“Big Hole” Scramble

ron-osborneRon Osborne, a past Michigan PGA Section Golf Professional of the Year and Junior Golf Leader, as well as the current Michigan PGA Section vice president, is the PGA head professional at Binder Park Golf Course in Battle Creek, Mich.

Inspired by the Oldsmobile Scramble tournaments of the 1990s, we have been holding a monthly, four-person scramble with an exciting, enticing twist: an 8-inch golf hole. The use of the big hole offers everyone a fun change of pace, and it allows us to get creative with our pin placements, from the sides of slopes to the edges of greens. Players love the camaraderie and festive atmosphere, and they embrace the challenging, out-of-the-box course setups. The entry fee is all-inclusive, covering lunch at the turn, the winner’s purse, and skins and hole-in-one pots that carry over from month to month. To ensure a level playing field, a team’s combined handicap must add up to a minimum of 45, and only one player per team can have a handicap of eight or less. We make a point to strictly enforce these guidelines. Scrambles are held one Sunday a month from April through September, and any team that participates in at least two of the first six tournaments is eligible for the Grand Finale in October. We have received outstanding support from our longtime sponsor, Miller Lite, and because these events sell out consistently, they have seen an incredible return on their investment. In addition to offering beer specials onsite each month, Miller Lite also kicks in an extra $1,500 to the Grand Finale’s overall purse, which obviously makes the season-ending tournament that much more special.

Ron Osborne on the business impact of hosting a “Big Hole” scramble:
For more than 20 years, these tournaments have been a great way to generate business on the days and months that generally aren’t quite as busy. They not only get people on the course in the sometimes-chilly weather of April and October, but they have also increased play on Sundays, which tend to be a little slower at our public, 27-hole facility. Our typical Sunday revenue is approximately $3,000; when we host a scramble, that doubles to $6,000, and sometimes more. A sold-out event consists of 120 players, but we have had as many as 200 players when the Skins and hole-in-one pots have built up later in the season.

If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email RJOsborne@ci.battle-creek.mi.us