school, was an outstanding running back at Wofford College until messing up a knee, then turned to baseball during his senior season.
Reluctant to attempt to play professional baseball because of the knee injury, Bryant joined the Army and coached the game there. He later coached basketball at Anderson (S.C.) High School.
He was so successful during his one-year high school career that he was hired by legendary Wake Forest basketball coach Bones McKinney, where he stayed until 1964, when he moved to N.C. State and became an assistant to Press Maravich and later to Norm Sloan.
Bryant loved the coaching, but hated recruiting, and left the profession to pursue a career in banking. He rose to a position as vice president with the First Union National Bank in Gastonia, but was then lured back to Raleigh by N.C. State Director of Athletics Willis Casey to assume the post of executive director of the school’s Wolfpack Club.
Bryant now lives in Cary and has been inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. One of the more popular members of the North Carolina Golf Panel, he loves the game and enjoys visiting and playing the best courses in the state.
Asked to name his favorite finishing hole among all the great courses he’s played, Bryant came up with a surprising answer — Forest Creek’s “Hog Hole” on the Tom Fazio-designed South Course, which is really a 19th hole.
“I talked to Waddy (Stokes), the Forest Creek director of golf, and he explained how the ‘Hog Hole’ came to be,” Bryant said.
“According to Waddy, the owners wanted No. 18 to be a par-5 hole, but Fazio strongly opposed that because he felt there would be too many third shots dropping into the water, thus leaving a lot of players unhappy, who as a consequence, would go straight to their cars and leave the club.
“Tom insisted and the owners finally concurred on making the 18th a nice par-4.
“This left the 18th green a few hundred yards from the clubhouse, however, and there was still this beautiful pond just beyond the final green, so the idea of the ‘Hog Hole’ was born.
“The owners loved the idea, thinking it would be something original and a lot of fun to have a little 19th hole par-3 so that golfers finishing up their rounds could have a way to settle bets and create an enjoyable atmosphere which could be carried into the clubhouse for the usual after-round libations.
“Fazio didn’t really like the idea, according to Waddy, so the owners told him to go ahead and finish the course and they would build the par-3 themselves. After considerable debate, Tom eventually bought into the idea and agreed to design and build the now famous ‘Hog Hole.’
“As I have contributed several golf balls, along with some of my very best billfold friends, to the ‘Hog’ — as have several other golf panelists — I would suggest some special recognition for this original and imaginative golf hole.
“The Forest Creek owners have constructed two magnificent golf courses, but they also recognized the importance of having fun and building camaraderie within their golfing community by providing this most interesting, unique and ‘value added’ hole. That’s something we definitely need lot more of in golf.”
I can vouch for the novelty and enjoyment of having an “extra” hole to help even out the bets — or as most often in my case, double the losses.
In fact, the last time I played Forest Creek a couple of years ago, my tee shot on the “Hog Hole” was struck well but pulled into the huge pine to the left of the green. It hit the tree, bounced onto the green and rolled to within about eight feet of the cup.
I holed the putt, wiped out my losses for the day and had a blast bragging about the “great shot” over some of those libations Charlie talked about.
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