For its “Glow Golf Campout,” Greensboro (N.C.) Country Club incorporated a campout on the driving range to include multiple departments.
At the heart of many club events are two facets: recreation and the opportunity to socialize. Successful kids’ events combine the two with fun and unique twists, to keep the young ones entertained.
For its “Glow Golf Campout,” Greensboro (N.C.) Country Club used a template for an event it had established the previous fall—a campout on the driving range—and adapted the concept for spring to include multiple departments: youth activities, golf, aquatics, maintenance and food and beverage.
First, the grounds crew created a short, eight-hole golf course. “The Irving Park golf course runs through the neighborhood and crosses several streets, so we just used the eight holes near the clubhouse,” says Head Golf Professional Brandon Nowak, PGA.
The crew also cut sod to create a bare spot on the driving range (where the tents would be set up) and built a firepit using stones. Staff also manned the fire all night, keeping it going while also making sure kids didn’t get too close.
On the day of the event, kids began setting up tents around 5 p.m., ate dinner at 6 p.m., and played games and various activities (including kickball and dodgeball, while parents did their own thing) until it got dark around 8 p.m. and was time to play glow golf. Staff used glow-in-the-dark golf balls, glow sticks around any possible hazards, glow tee markers, and fiber-optic lights for the golf carts and flagsticks.
“The golf team decorated the carts with glow-in-the-dark necklaces and handed out glow necklaces—everyone had something that was glowing on them,” says Lindsay Pegg, Director of Aquatics and Youth Activities. The club also provided junior golf clubs for those who didn’t have their own.
After golf wrapped up around 10 p.m., kids enjoyed candy apples and s’mores around the fire, then settled in for a viewing of “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” on a big screen hanging from the pavilion. Pegg stayed at the club all night with the kids and their parents, and many other staff members, she notes, stuck around until midnight.
“We had outdoor chairs open for members, so people were watching from the member’s terrace [and saying things] like ‘What’s going on? That looks so cool.’ It made a good commotion,” Pegg says.
The next morning, kids watched cartoons by the pool while eating eggs, bacon, waffles and whipped cream. “It’s just one big sleepover with their friends,” Pegg says. “I’m a camp counselor at heart, and getting up the next morning and watching the kids eat breakfast is one of the best things. They don’t want to leave.”
The only challenge for the Greensboro team was handling a turnout that became massive with a late surge of sign-ups. Until the weekend of the campout, the club had between 30 and 40 reservations, but it then jumped immediately before the event, Pegg says, to reach a total of 60 families.
“Of course, we wouldn’t turn anyone away,” Pegg says. “We had to get more golf carts, but the staff handled it well. The members had no idea we were scrambling.”
The youngest kids in attendance were three years old and the oldest (who likely attended as “older siblings”) were 14. In the event of rain, the staff planned to move campers to the pavilion with their sleeping bags, to maintain the camp experience. Fortunately, it didn’t come to that (there were a few raindrops during breakfast, but nothing major).
Attendance cost $28 for adults and $18 for children, which included golf and meals. “Because it’s a pay event, I want them to get their money’s worth, so I want to keep trying new and different things,” Pegg says. The club plans to continue hosting the event in both the fall and the spring, with slight tweaks to the programming that may include bringing in a campfire storyteller or survivalist.
“I do a lot of things with just kids to coincide with an adult event, so to get the families involved as well is awesome,” says Pegg. “It’s a great family event, and it’s something different and near and dear to me.”
INSTANT IDEA — Having a BlastTown & Country Club (Saint Paul, Minn.) has always made it a priority to promote sustainability to members and the community. The club’s staff wanted to extend that objective to the children among its membership, by finding a unique way to host an educational event that could teach kids how to enjoy “being green” while also having fun with physical science.
For several weeks prior to its “Water Bottle Rocket Launch” event, the club’s kitchen staff saved cardboard and one-liter soda bottles that had been used at the club and would normally be recycled. On the day of the event, kids used those materials, and colorful duct tape, to make rockets that were then launched into the driving range off a platform constructed by the club’s facilities and grounds departments.
“The kids were amazed to see the rockets launched far into the distance,” the club reports. “They gained an understanding of the principles of aeronautics through adding water to the bottle and pressurizing it with air. Everyone had a blast with this challenging event, and all look forward to when it will be held again.”