I'm not a golfer... If there's not a clown head or a windmill, I'm pretty much useless. But I've always wanted to learn how to play and I've loved every time I've visited a Top Golf location because it feels less intimidating when I look like an idiot with my signature move, "The Swing And A Miss".
But as we begin to put together ideas and proposals for in-person experiences for the summer and fall, it occurs to me that golf might just be the answer to our slow and measured reintroduction to 3D life for small gatherings.
Golf has always been the sport for business
Small groups allow for intimate conversations. The slow pace of play allows for more time and space for relationships to grow throughout the day. The shared experience of the ups and downs and emotions involved in golf by itself, paired with a competitive spirit and even a collaborative learning opportunity to share tips and become better, shortcuts the relationship-building aspect of any foursome who is together.
Golf is outdoors and COVID-safe
It's easy to social distance, less likely for transmission when outdoors, and you have your own set of sanitized equipment for the day.
The PGA was one of the first professional sport organizations to create and enact COVID guidelines to keep their sport intact during the pandemic. Early on, they instituted one person per golf cart, rules around not touching the pin flag, removed the rakes from each hole, added plastic dividers in carts or supplemented cart so there were enough for everyone, instituted temperature checks, and required wearing masks when not social distanced. From these regulations, golf courses around the world have implemented similar guidelines, creating a relatively consistent level of standards that makes holding a corporate event low-risk.
Golf is good for your physical and mental health
Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, but also contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.
It's also a stress-reliever. According to Inc. Magazine, while golf can be the most frustrating thing that you'll ever learn to love, it can become a terrific outlet for you to handle your work-related stress. In order to become proficient, it requires lots of practice and tremendous focus. You can't rehash a terrible meeting while you're trying to sink a 10 foot putt. So, playing gets you out of your work mindset and into a golfing frame of mind.
Ease into in-person with a golf event
Believe it or not, golf rounds are up 20% ... more golf is being played now than ever before! Got an executive gathering of 24 people? Go for a scramble start. Not enough carts? You can walk it! Or one person drives the bags, the other person walks 9 holes, then switch for the other 9.
Want a small field marketing event of 8 to 12 people? You can plan a very special experience at daily fee resort courses. During COVID, most country clubs are not permitting guest play, but that means that
it's possible to find incredible daily fee courses for unique small group experiences.
Need to do a multi-city roadshow or tour? Golf courses are the perfect venue solution across the world! You can tent them during inclement weather, enjoy the sun during great weather, and they are easy to work with on outdoor dining options.
But what if we're not golfers?
I started out by saying that I'm not a golfer, so sure you can do a golf lesson, however as a non-golfer, I'm not sure that would pique my interest... and for the "real" golfers, they might not want to be paired with a bunch of newbies... So I asked Eric Redd of Redd Golf for some ideas. Did you know that almost all golf courses have a putting course? There are literally short game coaches that even the professionals hire to help them improve their short game. Imagine your next field event being "PUTT AT PEBBLE BEACH!" It's an approachable, unique, outdoor experience that everyone can get behind!
Or an even more unique twist on getting your golf game on: the science of green grass. Consider creating an event around the behind-the-scenes experiential learning of ground maintenance - how do they keep that grass so perfect all the time?
With over 34,000 golf courses in the world, there's hardly a city on the planet that doesn't have one, so as your sales teams get desperate to get customers together again, maybe a golf outing is something to add to your radar!
And don't forget locations like Top Golf - with over 50 global locations, these outdoor, covered venues are great for rain or shine. Take over a floor and leave an open bay in between groups for even more space. You can bring in golf professionals to help with your swing, and amp up the competition with a number of game options.
But speaking of mini-golf... what about taking over a putt-putt course for a totally different kind of golf event?
You'll need to bring in a caterer, so look for a venue that will let you bring in outside food, but just imagine the team spirit and competition you can create!
Bring some fun, laughter, and levity to your outdoor field events... and bonus: clown head!
Seriously... I'm in.
Liz Lathan, CMP is co-founder of Haute Dokimazo, sparking profitable relationships anchored in genuine connection through rousing shared experiences and conversations. Explore the #HugLife community for event professionals and Convo, a new year-long program for marketing and sales executives.
Haute Dokimazo is part of Haute Companies, a family of companies that believe in human connection, from events to media (podcasts, videos, and more) to direct mail to swag to entertainment talent management to strategy session facilitation.
Contact Liz at email@example.com to inquire about having Haute help you create your next series of golf outings, Top Golf field events, or putt-putt magic!