The Omaha, Neb. club brought in a DJ and Jumbotron, and encouraged golfers to sprint while playing its par-5 10th hole during a Club Management Association of America chapter golf tournament. Also, the Country Club of Virginia introduced “CCV Bucks” as rewards for its youngest members, to use for items ranging from golf balls and head covers to golf bags and clubs. And Myers Park CC in Charlotte, N.C. mailed each of its members a custom scratch-off lottery ticket to create excitement for its golf shop’s annual one-day holiday sale. The values of the scratch-offs were randomly generated, with discounts varying from 30% to 50%. The promotion generated sales of $500,000, up nearly 300% from previous years’ holiday sales.
(As featured in C+RB’s 14th Annual Ideas Issue, June 2020.)
Like most clubs, Champions Run in Omaha, Neb. hosts a lot of golf tournaments. Most clubs, however, don’t bring in a DJ and Jumbotron and encourage golfers to sprint while playing.
But Champions Run did, as part of trying to break a world’s record in speed golf for the fastest playing of a par-5 hole (in its case, its #10, which measures 445 to 563 yards from its five tees).
“We saw some fun videos on golf world records on YouTube and thought it would be cool to implement at our [Club Management Association of America chapter] golf tournament,” says Ben Lorenzen, Creative Director and Director of Aquatics & Fitness at Champions Run. “We wanted to make it different than any tournament we’ve ever hosted, while promoting camaraderie and competition for all participants. And [the speed-golf element] encouraged many non-golfers to have fun with it as well.”
Outlining the rules and making a funny promotional video of how it would look—and run—was the first step of introducing the idea to participants.
“We made it an all-day event at our tournament, with over 36 foursomes participating,” Lorenzen says. “We also added a huge Jumbotron, which live-streamed the record attempts. People on the tee box couldn’t see how the teams were finishing on the green, because it was so far away, so the Jumbotron showed all the attempts.”
Other unique ideas implemented at the tournament included a “chauffeur” who took the person who hit the tee shot all the way down to the green, a DJ playing music, and a Master of Ceremonies. The tournament also had the traditional hole-in-one contests for cars and chipping contests for other prizes.
The official Guinness World Record for the fastest hole in golf by a team of four is 27.875 seconds and was achieved by Tom Lovelady, Lanto Griffin, Stephan Jaeger, and Andrew Yun (all Tour professionals) at the Palm Desert (Calif.) Resort Country Club.
“We had a foursome do it in a minute and ten seconds,” Lorenzen says. “However, we consider that a world record for non-Tour players and it is certainly a CMAA world record as well, because no other CMAA chapters have done it. So for all of those chapters out there who do golf tournaments as fundraisers—it’s a challenge for all of you!”
The event was a huge success and will be done again going forward at Champions Run. “The [CMAA] members and staff that participated had a blast,” Lorenzen says. “They said it was the most unique thing they’ve ever participated in at a golf tournament. Based on everyone’s participation and reaction, we’d even like to try to implement it in other tournaments as well.”
And it’s a format that can even work in the post-coronavirus world, Lorenzen feels, because it was “a pretty spread-out event.” The only change that might have to be made would be to have each player drive his or her own cart—but that would only serve to add a new “NASCAR” element to the fun.
The Goal: Introduce new, entertaining aspects to a traditional club event at Champions Run while trying to set a Guinness World Record for fastest playing of a par-5 hole.
The Plan: Include a “chauffeur,” DJ and MC to add new levels of excitement to the event, and show all the action on a Jumbotron screen.
The Payoff: Those who participated, along with the club staff, “had a blast” and said it was the most unique aspect of a golf tournament they’d ever been involved with. And the concept can be made “corona-proof” simply by requiring single carts, which would only serve to add a new “NASCAR” element to the fun.
The Country Club of Virginia (CCV), in Richmond, Va., decided to move away from its basic reward system for junior golfers (handing out candy) and instead offer the opportunity to earn “CCV Bucks” for jobs well done. The currency can be collected for achievements that include being a contest winner, participating in group discussions, assisting with clinic preparation, or just exhibiting a positive attitude. At the end of the season, a wrap-up celebration is held that includes a display of items that can be bought with the Bucks, ranging from golf balls and head covers to golf bags and clubs.
The new incentive has also helped junior members learn how to manage their “money” and understand how their behavior, effort and performance can help them earn more; as a result, they’ve became more engaged in weekly clinics and in finding out what new opportunities are available to accumulate more “purchasing power.”
To make golf less intimidating for its new adult golfers, CCV’s golf department adapted the same instructional formats and games used to teach junior golfers. Combining brightly colored cones, stakes, noodles and more with the challenging games used to teach each skill (see photo above), and also changing the terms used as part of the instruction (“drills” to “games,” “matches” to “challenges”), has all helped to make the novice adult golfers “feel more like competitive kids again,” says Head Golf Professional Summer C. Lee, PGA. Since starting the new format, CCV has added five beginner clinics to its normal schedule and has had to cap the number of participants each week; saw an increase in first-time players in its couples’ events, with three of four sold out; and doubled the number of players in its weekly 9-hole ladies’ group. “Once we remove the ‘scary’ formal aspects, first-time adult golfers are much more excited about learning and playing the game,” says Lee.
To create excitement for the annual one-day holiday sale in its Golf Shop, Myers Park Country Club in Charlotte, N.C. mailed each of its members a custom scratch-off lottery ticket with a personally signed note from its Head Golf Professional. The scratch-off provided details of the sale’s date and time and how the scratch-off could be used. The values of the scratch-offs were randomly generated, with discounts varying from 30% to 50%, in 5% increments. The discounts could only be applied to the total purchase made, and only eligible for use on the designated day. The promotion allowed the club to reach members across all membership categories and produced an enthusiastic response resulting in sales of over $50,000—an almost 300% increase from previous holiday sales. Not surprisingly, Myers Park plans to repeat the promotion for future holiday seasons.