Member-Guest Gifts

john-marinoJohn Marino, the Carolinas PGA Section Vice President and the 2012 Carolinas PGA Section Bill Strausbaugh Award winner, is the PGA director of operations at Old Chatham Golf Club in Durham, North Carolina.

There was a time when Old Chatham Golf Club would give out a player gift at all five events we held, excluding the club championship. Looking down the road, we wanted the key gifts and events to be special, so we made the switch to strictly give out those gifts at our two member-guest events: The Hogan and the Fall Invitational. With seven country clubs locally, and the fact a lot of our members play in events around the country, we want to make sure the gifts are not only unique, but something they will use often and fits their taste. While they are great gifts, we have tried to stay away from the duffle bags, luggage and things of that nature because many members already have those products. Making this change has also allowed us to up the cost of the gifts, making them more valuable. They can now range anywhere from $130 to $150, up from the normal $75 to $100 range. From giving out four bottles of high-end wine to a leather billfold with a $140 gift card to our golf shop inside, we have been getting great responses.

Pretty much everything we have given out as a key gift over the years can be found on sale in our golf shop. So in turn we have seen an increase of approximately 30 percent in sales with members seeking pieces from events they missed or an additional item they especially liked. Also, whether it be our member-guest or our other events, we have seen more than a 50-percent increase in participation. We are getting new members to join in our events, and the existing membership has always supported these events. Also, for tournaments where we do not give a key gift, there has not been a reduction in the entry fees. That way we are able to do a bit better with the food, and prize payouts can go deeper as well, adding to the overall quality of those tournaments.

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