Host a Multi-Club Event

thomas-barryThomas Barry, a 2014 inductee in the Middle Atlantic PGA Section Hall of Fame, is the PGA head professional at Jefferson Lakeside Country Club in Richmond, Virginia.

This year, we will host the 64th annual Lakeside Invitational. We send out invitations to 36 golf clubs that are members of the Richmond Golf Association (RGA). Each club can bring two teams (A and B) to play in the event. The A-team consists of the players with a handicap of 9.4 or lower and the B-team consists of the players that play over a 9.4 handicap. Since the RGA has grown, we have gained more teams, which makes it difficult to play the tournament in one day. Now, the A-teams play on a Wednesday, and the B-teams play on a Thursday. Although we hold team competitions, which is the most exciting, we also record individual scores and pay out golf shop credit accordingly to help increase foot traffic in the golf shop and move merchandise. For our facility, this tournament exposes the golf course to many new faces. For the golfers, it gives them an opportunity to play a shorter, but challenging golf course in a competitive atmosphere. Some clubs even have Lakeside Invitational qualifiers to decide who will be representing their club in the tournament. Along with the golf, players are treated to food & beverage, all of which is included in their entry fee. With golf shop credit, entry fees and golf car fees, and food & beverage, all operations at our facility are positively impacted by hosting this event. The most important part of the tournament for me is the goodwill that it provides. Often, these players make friends that they continue to play with in the future.

If a team accepts an invitation to play in the Lakeside Invitational, they send in their $310 entry fee which covers their golf, food & beverage, and prizes. This fee covers an A-team and a B-team for each golf club. If they only wish to have one team, they only have to pay half price. On average, we usually have 60 to 70 percent of the 36 clubs invited participate each year. This year we have 22 teams participating. Each player is required to ride, therefore, we receive an additional $18 golf car fee from each of them. Once making their team, some players come out for a practice round prior to the event, just to become more familiar with the golf course. We discount their round, but are still able to generate $25 per practice round. For the winners and high finishers, golf shop credit is rewarded. This encourages sales in the golf shop, and often times they spend more than the value of their winnings. When golfers have been eyeing a product for a while, shop credit serves as the discount they needed to convince themselves to make the purchase. The advantageous part about it is that they are buying it from me. The exposure of the tournament has also contributed to over 20 new members since it began. By hosting the tournament during the week, we are able to increase our play substantially during slower times while leaving the weekend available for members and their guests.

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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.