Mason Spalding, Senior Head Golf Professional at TPC Las Vegas (Nev.) discusses how the pandemic will influence golf events in the future. “Moving forward, we’ll continue to be mindful that every guest is unique. We need to recognize and be cognizant of the fact that individuals have a wide range of sensitivity when it comes to their health. Our goal is to continue to provide a safe, comfortable and welcoming environment for all.”
By Mason Spalding, Senior Head Golf Professional, TPC Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nev.
Club + Resort Business: In a typical year, how many golf outings and tournaments does TPC Las Vegas host? And how did that change in 2020 because of COVID restrictions?
Mason Spalding: We’ll typically host 225+ outings in a given year that have anywhere from 12 up to 144 players. In 2020, groups declined to just 128 in total.
C+RB: If an event took place in 2020, how did the club work to ensure that both guests and staff remained safe?
Spalding: Our facility strictly followed COVID-19 guidelines as directed by the CDC and the state of Nevada. Our facility promoted social distancing, provided hand-sanitation stations throughout the clubhouse, sanitized all golf carts prior to use, and followed a handful of other measures to provide a safe environment for our guests.
C+RB: When an outing or event was cancelled in 2020, did someone from the club work with organizers to reschedule it?
Spalding: Yes, we were understanding of our guests’ hesitations to travel during the pandemic and worked with them to reschedule events into 2021.
C+RB: How many outings and tournaments are scheduled for 2021?
Spalding: We are optimistic that our total amount of groups in 2021 will increase slightly over 2020. Tourism to Las Vegas has slowly increased this past spring season and pending any additional travel restrictions, we are confident our group outings will continue to grow this fall season.
C+RB: How are events handled differently in 2021, as COVID restrictions lessen?
Spalding: The loosening of restrictions allowed us to get back to our more “normal” operation. Guests are now able to ride two players per cart, bunker rakes and other on-course amenities have been re-implemented into the operation, and limitations on gatherings have also been eliminated.
C+RB: How have members and guests responded to the changes?
Spalding: Overall, our members and guests have responded well to any changes we’ve rolled out. Golf is one of the few activities that has remained open and available throughout most of the pandemic. Our members and guests have accepted whatever new changes or restrictions were put into place, as long as they were still able to get out and enjoy the golf course.
C+RB: Assuming COVID is behind us in 2022, do you plan to keep any new precautions in place going forward?
Spalding: Moving forward, we’ll continue to be mindful that every guest is unique. We need to recognize and be cognizant of the fact that individuals have a wide range of sensitivity when it comes to their health. Our goal is to continue to provide a safe, comfortable and welcoming environment for all.
C+RB: What are some lessons you’ve learned over the last 18 months?
Spalding: The biggest lesson we’ve learned is to not take anything for granted! Make the most out of every season, every day, every group and every interaction with our members and guests.
C+RB: Your club also hosted the inaugural Las Vegas Open Championship at the end of July this year. How was
preparation different for this event?
Spalding: Our team treated preparation for the Las Vegas Open similar to a PGA TOUR Event. TPC Las Vegas has hosted a number of PGA TOUR events throughout our history, but none since 2007. Our team was excited for the opportunity to showcase the facility for such a high-profile competition.
The preparation began months in advance. Our Golf Course Maintenance Master Calendar was based around ensuring that golf course conditions would be nothing less than excellent during the week of the tournament. Our Golf Operations, Food & Beverage, and Business/Marketing teams have also all been part of the planning process and discussions.
We feel that the more our entire team is able to embrace and partner with this event, the better received it will be by all of the participants, creating positive momentum and interest for years to come.