When you’re spending tens of millions to dramatically transform your club through a project involving thousands of details, hundreds of vendors and a deadline that can’t be moved or missed, you need reliable and responsive vendors who can efficiently minimize the time needed to work with you, while maximizing the value of what they provide. And once you’ve placed an order, you need to be sure the products you want are the products you’ll get.
These requirements were the rule for anyone who wanted to do business with the PGA TOUR during the massive makeover of its showcase TPC Sawgrass property in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (“Taking TPC Sawgrass to the Cutting Edge,” C&RB, August 2007).
And they were especially critical considerations for one part of the project that fell under the responsibility of National Director of Golf Billy Dettlaff. Among his many renovation-related duties, Dettlaff had to procure items on a long list of new golf course amenities and furnishings that were needed to provide the proper complements and functionality to the new look, and enhanced experience, being created at TPC Sawgrass.
The list included: divot bottle boxes, bag stands, club cleaners, water cooler enclosures and signage for the driving range; podiums and bag racks for the bag drop and valet areas; waste enclosures, benches and water bottle boxes that would be placed throughout the course.
Many of these items would be positioned in prominent areas of the property and be among the first things that a member or guest could see either when arriving at TPC Sawgrass’ impressive new 77,000-sq.-ft. “Mediterranean Revival”-style clubhouse, or while playing the famous PLAYERS Stadium Course, using its expanded practice range, or visiting the on-site PGA Tour Academy instructional facility.
|Billy Dettlaff, National Director of Golf, TPC Sawgrass|
The operative phrase, however, was “could see,” as opposed to “would see.”
“When you’re building a clubhouse and have a championship golf course like ours, obviously those are what you want people to be most impressed with,” Dettlaff says. “You don’t necessarily want them to notice a refuse container or water cooler enclosure or bag stand; when they’re noticed, in fact, it’s usually because they’ve fallen over or are in bad condition.
“At the same time, we wanted to make sure everything we put around our new clubhouse and course would fit in with the high-end look we were creating, and contribute to the overall experience. So it was important that all items matched the upgraded style we were trying to achieve.”
Special (and Fast) Deliveries
Because of the project’s tight, unyielding timeline (work that would normally take two-and-a-half years had to be completed in 14 months, between the end of the PLAYERS Championship in March 2006 and the start of the 2007 Championship this past May), it was also important for Dettlaff to find a one-stop source that could provide the desired level of quality for all of the amenities and fixtures on his list. And while there wasn’t a lot of time, or budget, for a high degree of customization, TPC Sawgrass wanted the flexibility to be able to add special requirements, such as logos and other enhancements, to the supplier’s existing product lines.
While it all added up to a formidable set of requirements that would seem hard for any one vendor to meet, Dettlaff’s persistent search eventually led to a company that could deliver on all demands: Prestwick Golf Group, an Oconomowoc, Wis.-based manufacturer that recently changed its name from Great Lakes Golf Course Products.
“I was initially impressed with the traditional, natural wood-based look of their Keystone Collection,” he recalls. “Then I learned they had a design group that could integrate some of the signature trimwork and other touches being used throughout our clubhouse and around our course, to take everything to a more customized level.”
Prestwick’s in-house design group also helped to greatly expedite the approval process for all of the items on Dettlaff’s list before they were produced and shipped. “They were very creative and sophisticated, but also very efficient,” he reports. “They would e-mail color PDFs of renderings to me that I could react to quickly and also put in a presentation book, to get approval from others [involved with the project].”
Michael Fryatt, Prestwick’s Director of National Sales, says manufacturers must now be more sensitive to the many other things clients have on their plates during major renovation and construction projects, especially when time is tight and physical distances are great.
"We’ve refined our technology and techniques so we now have the capability to quickly provide clients with digital concepts for the custom furnishings they are envisioning for their facility," Fryatt says. “No one has the time to go through a dozen modifications any more; you have to nail it the first or second time.”
incorporated special trim and logos into custom furnishings for TPC
Sawgrass, and even helped to create the “Billy Brush”.
The “Billy Brush”
The process went so smoothly, in fact, that Dettlaff and Prestwick even found time to devise a special solution to a vexing problem: shoe “cleaners” that only end up making bigger messes.
“It had always bothered me how when people cleaned their spikes, they left a lot of unsightly clippings and other debris around entrances to clubhouses and other areas you really want to keep looking their best,” Dettlaff says. He worked with Prestwick to design a cleaner-within-a-container (now fondly referred to as the “Billy Brush”) that successfully traps all shoe residue so it can easily be vacuumed up.
This kind of innovation was just one of many examples, Dettlaff says, where Prestwick helped devise solutions for a set of objectives that might have even sounded contradictory at first.
“We wanted a blend of aesthetics and value, but with aesthetics winning out,” he says. “And we wanted products that would stand out as classy, but also blend in and not be intrusive, to provide continuity with the overall look we were creating.
‘To do this, [the amenities and fixtures] would really have to have a subliminal effect—they don’t make you stop and notice them, but they add to an overall presence.”
And as subtle as some of the objectives for the TPC Sawgrass order might have been, Prestwick clearly got, and delivered on, the message.