Benefits of Offering Contests

sean-palmerSean Palmer, the 2014 Philadelphia Section Assistant Professional of the Year, is the PGA head professional at the Union League Golf Club at Torresdale in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Our first golf outing under our new ownership, the Union League, was originally supposed to consist of 140 golfers, but an extra 26 golfers who were not signed up showed up expecting to play in the event. This can happen a lot with outside outings, and with a discrepancy of this many players, we knew we were going to have an issue with pace of play. Although we have a pace of play system installed in our golf cars, we decided to create fun “distractions” in strategic places around the course where bottlenecks can occur (par-3s, reachable par-5s). We incorporated beer tastings on tees and a Beat the Professional contest with a unique twist. We had a deck of cards that included chances for golfers to try to beat one of my PGA assistant professionals with either a current model driver, 1990s, 1980s, persimmon or hickory-shafted driver. If the golfer beat the professional, he or she would double his or her wager in golf shop credit. Those who didn’t fair well could still spend their wager in the shop.

The strategies implemented to occupy players at tee boxes were both profitable and socially beneficial. While waiting at the tee boxes, golfers had the bonus opportunity of networking with other players and PGA Professionals. We sold more beer during and after the outing compared to outings with similar field sizes, and the Beat the Professional contest encouraged people to spend money (including their wagers) in the golf shop. In this particular situation, 15 of the 86 participants doubled their wagers in shop credit, thus increasing our sales. Essentially, we were making money and benefitting from what began as a bad situation.

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Editor’s note: The above comments reflect the opinion and experiences of the submitting PGA Professional and are not endorsed by PGA Magazine or the PGA of America.