Meetings on the Green: Planning a Golf Retreat

By Lain Ehmann

The old adage about business getting done on the golf course is a stereotype for a reason – it’s true. People bond over shared experiences, and if that experience includes a little friendly competition and a gorgeous day in a stunning setting, so much the better. But before you shove everyone out the door and load them into golf carts, here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Know your crowd. Do you have a group of dedicated golfers or a bunch of weekend hackers? Do you need to challenge them or offer lessons with the resident pro so they know which end of the club is up? Figure out who you’re planning for so you know what will please them. Just being at a top-notch facility might be enough to jazz dedicated golfers, but those who are less experienced might appreciate prizes for most improved, best style and worst drive.
  • Know your goals. Are you hoping to reward your company’s high-achievers or trying to foster a greater sense of team spirit among the entire sales force? What you want to accomplish will determine what format you choose. For example, a scramble where the team plays from the best drive of their foursome keeps things moving and nurtures teambuilding.
  • Keep things lively. Just as the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon has made its mark on the running world by offering a different band each mile of the 26-mile course, you can keep spirits high by investing in some added entertainment. Try music at one hole, a specialty food or drink at another and a surprise guest such as a company VIP or golf celebrity at a third hole.
  • Think beyond the green. Creating a memorable day includes offering top-notch noshes before and after the round. MeetingNews Magazine reports that while barbeque buffets are still popular, many companies are opting for dinners with different types of food, such as stations offering pasta, sushi and carved meats. But healthy doesn’t mean ascetic; dessert is still a must-have. Even the traditional box lunch can be revamped to include more energy-laden, gourmet fare: Think regional specialties such as jerk chicken, grilled chicken wraps and seasonal fruits and veggies.
  • Ask for help. Golf outings involve a plethora of specialized knowledge, and your ignorance can be glaring – and impairing – if you don’t get the prep help you need. To make the event successful, you might need to know how to pair players, create competitive formats, handle the scoring, organize a rain contingency and more – in addition to planning food and beverage. Let the resort’s professional staff handle the details.