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Idea Fair

Scottish Golf Day

How has this idea enhanced your club's operation, etc.?

Scottish Golf Day kicks off our golf season in the cold, gray, late days of winter when golf rounds are otherwise slow. Beginning in February 2008, the men of Belle Meade, Tennessee have channeled their inner Scotsmen, embracing the history and continuing the fight of the Highlanders of Scotland, who wanted emancipation from George I of England, and the army of the Black Watch, who were employed to protect England and its empire. Nearly 200 men register for the Scottish Golf Day lottery, for which 80 spaces are available. A lottery draw is held in the Men’s Locker Room following registration. A Kick-off Party is held in the Men’s Locker Room the Friday night before the big battle. Saturday morning, 36-holes of foursome match play: Black Watch versus Highlanders. In foursome match play, two play against two and each side plays one ball. The partners play alternately from the teeing ground and alternately during the play of each hole. There are a few exemptions from the lottery being: Team Captains and Assistant Captains, Previous Captain from each team, Club President and Green Committee Chairman. In addition, each Captain is allowed three Captain’s Picks.

The non-traditional, yet historical and lively theme coupled with the opportunity for “shenanigans” makes this one of our most sought-after events of the season. Food & beverage sees increased revenue during this time as these weary, cold golfers enjoy top shelf scotch a’plenty to keep warm while wearing their kilts, and enjoy a full lunch spread between rounds fit for famished warriors. Additionally, the losing team “picks up the tab,” which has traditionally encouraged confident golfers to take advantage. Lastly, you can imagine Black Watch and Highlander tartans are hard to find outside of Scotland. Luckily our Golf Shop is well stocked and sees an increase in sales, being the one stop shop for Scottish flare for 80 golfers.

How was this idea implemented, and what have been the club members' reactions?

Scottish Golf Day began in 2008, and quickly became one of our most popular tournaments. We hold registration for 24 hours only. When members join the club they are designated to one of two Scottish Golf Day teams: the Black Watch (green) or the Highlanders (red), and they will forever be on that team. Members have gone so far as to grow their hair and dye it green, and reschedule their anniversary dinner because it fell on Scottish Golf Day; the loyalty runs deep. Members go all out with the theme, donning their team’s tartans and kilts on frosty February days while they sing along to bagpipers. During lunch, as the kitchen roasts the meat, the team captains traditionally rally their troops with a roast and comedy act of their own. This extremely non-traditional atmosphere on property is one many members thirst to be a part of.

About the author

Joe Callison

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