Create a Political Party Partnership

jason-polkaJason Polka is the PGA head professional at Malone (New York) Golf Club.

Many people, especially in public settings, consider politics a topic to avoid due to its polarizing nature. At Malone Golf Club, however, we took a different tact. Each year, starting in 2011, we’ve hosted the local Democratic and Republican parties for a fun tournament against each other. The event is made up of 100-120 people playing at $75 per person. The format is a four-person scramble off the red, white and blue tees. Playing off all three tees signifies the colors of our flag and the unity of the two parties. It is a good-spirited contest not unlike the Ryder Cup, with both political parties playing against each other in a friendly competition, and both parties making a donation to the charity of their choice. We make it as fun as possible for all skill levels and a relaxed atmosphere for all involved.

Several members of the golf club are highly involved with their political parties, so they were very pleased to be able to hold the event on their own course. For the non-members of the club, this is a great way to expose the facility and potentially bring them back to play additional rounds of golf. After the event, both political parties wound up booking separate fundraiser events in our banquet facility, bringing in an additional $2,500 in food revenue alone, not to mention how much beverage and other revenue we saw throughout the day. There was no town, village or member backlash of having any association with the political parties. I think that if you hosted one party and not the other, the facility could run into potential issues, but having both parties here together really resulted in having a great event and a palpable friendly rivalry between players. Having a political party golf tournament brings additional revenue to the club as it’s an additional event at the facility and can also lead to further deals. For example, we hosted a Democrats-only tournament this year, which came about after holding the Republican/Democratic tournament. So don’t look past political groups as possible customers. If handled correctly, everyone may truly come out a winner.

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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.