Halloween with a Twist
On October 1, to kick off the Halloween season at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, Wash., world-renowned balloon-twisting artist Adam Lee began to turn almost 3,000 inflated balloons, which if laid end-to-end would have covered two-and-a-half miles, into a giant spider. After working six straight 10-hour days, Lee’s latex arachnid—measuring 45 feet, 2 inches wide by 22 feet, 2 inches long— took the air out of the previous Guinness World Record for “Largest Balloon Sculpture,” breaking it by 16 feet (length) and 12 feet (width).
After it was created, the puffed-up spider was suspended from the rafters of the three-story lobby at Great Wolf Lodge–Grand Mound, alongside other balloon creations that Lee had made for the resort’s month-long “Howl-o-Ween” promotion. “Who knew that a young man with arachnophobia could achieve such an amazing accomplishment,” Patrick Alvarez, General Manager at Great Wolf Lodge – Grand Mound, said of Lee’s work.
Ten other Great Wolf Lodge locations in the U.S. featured smaller-scale inflatable arachnids during the month and participated in other Howl-o-Ween activities, which included a daily Trick-or-Treat Trail, Spooktacular Story Time, Costume Parade, Monster Bash Dance Party, Pumpkin Painting and Witchy Crafts.
When It Really Pays to Be a Member
Like every club, management at Heidelberg Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia is constantly trying to come up with new and unique “member favorite” events. During a brainstorming session last year, the management decided that their members are like everyone else—one of their favorite things will always be free money. So, to increase Friday night usage of the club, Heidelberg GC started a cash incentive event that has helped to draw members—and their guests—to the club week after week after week.
“About 18 months ago, we introduced a weekly Friday night ‘Members Draw,’ with a rotating dinner menu,” reports General Manager Damon Selwyn. “It’s as popular now as when it started.”
The Members Draw gives members the opportunity to literally win cash just for being at the club. Each week during dinner on Friday night, a member’s name is called, and if he or she is in attendance, the member “hits the jackpot” and collects the winnings.
If the member whose name is drawn is not in attendance, the jackpot rolls over by $100, to increase the total for the following week.
“The jackpot can only be won if the member is at the club to collect when his or her name is called,” says Selwyn. “If no one strikes, the jackpot increases by $100 each week until it hits the $3,000 ceiling, at which point it remains there until struck by a member in attendance.”
As a result of the Members Draw, Heidelberg GC now averages 80-90 covers every Friday night. “We also offer free kids’ meals for members under 12, to encourage parents to come to the club,” says Selwyn. “Plus, we run a free kids raffle, to get them in on the fun.”
The club uses its website, e-mail and text messaging system to promote the event. It also uses these mediums to make members aware of the current jackpot amount, and to highlight past winners.
Serving On Sand
To capitalize on a new trend spurred by the growing popularity of beach volleyball and other net- and paddle-based games now played on sand, Boca Grove, a 450-member boutique golf and tennis club in Boca Raton, Fla., has created beach tennis courts on its property.
“Beach tennis merges the worlds of tennis and beach volleyball into one exciting sport,” says Richard Centerbar, the club’s Director of Tennis. “It can be played both competitively and recreationally, and because it’s so simple to play, it appeals to athletes and non-athletes of all ages,”
Beach tennis is played just like regular tennis, but on a regulation beach volleyball court. Using special beach tennis paddles, two players on each team volley back and forth, hitting a slightly depressurized tennis ball directly over the net without letting it bounce (if the ball does hit the sand, it won’t bounce very far, if at all). One hit per team is all that’s allowed.
Boca Grove, the first club in its area to create the beach tennis courts for its membership, reports that players there have become “instantly hooked” on the new option, not only because of the fun and variety it brings to tennis, but also from the fitness benefits that come from playing on the more joint-friendly sand surface.
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