Run a FedExCup Style Point System

Stewart-McCombStewart McComb, the 2012 North Florida PGA Section’s East Central Chapter Merchandiser of the Year for Resort Facilities, is the PGA head professional at Orange Lake Resort in Kissimmee, Fla.

While at my previous place of employment, West Orange Country Club, I was seeking a way to increase interest in our annual tournaments and outings, along with increasing the total number of tournaments that each member participated in each summer. This was 2006, around the time that the PGA Tour was unveiling the FedExCup, and an idea was born: have a season-long, FedExCup-style points system that would eventually crown a champion at the end of the season. However we diverged from the PGA Tour in that our points race ended not in a four-tournament playoff, but in a nine-hole elimination shootout event featuring the top 10 point earners. So with that in mind, we only allotted points for the top 10 finishers at our events, with first place getting 10 points, second getting nine, third getting eight and so on. Those points held true for both single and partner events, with both partners getting the same number of points in that situation. We also gave out five points for merely signing up and participating in the event. And while we didn’t offer a $30 million bonus pool like the PGA Tour did, anyone who did make the elimination shootout did receive escalating values of shop credit, with the winner getting the largest amount along with a trophy. That pot of money came from entry fees. In 2006, $1 from every tournament fee went toward the pot, while the amount was raised to $2 in 2007 and 2008.

The points system accomplished everything we hoped it would. From 2006-2008 there was a 41 percent increase in members playing in at least one additional event than they previously had. Additionally, there was a 58 percent increase in tournament participants who played in every single event for the whole season. Most telling, however, might be this stat: 60 percent of the total membership in 2008 participated in at least one event, showing how excited the whole member base was about the program. And because the prize was shop credit, the money went right back into the golf shop and helped the club via purchases of new equipment or other merchandise. The program kept growing to where in my final year there (2008) the total pool of cash available amounted to $3,500. That might not seem that much, but we were a club of only 250 members. Consequently, this could be an even larger success at a club with a larger membership base, as the pot could easily reach four or five figures. In addition, this strategy can be crucial for clubs looking to move excess inventory at the end of their season. It also made members think about their participation, making sure they played in enough tournaments to ensure they made it into the top 10 at season’s end and had everyone excited for the elimination shootout. It helped our sales, which saw a 272 percent increase in available credits from the first year to the third year, as participation grew. We also saw ecstatic responses from the outing clients and charities, who saw participation in their events grow. Rounds played and lessons taught increased and ancillary purchases like food & beverage went up as well. Moreover, it gave the member base a big goal to shoot for all season long, and that is what really had a long-lasting impact.