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February 15, 2019

Tom Farris: Maximize Facility Usage Through Programming

Tom Farris is the PGA Head Golf Professional at Anchorage Golf Course, in Anchorage, Alaska.

Tom Farris on the importance of maximizing facility usage through programming:
Ask anyone what they know about Alaska and they’ll inevitably tell you it’s cold and dark all winter long. Ask any Alaskan about our state, and the destination will be on your bucket list by the end of the conversation. The fact is that our golf season is nearly as long as many of our neighbors in the Pacific Northwest, upper Midwest, and our colleagues in the Northeast. Daylight lasting almost 24 hours in season allows us the opportunity to offer unique programming and special events to bring golfers and non-golfers to the course and restaurant. One such event is our Burger, Bucket, and Brew Fridays, which run weekly from May to September. Our customers head to the range for a bucket of balls, a beer, and a burger – at $18 for the trio, our regulars look forward to Friday nights all week. We always see some new faces and many non-golfers as well. Our hardcore golfers will play in the afternoon and join the fun on the range after the round, where they can try the latest club offerings from our fitting carts. Add live music to the mix and it’s a memorable experience with a broad group of golfers and non-golfers each and every Friday evening! Early in the season, we will tie in a fitting day with all of our vendors. With Callaway’s help, we’ve even hosted a “24 hours of fitting”, scheduling fittings all night long. Our Date, hosted twice monthly, gives many of our Get Golf Ready graduates a natural transition from the range to the course, with no pressure and no rules to follow. During the scramble format, golfers vie to win prizes in contests like closest to the Port-O-Potty or closest to the pond in two. After play, we serve an amazing buffet and often have more live music to enjoy. The $99 per couple is a real bargain. We have leagues on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings, with tournaments, outings, and open play from Thursday to Sunday. Further epitomizing full course usage, we host AARP on Tuesday mornings and our WOW league on Wednesday mornings.

Tom Farris on the business impact of maximizing facility usage through programming:
With three areas throughout the facility to host special events, it’s always a party at Anchorage Golf Course. We host 100-150 guests during Burger, Bucket, and Brew Fridays, average 50 players per Date Night, 90 players on Wacky Women Thursday, and each of our other leagues has between 20 and 70 golfers. Almost all of these golfers spend time in the restaurant as well. Any PGA Professional in the north understands the importance of maximizing facility usage during our abbreviated golf seasons. By engaging golfers in a variety of ways, we are getting people outdoors during a beautiful time of year in Alaska. We’re using the facility to the max, generating up to 35,000 rounds each year. We are a focal point in our community and a destination for locals and tourists alike. We strive to make the place feel like home for everyone who walks through our doors. The feedback we receive (in the numbers and the comments) is an indication that we are doing something right. We’re a public facility, but our regulars feel like members at Anchorage Golf Course, more evidence of our successful customer engagement.

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