ConventionSouth

NOV 2016

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 6 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 23 Not all meeting attendees are dedicated golfers, however, and Stilwell understands that many groups want to use golf as a fun activity and for team-building. "One of the best team- building events we are involved with is a golf skills competition that includes target games, ranging from long drive to the 'Big Break,' which provides the golfers the opportunity to try to break panes of glass with golf balls," he said. "Pinehurst [Golf Resort] has team putting competitions that include glow-in-the-dark night- golf activities, and we also work with Acura, which is the preferred vehicle of Pinehurst, to provide an Acura for the longest putt (100-plus yards). Some of our events include alternate- shot-type formats that require the golfers of varying skills to work as a team during the round." He also said some courses have found ways to make golf more enjoyable for kids, beginners and non-golfers. "We are seeing golf courses shorten the length of the courses to make the rounds more enjoyable for beginner and non- golfers," he said. "A great example of this is what U.S. Kids Golf is doing at Longleaf Golf & Family Club in Southern Pines. Each hole has seven sets of tees and each tee is color coded. On the driving range, the golfer hits shots to color- coded markers and their average distance on the ranges matches up with the color-coded tees on the course. If I hit the ball 200 yards near a yellow marker on the driving range, then I hit from the yellow tees. Based on the skill level of the golfers, they can now par or birdie a hole, making the round more enjoyable. You are also seeing golf courses develop natural putting courses like Pinehurst's Thistle Dhu putting course or short courses with holes that range from 50 to 100 yards like Longleaf's new Bottlebrush course. This provides everyone with a taste of the game of golf but you don't have to be serious golfers to enjoy it. The shorter the course the less time required for the activity." Setting Goals For Golf & Recreational Events Jack Schmidt, director of sales and marketing at both the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club on the Duke University campus and the new JB Duke Hotel, set to open January 2017 in Durham, N.C., emphasized the huge role that golf can play in the success of a meeting and said that he and his staff start out by asking the planner what the objective is when helping plan golf events. "Do they want a straight-up tournament or would they prefer a modification that allows for more fun for golfers of varying levels and even for non-golfers? Once we know what they are expecting, it is easy for us to put together something that suits their purpose and works for their attendees," he said. "Something we have found that is fun for everyone is 'night golf,' where we use glow-in-the-dark golf balls, pins and cups. We've had great luck with putting contests and we can add all sorts of twists to those, adding obstacles and almost making it into goofy golf." The staff can also set up and run a conventional golf tournament within the context of a meeting – or before or after the business event itself, he added. Schmidt said that both properties are an integral part of Duke University and have a sense of purpose that goes above and beyond that of a typical resort. "We host a great many groups and associations that have a relationship with the University or have a presence in the Research Triangle," he said. "There are many medical, health care and scientific groups that choose to meet here because of their relationship with the university hospital and research facilities. However, we also host any number of groups that are not affiliated in any way with Duke, including national and regional trade associations, professional groups and corporate meetings." Additionally, the Duke University hotels and golf facilities are frequently used for charitable golf events. One of the biggest and best is the Jim Valvano Kids Klassic, which benefits the Duke University Children's Hospital. ► GOLF, RECREATION & RELATIONSHIPS Pinehurst #9 in Pinehurst, N.C. The 9th Hole at Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club in Durham, N.C. Pinehurst/Southern Pines/Aberdeen Area CVB

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