Holiday Skins

Mickey Herron, recipient of the 2007 New England PGA Section Bill Strausbaugh Award, is a Quarter Century PGA member and the PGA director of golf at Bay Pointe Country Club in Onset, Mass., and he serves on the New England Tournament Advisory Board.

Our semi-private club had searched for ways to improve our business on holiday Mondays for years. After all, we typically see rounds decrease dramatically on such Mondays, the third day of a holiday weekend, from both our membership (we have 200 members) and the public. To bring in more business, we experimented with special tournaments with little success. However, a few years ago we began what has now become an incredibly popular program: Holiday Skins Games. Members and public players can make their own groups and tee-times, and enter one or both skins pools: gross & net. To put it frankly, we were shocked at the number of golfers who entered both pools (i.e. low handicappers entering the net skins while high handicappers returned the favor by entering the gross pool). Surprising us further was their total acceptance of the entry fee for each pool: $20. We learned early on that all levels of players loved the notion of getting a skin and enjoyed the cash component which accompanied the skins. Since that first Holiday Skins Game, we’ve continued this successful endeavor, and it’s been a fantastic way to fill otherwise dead time.

Essentially, this new promotion was directly responsible for turning around our “soft” rounds played on these holiday Mondays. We saw a dramatic 20-25 percent increase in both public and member rounds. In addition, we now field requests to run these skins games on virtually any holiday, no matter how obscure. As long as one segment of the population gets the day off, people are interested. One example is Patriots Day, a truly unique Massachusetts holiday for government workers. By offering separate gross and net skins games, all golfers are given an opportunity to “get a skin.” Folks who never played on this third day of a holiday weekend are now looking forward to it. Indeed, rarely have I witnessed a promotion so well received across the board by our customers. And no matter what type of facility you’re at, golfers seem to appreciate – and in fact, gravitate toward – a chance to win big.