May 2, 2018

Rob Karnes: Offer Fun Golf Activities on the Range During Events

Rob Karnes, the 2017 Southern Ohio PGA Section Merchandiser of the Year for Private Facilities and a PGA Master Professional, is PGA Head Professional at Dayton (Ohio) Country Club.


Rob Karnes on the importance of offering fun golf activities on the range during events:
Our Food & Beverage manager, who books all of the social events and company retreats at the club, came to me and said, “I have a group of 350 people doing an event at the club, and 50 percent have never touched a golf club. What can we do to secure this lucrative group?” I told him to do whatever it took to book the event and tell the event organizer that we would have a fun golf event for them to participate in. So we organized an event where the company had a meeting in the morning, then lunch, followed by an activity of their choice: either staying in the clubhouse for karaoke or coming outside for a team golf competition. Of the 350 people in attendance, over 200 chose golf. We broke them into four large “teams” and assigned each of the teams to a member of our staff, who served as the captain. We then rotated from station to station: long drive, putting, chipping, and pitching. Every player participated in every activity. Complimentary beverages were available, music was playing, and it was a “festival type” atmosphere – a social hour with golf involved. It was almost a TopGolf type atmosphere. Golfers on the teams felt like heroes, showing off in front of the non-golfers. Non-golfers enjoyed being exposed to the stations with no expectations or pressure. It was a nice team-building exercise for co-workers.


Rob Karnes on the business impact of offering fun golf activities on the range during events:

This event took about three hours of staff time, and produced well over $10,000 in revenue for the club. As a staff, we have discussed the fact that it now opens up a new type of “golf outing” possibility – one that doesn’t even use the golf course. Plus, we netted a nice profit, and the participants had a great time. We were able to do it on a day other than Monday since the golf course wasn’t used. Our F&B director knows he now has this type of activity available to offer and we will, without question, utilize the concept again.