As the “Elf on the Shelf” has become a holiday staple in households throughout the country, Druid Hills Golf Club in Atlanta got in on the action with its own version of the program.
Three elves—Leon, Noel, and Poncey—arrived at the Druid Hills Golf Club in Atlanta during its annual Breakfast with Santa, and remained at the club until Christmas Eve. “Our elves arrive with a special letter explaining the story of Santa’s ‘scout elves,’ who are sent to be Santa’s eyes and ears at Druid Hills,” says General Manager Nick Markel, CCM. “Our elves keep watch over the Dogwood Grill, our family dining room, and the Kids’ Corner, our child activity center.”
Many members do the Elf on the Shelf with their children in their own homes, and members’ children often came to the club talking about their own elves. “The kids were so transfixed on their elves, we decided it would be a fun program to implement at our club,” says Markel. “The goal of the program was to engage the members and their children and for everyone to have fun.”
|THE GOAL: Create a festive, engaging atmosphere for children and their families at Druid Hills Golf Club during the holiday season while encouraging kids to be on their best behavior.
THE PLAN: Bring three elves to the annual Breakfast with Santa, who then stay at the club until Christmas Eve. Staff moves the elves around the clubhouse each day, setting them up in silly situations, much to the delight of the children, parents and staff alike.
THE PAYOFF: The elves have become a holiday tradition, and have helped to promote the spirit of the season within the clubhouse, while also boosting club usage in the family dining room and the Kids’ Corner.
Additionally, the club thought the elves might help children behave better during the month of December—a goal that parents have with the elf at home as well.
The club’s youth activities coordinator worked with the Kids’ Corner staff and the food-and-beverage team to devise a detailed schedule for the club’s elves. The coordinator came up with different places for the elves to hide throughout the clubhouse and family-dining area. Each staff person was then assigned a day to be responsible for placing the elves, to ensure they would not miss a day during the season. The plan also included a dress code for the elves, based upon their new location or events that were happening that day/evening.
Each day, members’ children looked forward to seeing Leon, Noel, and Poncey’s shenanigans around the club.
“The elves were very mischievous,” says Markel. “One time they decorated the Christmas tree in the family dining room with toilet paper. They all enjoyed building snowmen out of marshmallows. And Leon even had an afternoon tea date with Barbie.”
This careful—and amusing—planning helped the club drum up considerable excitement for the elves. “The kids went wild over our elves,” Markel says. “It would be a race every day to see who could find them first. The children really enjoyed seeing what the elves got into and where they were hiding.”
Parents also enjoyed the program. “It helps to have an additional watchful eye in our family dining area, encouraging children to be on their best behavior,” Markel notes.
One of the keys to the program’s success was utilizing social media to promote it. The club’s director of communications announced the elves’ arrival with a post and photos on Facebook, and continued to update members on the elves’ doings.
“During the holidays, you always hear people—members and staff alike—discussing our mischievous elves,” Markel says.
While the elves were certainly fun for members, they also helped to boost club usage among families. “We saw a slight increase in dining revenue in our family dining room and increased usage for the Kids’ Corner,” says Markel. “Our Druid Hills Golf Club family genuinely enjoys this program and looks forward to the arrival of this holiday tradition.”