Corporate Golf Days: Outside the Box?

By Chris Duffy CMDip

Golf Clubs, Country Clubs, or Tennis Clubs are continually seeking alternative ways to attract external revenues streams beyond membership fees. More and more businesses are seeking Corporate Partnerships or Strategic Alliances, where companies and clubs come together to work hand-in-hand in developing each others products and services.

However, for many Golf Clubs these partnerships can begin by hosting a Corporate Golf Day. Car Dealerships, Regional Banking Corporations, Airlines and even the Local Business Council are usually interested in hosting these annual activities. Often these days are used to thank their strategic partners or gain new one’s, but here’s the question?

What’s the cost?
Well anybody who hasn’t completed the CMAE MDP Programme will soon learn that:

Value = Experience – Cost

How do we the club, create the best possible ‘Experience’ with a relative ‘Cost’ to give the best potential ‘Value’ to the client?

Golf Days vary in size, shape and form, from on-course catering and dinner menus, pre-round gifts & post round prizes and entertainment but one thing needs to come before all the above: Value; does your club offer Value?

One example of an airline related ‘Golf Day’ I developed and hosted was for a Large International Carrier. The brief was they wanted to role out an ‘Experience’ at NEW International flagship destinations via Golf. The day would need to be unique, exclusive and in-line with the company’s exceptional service standards both in the air and on the ground.

The concept that we arrived to was to take the guests ‘On a Flight like no other’ and went like as follows:

  1. Flight Booking: Guests were selected from the Airlines Frequent Flyer database and were registered residents of the new destination where they had listed ‘Golf’ as an interest.
  2. Flight Confirmation: Guests selected were contacted via email and telephone to understand if they would be interested to play in the Airlines ‘On a Flight like no other’ experience.
  3. Ticketing: Each of the guests would be issued with an Airline style ‘Boarding Pass’ via email to confirm their entry to the Experience Day which they needed to confirm.
  4. Chauffeur Limousine Pick Up: As the Airline prided itself on its First & Business Class complementary limousine service all guests were collected from their homes and brought to the venue, as they would be if flying with the airline.
  5. Check in: Guests were greeted at the Bag Drop where all luggage was collected and guests escorted to the ‘Check in’ desks. Here they were handed refreshing towels and champagne while gifts of the day which included a Corporate Golf Shirt & Cap alongside the Airlines First Class Amenity Kit were distributed.
  6. First Class Departure Lounge: A business lounge was created in a separate area of the Golf Club where guests could sample the Airlines Business Class seats, take a complimentary massage or just sit and relax before boarding with cocktails and canapés.
  7. Boarding: The guests were asked to meet at the ‘Runway’ (1st Tee area) where boarding would commence, group photos taken and final refreshments served.
  8. Flight – (4.5 Hours): The round of golf was seen as ‘The Flight’. A shotgun start where the Airline hostesses in uniform were on hand at the 1st and 10th Tees with refreshments and for photos with the guests.
  9. Arrival Lounge: Created with the theme of the Airlines ‘Home Destination’, this lounge included immigration and customs officials in local dress serving drinks, friendly locally themed entertainment and cuisine of the Airlines home nation before prizes were distributed.
  10. Departure: Each guest was transported safely home in the Airlines Signature Limousines. 

Since this event the Airline has continued the ‘On a Flight Like No Other’ experience at eight new destinations to date and the Host Club has adapted the format for other clients including Car Dealerships and Hotel Chains.

We all understand Golf Days have a budget and many will not have the funding to do the above, but just looking at the specifics of the day, most of the ‘cost’ items are supplied from the Sponsor Airline. The Golf Club provided the venue, course, golf carts, catering and golf related gift items.

Don’t just give them the standard Golf Day: Round of Golf, Cap & Shirt (sometimes) and a 3 course meal.

Why not think of something a little different, outside the box, and create a unique ‘Experience’ that will give your clients the greatest ‘Value’ they are all seeking.

Chris on Value = Experience – Cost

Most of us will have seen the ‘Golfsixes’ event held on the European Tour recently. This was all about creating a new ‘Experience’ for spectators, and in turn greater ‘Value’.

6-hole match play, Entrance music, Pyrotechnics, Shot Clocks, Nearest the Pin tiebreaks, were some of the unique additions to making the golf ‘Experience’ more family orientated, fun, fast and engaging. The cost of the music, shot clocks, nearest the pins or kids only zones, didn’t ‘cost’ a great amount but it did create a unique ‘Experience’ for spectators who came away saying the event was ‘great value for all the family’ and they would be back in 2018.

Its often to difficult to understand the true ‘Value’ of any corporate function until long after the event but one thing is for certain, if you make the ‘Experience’ unforgettable, sponsors, strategic partners and guests will want to be return to your Club long into the future.

For more information you can contact Chris Duffy on [email protected]

Recently relocated to Girona, Spain after 12 years in Doha, Qatar. He previously worked as Event Staging Manager at the European Tour Qatar Masters and Head of Golf Operations at Doha Golf Club.  In 2008, he established Oryx Events, a leading Event Management Agency working on many leading Qatar sports events including, Qatar MotoGP, Qatar Tennis Championships and the successful bid for the Qatar World Cup 2022.He is current seeking a return to Golf Club Management having recently completed the CMAE MDP pathway in only 6 months and “can’t wait to return to Club Management where he will be able to use the MDP education in the development of Golf as a game for all.”