From The Blog

A Lot in Store for Kiawah During PGA

The 2012 PGA tournament in the second week of August will bring a huge influx of people to Kiawah, and the island is preparing for a historic event. The last event of the PGA Championship’s size and magnitude was the 1991 Ryder Cup, when KICA had a much smaller membership; today it has more than 8,000 members. The anticipated volume of tournament attendees, including spectators, players and caddies, tournament officials, volunteers, hospitality personnel, media, and safety and security personnel, requires special measures.

Some aspects of island life will not change that week. KICA members can request guest passes for houseguests as usual (though at the Island Center, not at the main gate). Island speed limits will not be changed (some were recently adjusted at the recommendation of the Safety and Security committee; these are permanent changes). Sandcastle activities and facilities will be available as usual, although they might be crowded at times.

In a nutshell, between Aug. 6 and 12:
• Approximately 30,000 people will be involved
• 115 buses will move people around the island
• Most commercial activity not related to the PGA will cease
• Gate pass operations will move to Island Center
• Daytime on-street parking will be prohibited
• Restaurants and recreational facilities will be crowded
• Traffic will be heavy, especially between 7 and 11 a.m.

Our already beautiful island will be even more so by tournament time. KICA’s new landscaping in the West Beach area, described in last month’s Digest article on the West Beach revitalization project, is scheduled to be substantially complete by the Celebrate Kiawah event on April 14, and will be supplemented by additional new landscaping on adjacent resort property. The resort’s new and renovated pools will enhance West Beach and Night Heron Park. Furthermore, the association will be cleaning up views along the Kiawah Island Parkway, restoring some understory along the Parkway and Governors Drive, landscaping selected areas along Governors and Ocean Course Drive and some medians on Ocean Course and Flyway Drive, and has recently completed the repaving of Ocean Course Drive.

For a tournament of this magnitude, some disruption to routine is inevitable. At the request of PGA tournament officials, with recommendations from KICA’s staff and its Safety and Security Committee, the KICA board approved four items at its March board meeting. For an event of this size, these items help provide an enjoyable, and most importantly a safe, experience for members, guests, PGA visitors and players:

Commercial activity: From Monday, Aug. 6 through Sunday, Aug. 12, most commercial work on the island will be suspended. This includes all construction and routine repair work, all landscaping work including regularly scheduled yard maintenance, scheduled large deliveries (such as furniture), and household movers. It does not apply to mail and package deliveries (by UPS, FedEx and the postal service); deliveries for food service, catering, and fuel; trash services; household workers such as health aids and housekeepers; pool maintenance; or, by special arrangement, emergency repairs.

Gate passes: All gate passes will be issued at Island Center, where the PGA’s credential operation will also be. This is located at the intersection of River and Bohicket roads and Betsy Kerrison Parkway. This will permit the security gates to keep traffic flowing at all times.

On-street parking: From Monday, Aug. 6 through Sunday, Aug. 12, parking will not be allowed on KICA-owned streets from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the exception of Atlantic Beach Court members who may park on Muirfield Lane (Beachwalker Drive, and the streets in the Settlement and Ocean Palms are not owned by KICA). The ban will help keep streets clear for emergency vehicles; facilitate the movement of tournament buses and local traffic; prevent off-island tournament attendees from crowding streets, particularly those near the Ocean Course, and blocking driveways and mailboxes; and prevent attendees not staying on Kiawah from circumventing the parking lots at Freshfields by asking members for guest passes. Vehicles parked on the street will be towed at the owner’s expense.

• Recreational vehicles: RVs are normally banned on Kiawah, but up to six tournament players who travel the tournament circuit in their RVs will be permitted to park their own RV’s within the old inn site. The RV area will be shielded from street views and have temporary electrical hook-ups.

For KICA members trying to plan their week, here is additional pertinent information.

People: The Numbers

PGA and resort staff have provided an estimate of the number of people
who will be involved in the tournament:
• 27 – 30,000 total participants
• 3,600 officials, hospitality personnel, volunteers and vendors
• 800 – 1,100 credentialed media
• 1,700 employees for the community association, resort, developer and town
• 172 safety and security personnel (EMS, fire, police, etc.)
• 35 states represented in the volunteer pool, with most volunteers from the greater Charleston area and 15-20% Kiawah residents

Lodging: Where Will They Stay and What Will They Pay?
4,000 – 5,000 tournament attendees, some of them members, are expected to stay on Kiawah. Most resort properties are committed for players, caddies, and PGA staff and officials. The resort did not provide rate information for the week, but a check of several rental agencies revealed that properties are still available, at rates well above normal summer rates and some requiring a rental for the full tournament period. The same is not true for Charleston and North Charleston hotels, for which advertised prices are the same during PGA week as other summer weeks and minimum stays, if any, are two or three days.

Transportation and Parking
Parking for vehicles without Kiawah gate passes will be located at Freshfields. From there, 85 full-sized coach buses will transport attendees directly to the Ocean Course. Additionally, 30 full-sized coach busses using three shuttle routes with multiple stops will bring ticket holders staying on Kiawah to the tournament. Bike racks will be provided at some shuttle stops, as well as near the Ocean Course – for those attendees who prefer to bike to the tournament. With 115 buses traversing island roads, and 30 of those making local stops, expect slow travel and some traffic disruptions, and allow ample time when traveling off the island.

Dining and Golf Reservations
Dining options on and near Kiawah are limited and are usually crowded during peak times. To assist Kiawah homeowners, the Governors Club offered priority dining and golf reservations to its members, and other Kiawah homeowners may now make advance reservations for resort dining and tee times. Some resort restaurants are expanding hours, and the Mingo Point Oyster Roasts, BBQ and live music will run Wednesday to Saturday evenings. The Kiawah Island Club is accepting advance dining reservations; a schedule of special dining events can be found on their website. Check individually with off-island dining establishments for their advance booking policies.

To cope with the increased needs for electricity, Berkeley Electric Company is installing additional electric lines. Homeowners who suffer from inadequate cell phone reception will benefit during the tournament from the installation of temporary cell phone towers.

All Kiawah entities and organizations are working to maximize the quality of the tournament experience for everyone but minimize any inconveniences to homeowners. This will be a challenging and exciting time for everyone involved in the tournament. KICA is committed to making it a memorable experience for members. For more information or questions about the tournament, visit www.pga2012.com or contact the PGA offices on Kiawah at 843-768-6003 or at [email protected].