Much has been said about golf in the Olympics and most of it has been negative. Brazilian delays, security concerns, the Zika virus and ultimately, the withdrawal of some marquis/money-hungry names. When the games begin, I hope all of that will be forgotten and the Olympic spirit that has inspired us for over a century will take over. Nationalism trumps all (notice the little “t”) and private clubs have a unique opportunity to capitalize.
When is the last time something this significant disrupted our sport? That alone is reason to market the event at your club. Merchandise, member viewing events, junior tournaments and even an Olympic pool (the betting kind), should be part of a club’s marketing plan in August.
Here are the top 5 things that everyone in the golf industry should know about the upcoming games:
This is NOT golf’s first Olympics – In 1900 (Paris) & 1904 (St Louis), the US won 10 out of the 13 medals awarded for golf (there was a tie for bronze in 1904). The not so current gold medalist is Canada’s George Lyon. The course was built specifically for the Olympics – Gil Hanse was selected to design the par 71 layout. Hanse has a client list that includes: Los Angeles CC, Boston Golf Club, Winged Foot, Streamsong and Doral. After the games, it will be a public facility owned by the city of Rio. The format is a 72 hole stroke play event – similar to a typical PGA Tour event, although official rules are based on the R&A. Ties will be determined by a 3 hole playoff. Schedule – the men begin on Thursday, August 11th and the women on Wednesday, the 17th. Team USA (with current World Ranking) – Men: Rickie Fowler (7), Matt Kuchar (20), Bubba Watson (6) & Patrick Reed (14). Women: Stacy Lewis (7), Lexi Thompson (4) & Gerina Piller (15).
With international heavyweights such as Jason Day, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott opting out, the road is paved for an American to take home gold. By coupling Rickie + cool Adidas uniforms + a fun event at the club, there is an opportunity to attract a future generation of soon-to-be golfers to our sport.