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March 25, 2019

Todd Michaelsen: Host a Glow Ball Event on the Range

Todd Michaelsen is the PGA Director of Golf at The Club at Kukui’ula, in Koloa, Hawaii.

Todd Michaelsen on the importance of hosting a glow ball event on the range:
It happens at all clubs I’m sure. Cliques form and members settle into playing most of their golf with the same few individuals. Great friendships form out of this camaraderie, but what about the rest of the members? As PGA Professionals, it is important for us to create special events that bring the whole membership together in golf, food, and fellowship. One way we do that at The Club at Kukui’ula is by hosting a huge Glow Ball event on our driving range during the annual holiday season. Tents are set up with a DJ spinning tunes, food trucks selling their wares, apps and drinks being enjoyed, and over 150 members and guests playing our 7-hole glow ball par-3 course, as well as our 9-hole glow ball putting course. The seven holes range from 50-90 yards and are illuminated just enough for golfers to enjoy the unusual experience of playing golf at night, and the putting course varies in length and undulation as you’d expect. Not only do we welcome a majority of our membership to this special club event, but they bring their kids and guests as well. In fact, about 25% of the crowd are kids having a ball at this ultra-cool event. Everyone gets a glow necklace when they check in and get shuttled to the range by our staff. All of their senses are satisfied as the range is illuminated, the music is playing, aromas from the food trucks fill the air, drinks flow at the bar, and a great golf experience is in store. It really is a festival feeling. To create the tradition that this occasion has become, we hold the Glow Ball event on the day before New Year’s Eve every year, and the members anticipate the evening for months in advance. The popularity of the annual mega Glow Ball event has spun off almost a dozen smaller pop-up Glow Ball experiences that we host for small groups and parties.

Todd Michaelsen on the business impact of hosting a glow ball event on the range:
Now in its seventh year, our annual Glow Ball event has become a biggest member tournament or outing of the year. As stated earlier, we have over 150 participants enjoying the Glow Ball evening, four times the attendance we had the first year. They sign up online and in our golf shop and include golfers and non-golfers, members we see regularly and those more sparingly, guests, and families. We charge $80 for adults and $40 for kids and non-golfers. Engaging the members on the evening of the event is great, but the discussions and anticipation that grow by the day make the holiday season in Koloa even more joyous. The night is super-fun and super-fast – it’s a celebration during the most wonderful time of the year. It’s about members mingling, meeting new friends, including various non-members of the club who are renting on holiday in our on-site lodge. It’s truly a fantastic celebration of camaraderie and friendship among our membership and then some, the perfect way to close out one year, say Aloha to the another, and Mahalo to our great members.

 

If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email tmichaelsen@kukuiula.com