Fishing has always been at the top of the list of settings that can provide enjoyable and memorable quality time among all generations in a family. As clubs and resorts have sought to expand opportunities for providing family-friendly experiences, they’ve found unique ways to take advantage of existing water on their properties and encourage families within their memberships to also use the club for their fishing outings, rather than go somewhere off-site.
In some cases, this has involved creating artificial “fishing holes,” particularly as properties prepare to close swimming pools for the season (“Scaling New Heights,” C&RB, April 2008). More and more, though, clubs are finding ways to make the experience even more like those carefree trips we all took with our grandparents, by using the natural settings on and around their golf course.
That was the approach that Addison Reserve Country Club, in Delray Beach, Fla., took with its First Annual Children’s Fishing Rodeo, held on one of the club’s golf courses at the end of December. “We are always looking for new ways to entertain our children during the peak holiday periods,” says Michael McCarthy, Addison Reserve’s Chief Executive Officer/General Manager. “We were already offering a Family Tournament and Junior Golf Camp, but decided to add the Fishing Rodeo as something that would go beyond golf.”
The event was promoted through e-blasts, posters and flyers, and applications were made available in the club’s golf shop. Within a few days, McCarthy reports, 30 children were already signed up, and “and a few days later, we were close to 100 young anglers.”
“We obviously were onto something great with this idea,” he notes. “We closed down the first and second hole for one of our courses for the fishing tournament, to accommodate all of the children.”
The event was held from 3:00 to 5:00 PM on Wednesday, December 30th, with snacks provided throughout that time. At registration, each child received a scorecard that was attached to the back of his or her shirt. Cane poles and bait were distributed to all of the kids, and they were then allowed to fan out along the lake that borders the two holes. Volunteers roamed the area to help children bait hooks, remove fish, and mark their scorecards.
With a half-hour to go, a 15-minute warning was given, and then scorecards were collected at 4:45 PM. After the results were tallied, an awards ceremony was held with winners announced, within several age divisions, for three categories: Most Fish Caught, Biggest Fish by Weight, and Biggest Fish by Length. Every child who participated received either a trophy or medal.
“It was a huge success, not only with the children, but also their parents and grandparents,” says McCarthy.