By Michael Williams, Contributor, Golf Business
The Ryder Cup is one of the most popular events in all of American sports. Competed every two years, the Ryder Cup combines the drama of a major championship with the fervor of international competition. The event definitely grabs the attention of the golf world. It also provides an opportunity for operators to take advantage of the hoopla to bring golfers in and keep them on the property longer.
Of course, the first and best thing to do is to know when the broadcast is happening and make sure that it is readily available. The Ryder Cup is an excellent TV show because for the great majority of the event, every single shot by every single golfer is meaningful. You’ll want to make sure that you have your staff have your screens dialed into the broadcast channels for every minute of the action.
Operators may even want to look at the possibility of adding additional screens or take the opportunity to upgrade that 100-inch screen you’ve had your eye on. Offering customers a better viewing experience than they can have at home is a great way to get them out and keep them there. And maybe those watching the golf will stick around after it’s done to watch the NFL.
Another way to capitalize is with the food and beverage program. Special offerings that reflect the spirit of the Ryder Cup will be popular; how about specialty cocktails named after famous Ryder Cup venues? I’d definitely be up for a Kiawah Island Iced Tea or a Medinah Martini. And how about a plate of Fowler Fries and Brooks Koep-Kakes for dessert?
Operators can take the spirit of the event to the golf course with their own Ryder Cup-style competition. Match play is overlooked in the United States among most players, but it is as fun as it is competitive, with the added joy of playing on and for a team. Creating a Ryder cup-style event is a great way to introduce the public to the benefits of match play and create a market for future event opportunities.
And with simulator technology more available than ever, why not use the opportunity to set up a simulated golf experience for guests? Operators could give guests the opportunity to play the same course where the current competition is held, or even set up closest to the pin/long drive competitions on famous holes of past venues. It would be a great way to introduce the product to your current guests as well as attract new golfers to give it a try.
Not so long ago, wagering on sporting events was more tolerated than encouraged. Now, betting is an integral part of virtually all sports, especially major events like the Ryder Cup. I’ll admit that betting is not really my thing, but there are plenty of resources online to help set up pools where guests can get a little skin in the game of their own while watching the action.
As with all promotions, maximizing its effectiveness depends on the operator’s ability to get the word out. Signage on property, email blasts, social media and paid advertising should all be employed to amplify your message. The Ryder Cup is one of the special times when the eyes of the sporting world will be on golf. Operators can use that opportunity to let the public know that the best place to watch is at the golf course.