VANDALIA — The City of Vandalia has named Ben Lickliter to be the next Managing Golf Professional at Cassel Hills Golf Course. Lickliter’s appointment comes after John Marchi’s retirement in December after serving 32 years at the course.
Lickliter was chosen from a pool of 18 candidates after a regional search through the Professional Golf Association (PGA) of America’s Careerlinks program. He began the position on February 22.
“We’re very excited to see Ben step into this role for the course,” said Jon Crusey, Vandalia city manager. “Ben has been with the course for many years. He is knowledgeable about the game and our course—-and most importantly, he enjoys our guests. We anticipate a very smooth transition.”
“I’m thrilled to be able to continue my career here at the golf course I started at,” Lickliter said. “This course holds a special place in my heart, and I’m looking forward to continuing my relationship with all of the golfers I’ve come to know in the years I have been here.”
A graduate of the University of Cincinnati, Lickliter has been a Class A member of the PGA of America for 12 years. His golf career began at Cassel Hills in 1990, when he was hired to work in food service operations and as a ranger and starter.
Lickliter worked at The Players Club of Lexington, Kentucky; The Players Club of Henderson, Kentucky; and the Miami Valley Golf Club in Dayton before returning to Cassel Hills in 2002 as the Assistant Golf Professional. Later, he served as contractual Head Golf Professional and Director of Golf Operations.
Lickliter lives in Kettering with his son Sam, 16 and daughter Ava, 14.
Cassel Hills’ management structure was reorganized in January, with the Managing Golf Professional position reporting to the Parks and Recreation Director. That decision was made after a consultation with the National Golf Foundation (NGF) determined Cassel Hills was best run in-house by city staff rather than on a contract.
“We heard that smaller courses like ours with a much smaller market area are better off operating in-house,” said Crusey. “It is more cost efficient.”
Crusey said major changes at the course are not forthcoming but that staff will look for ways to increase revenues during non-peak hours. He referred to the NGF recommendation that said it would not be wise to change the “feel” of Cassel Hills, often described as one of the best public courses in the region but with a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.
The City of Vandalia contributed to this story.
Reach Darell Wacker at 937-684-8983 on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.