Host College Club Teams

mike-hodginsMichael Hodgins, the 2003 Michigan PGA Section Horton Smith Award winner, is the PGA director of golf at Orlando World Center Marriott, Hawk’s Landing Golf Club, in Orlando, Florida.

College Links is a program where college students who present their ID can play Marriott-owned facilities at discounted rates. Earlier this year, the College Links folks reached out to Marriott Golf corporate headquarters about developing a relationship with Marriott Golf and inquired about hosting some college club teams from the state of Florida at Hawk’s Landing for a friendly competition. We said yes, seeing it as a way to open our doors to millennials as a lot of our usual customers are baby boomers. So on October 4-5 we had 59 participants from multiple college club teams from all over Florida for 36 holes of team stroke play (Saturday afternoon featured a double tee start and Sunday morning was a shotgun). We saw this as a way to give back to the game and as a way to help grow the game by enabling these non-varsity, yet still highly-competitive golfers a chance to experience competition at a great course, while also allowing them to see our facility and hopefully gain some future customers.

This event helps our bottom line in multiple ways. First, we charge about $200 in course fees (which is about 50 percent less than we normally charge) for a five-person team (12 teams participated) for playing in the event. The money is either paid directly by the players themselves or via various team fundraisers during the year. As a result we make greens fees revenue, along with $700 off the beverage cats and another $1,000 from the restaurant, and smaller, incremental type purchases in the golf shop like balls, gloves, caps, etc. It also helps us to fill a slow week because our rates increase (this is the beginning of our season here in Orlando) the first week of October, so it helps to keep the traffic up. While we didn’t give out any prizes, we made sure the players knew that they can play our course at a reduced rate, which for a lot of them, is a huge win in itself. We look forward to working with College Links on hosting this event again next year, and were proud to do our part to grow the game, and especially to reach that millennials group that so many in golf are desperately trying to attract.

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