I was not here for the Links construction, but I arrived just as it was completed. All of us dream of building and owning our own course, I was no different. The only thing I missed out on was the birth of an idea. That’s sort of where I want to take this, because some course births confuse me.
When an individual or group sets out to build a course, I have to imagine it’s 100% about golf. They want a certain course, with certain features, certain tournaments, on certain conditions. They want a certain pro who offers certain amenities. Clubhouse has a certain look, and will only meet certain needs. The investor group sees a certain kind of player, spending a certain amount of money. The entire plan is born with intention of pouring their heart and soul into their sole asset: the GOLF COURSE. Ground is broken.
Fast forward… these same courses bombard you with marketing: Haunted Hayrides, Magic Shows, Wine & Cheese Tasting, Foot Golf, Fling Golf, Coloring Contests, Bingo, Lighted Walks, Bar “Sign Ins”, Cross Country Skiing, Father/Daughter Fishing, Simulators, Cooking Class, Live Music, Snowshoeing, Betting Pools. What happened to golf? There is no way when that course was built that people sat around and said “let’s spend millions of dollars on a golf course, in case all our little side show socializing gimmicks don’t work… at least we’ll have a golf option to fall back on”. I think a huge reason why this happens, is because some of the people running golf courses, aren’t that passionate about golf. I mean, would you let the pastor at your church put a new transmission in your car? He’s a great guy, but you still need a car that works.
Every course does it their own way. Our way is not better, it’s simply our way. If I had the opportunity to envision and build a course, I’m pretty sure I’d only be dreaming about the golf. Like I said, I missed the opening act, but since arriving, I’ve been all about the golf. I’m content to attract patrons who love the idea that we are passionate about golf. If you are hoping I’m pushing Hot Yoga, you’re out of luck. If you love golf, then you might like the concept that my mind, and my time… are never filled with cute-sie side show stuff. It’s always focused on the reason we exist in the first place…golf.
On the other hand, do golfers go to a golf course for the course or for the camaraderie amongst other golfers in their group? I agree golf is golf but it’s much more then that. It’s enjoying the time with friends, family, co-workers, etc….that make people want to go and if a place can offer more amenities isn’t that even better for the community as a whole? The culture of golf has remained the same but the etiquette side has diminished over the past decade. One could also say if you are not at least trying you are training your guest that you are good with the basics.
I guess I just see it differently. I agree that the hook is do it with friends and family, but I believe the golf can stand by itself as the entertainment. I know this because I can go to a Timberrattler game with family or friends and the baseball can stand by itself. However the Timberrattlers don’t believe the baseball can stand by itself, so we need to see tiny racing cars, sausage races, inflatables, a dancing chicken, etc. You made an interesting comment at the end. You insinuate that a business that is not creating endless gimmicks is boringly basic. I would argue that a business that has to create endless gimicks, is not a business that is good at anything, so they have to create endless gimicks.