Defining Championship

One of the stupidest marketing terms in golf is this incessant reference to having a “Championship” golf course. What does that even mean? Developers in the 80’s often approached projects with idea that the PGA or the USGA might bestow one of their championships to a newly created course, and I’m sure it happened a time or two, but the reality is, the odds are terrible…. yet the term stuck.

Today the major golf organizations have their championships scheduled out 15 years in advance, I see no point to building a championship course anymore. You are not hosting a tournament. The minute the 15 year rotation is complete, I’m pretty sure they are returning to Oakmont, Pebble Beach, Pinehurst and Shinnecock. Yet  50% of all golf course websites claim to be Championship courses.

people taking photos of golf player making a putt on grass field
Photo by andrew shelley on

Why do golf course owners believe you care about that marketing phrase? As a weekend player, are you only seeking out “championship” courses? Is it a yardage thing, a slope rating thing, a difficulty thing? Is it a badge of honor to be brutalized? Is championship course another way of saying “this place is tough, you will lose lots of balls, shoot 15 strokes over your handicap, be totally intimated, and in turn demoralized… come play”.

I’m incredibly real about the whole thing. Just when I thought it might be a good idea to include that word in my marketing, I remembered that I can’t even get enough people to play in my Club “Championship”. I have decided to run from the word championship. I’ll leave that term for all the other bull shitters.

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