Building League Play

By

Brook Valley Golf Club

A new golf league created for public-service employees at Brook Valley CC has helped to build relationships with the community while drawing a new crowd to the club.

Will Haddock and his colleagues are no strangers to golf leagues that draw a specific type of crowd. Haddock is the Sales and Marketing Director at Brook Valley Country Club, Greenville, N.C., which hosts a league made up of players from global manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies located in the Greenville area.

Looking to generate more league play, Haddock and Golf Pro Bennett Dunn decided to create a league that would give back to the community while simultaneously drawing an untapped potential membership pool to the club.

SUMMING IT UP
  • A themed league can be a great way for a club to show appreciation to the men and women who work in public service for the surrounding community.
  • Inviting members of the community to join a league can also help gain new exposure for the club.
  • Keep it fresh by introducing a new competition for golfers for each week of league play.

“We started by contacting the proper officials within each department [of local public service organizations] to gauge their interest,” says Haddock.

As Haddock and Dunn reached out to employees of sheriff’s departments, highway patrol squads, police departments and fire and rescue crews in the area, excitement grew within the community.

Players were invited to participate in the weekly league, which started up in the spring of 2010. A $20 fee covered nine holes of golf, a golf cart and the opportunity to visit the club’s bar for post-play socializing not only with others in the league, but other members of the club.

“By inviting members of the community into our club, we’re positioning [Brook Valley] to be the hub of social activity,” says Haddock. “Plus, we’re able to show these potential members all that we have to offer.”

Haddock also reached out to the club’s membership to seek out qualified league members and generate more interest.

“Getting people to participate wasn’t hard,” he says. “From the start, the league generated a lot of interest; we had a great turnout.”

Making It Work

Six steps to league success

Will Haddock, Sales and Marketing Director at Greenville, N.C.-based Brook Valley Country Club, offers this advice to clubs looking to start up themed leagues:

  • Look to your membership roster first, to identify possible professional groups
  • Make contact with members within identified groups, to help create interest and gain valuable input
  • Determine if there are charters of identified professional groups and who their contact people would be
  • Create value for all participants (make it worth their while)
  • Strive to make the league a relaxing getaway at the same time it provides competitive opportunities
  • Keep it simple, both in organizing the league and administering its play

In a typical week, anywhere from 24 to 32 players participated in the new Brook Valley league during its first season. To accommodate the wide range of skill levels among participants, the club uses a computer program that allows it to set up tournaments or leagues in whatever format is desired: team play, handicaps, starting arrangements or pairings.

Golfers collected points each time they played, and the golfer winning the most rounds received a trophy at the end of the season. Organizers kept things fresh by offering a different contest during play each week. “We had competitions such as closest-to-the-pin or longest-drive,” says Haddock.

Taking the concept one step further, BVCC is now planning a public-service tournament for the spring of 2011 that will raise money for the families of public-safety employees who have lost their lives in the line of service. All of the league’s members will be invited to participate.

“We’re looking to raise money for sponsorships, in honor of people who have fallen in the line of duty and public safety,” says Haddock. “Along with that, we hope to raise awareness in the city and community of all that safety, fire and rescue people do on a day-to-day basis.”