Serious Tourneys

Kieron Mooney, the 2006 Middle Atlantic PGA Section Merchandiser of the Year for Public Facilities, is the PGA head professional at RedGate Golf Course in Rockville, Md.

We have a RedGate Tournament Players Club, with approximately 220 golfers from the surrounding communities interested in our events. Each of our 35 tournaments is limited to 100 players, and spots are given out on a first-come, first-served basis. Participation is always strong, as Club members fight to get spots in the events, guaranteeing they’ll get a chance to play golf that weekend when regular tee times might be booked. Participation is limited to golfers who’ve played at least 10 full rounds at our course and maintain a USGA handicap. We offer tournaments for all handicap levels. On top of the green fees for each event is an entry fee, which goes to a purse of shop credit distributed to the top players. Also important to the success of the series is that players accumulate points throughout the season, giving them more motivation to play in as many events as they can. At the end of the year, we split the top-ranked players into two even teams and host a Ryder Cup-style event. Participants are truly treated like tour players, as we put them up for the weekend, give them matching team shirts, hats, sleeves of golf balls and fully catered food, and have a great couple days of camaraderie and competition.

Our golfers love this tournament series, and some players even drive in from 60 or 70 miles away. From a direct economic benefit, the tournaments are just about guaranteed to bring in 100 players for 35 different weeks. On top of that, many of them will also invest in our golf shop or lessons, or stay for lunch or drinks afterwards. The City of Rockville promotes “Buy Rockville” – I can’t think of a better way to support that motto. In today’s economy, anything you can do to get people interested in your facility is a good thing, and with more demand for these tournaments than we can fill on a weekly basis, the program is a clear success.