$10,000 prize winning hole-in-one

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Bill Leonhart of Guttenberg shot a hole-in-one on number 8, winning a $10,000 prize at the Guttenberg Golf Course and Country Club during a SART fund-raising event. (Photo submitted)

By Caroline Rosacker

Each year, Clayton County SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) holds their annual fund-raising golf tournament at the Guttenberg Golf and Country Club. Prior to the start of the tournament, organizers register a hole for the Hole-in-One $10,000 prize giveaway. The opportunity to win the cash prize is a long shot (no pun intended), but this year former Clayton Ridge industrial arts teacher Bill Leonhart was lucky enough to win the highly coveted prize money. 

"This was the second year I participated in the tournament, and I'm glad I did!" Leonhart told The Press. "It was a last minute decision to participate because my daughter-in-law, Pei, and granddaughter, River, were staying with us, while my son, Matt, rode in RAGBRAI. I decided to ask Pei if she was interested in entering the tournament. I told her it would be good practice for the upcoming Calcutta."

SART

The mission of the Clayton County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) is ensuring all crime victims and witnesses have a voice, support, knowledge and assistance throughout the criminal justice process from initial disclosure to prosecution, and a multidisciplinary response specifically to victims of sexual violence. The team responds 24 hours a day to crisis.  

"What an incredible opportunity to see one of our supporters hit a $10,000 Hole-in-One. We have sponsors take out insurance for the contest each year in hopes someone is rewarded and this year it finally paid off," said Brandi Lewin, SART Victim Witness Coordinator. "Being a part of informing Bill he won was something I’ll never forget. We are thankful for all the support we’ve had over the past five years and look forward to utilizing funds towards a few key projects this year; a donation to a fund for survivor needs through Families Helping Hand at Guttenberg Hospital, high school Scholarships, training for our SART partners to improve response skills, and Tokens of Support for our child victims of sexual abuse. Wonderful things happen when people come together! We are proud of this county!"

"The community support for the Driving Out Sexual Violence Golf Outing has been tremendous the past five years," added Sgt. Brent Ostrander, Clayton County Sheriffs office. "We are glad to see a supporter like Bill receive the $10,000 cash prize with an amazing hole-in one-shot.  A special thanks to the Guttenberg Golf and Country Club for hosting the event and allowing Clayton County SART to bring awareness to this important topic.  Congratulations again Bill, we’ll see you next year."

New to the game

Leonhart, who has been an educator for the past 50 years, has only been golfing on a regular basis for a year-and-a-half, and considers himself a sporadic golfer. "I wasn’t golfing my best game, and then things got better," he laughed.

Leonhart's money shot was made on hole number 8. "The decision to register number 8 was a last minute choice," explained Leonhart. "County Club manager Todd Priske wanted to change it to number 3 because it was an easier shot. I had no clue there was money involved." 

Nice shot!

Leonhart hit the ball and watched in go over the hill. He knew it had to be close. "Pei, Mary Waterman and I jumped in the cart and drove up there," he remembered. "Pei asked, 'Where is your ball?' She looked to the left and then in the hole and started jumping up and down and picked it out of the hole. I threw my clubs up in the air, Mary was jumping up and down, and the other four guys I was playing with were excited too!" 

The distance from the number 8 tee box to the hole is an impressive 152 yards. Mary Waterman took a photo of Leonhart holding the ball and the flag following his successful shot. "Two holes later Paul Bazen and Brent Ostrander found me and said, 'I think you better sit down. We registered hole eight for the $10,000 dollar prize.'"  

Course statistics

Guttenberg golf course statistics – members only  – indicate 20 holes in one have been made on number 3, and 10, counting Leonhart, have been made on number 8. In 1996 a young golfer successfully shot a hole in one on number 2. 

Additional winnings were on the table had Leonhart added a dollar to the Country Club collection jar. "If you put a dollar in the jar and get a hole in one you get the kitty, which is currently four hundred dollars," he noted. 

The lucky golfer found it hard to describe the way he felt after his fortunate shot. "Crazy, jubilant, excited, numb – all of the above!" he said with a big smile.   

Leonhart was not awarded the $10,000 prize that day, but had to wait for an insurance company to make the final call. "The tournament was organized by law enforcement, the County attorney and sponsored by a local bank, so the odds were in my favor that I would receive the cash prize," he said.

Although, Leonhart and Pei were two under par when he made his iconic shot, the pair did not win the tournament. "It was so unique that my daughter-in-law got to witness the shot and celebrate with me," he shared. 

Todd Priske, Guttenberg Golf and Country Club manager concluded. "It only happens at the Guttenberg Golf Course!"

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