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March 21, 2012

Rod Cook: Create a Family Course to Fill Slow Periods

Rod Cook is the PGA head professional at Four Season Resort Costa Rica.

Rod Cook on the importance of creating a family course:
At resort facilities, increasing customers’ range use as a revenue-builder can be a tricky task. The typical resort guest tends to warm up briefly prior to play or simply head to the tee for their 18-hole round. But we decided to view this as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. Most of our rounds are played very early, from 6:30-8:30 a.m., with things slowing down around 1:30 in the afternoon. At this point, the range becomes fairly empty. Right at 2 p.m., my staff converts the range targets into a five-hole par-3 course for families. The holes range from 50 to 100 yards, which allows for two or three clubs max. It takes roughly 20 to 30 minutes to play. We’ve also set up night light golf events and constructed an 18-hole all natural putting course adjacent to the driving range that’s been big for family play. With this program, the resort and I are doing our best to help introduce families to the game.

Rod Cook on the business impact of creating a family course:
This new product provides many opportunities for families, member outings or corporate business. While there is no charge for use of the putting course or the five-hole par-3 course (both are included in the room charge), we feel that if we offer something for free, or on a feasible price scale, where families can learn the game of golf and have some fun at the same time, we’re doing a service to the game, the industry and our facility. It also creates loyalty, as these families will always remember that the Four Seasons is where they first learned the game and want to return in the future.