ConventionSouth

NOV 2017

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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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 7 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 30 GOLF, RECREATION & RELATIONSHIPS with their families. "We have a golf course that was purchased by U.S. Kids Golf and hosts the U.S. Kids Team and U.S. World Championship in July and August: the Longleaf Golf and Fam- ily Club," said Stewart. "What they've done is make the game of golf fun for everyone. Instead of struggling as a novice, you hit the driver and whatever your distance is, you play from that. You and your friends can go out there and have a great day. It wouldn't take you five hours to play and you can say you golfed an 84, thanks to starting at your own length. You can make it a fun tournament and not grueling in any way." Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in- the-Hills, Fla., offers two 18-hole golf courses, including El Campéon, which was ranked among the Top 20 course in the world in a recent Golf Advisor poll, according to Director of Sales and Marketing Drew Toth. "El Campéon and its sister course, Las Colinas, are well-suited for champi- onship tournaments or friendly outings. That's the beauty of Mission Inn's golf course offerings: there is something for every type of golfer. Plus, a professional tournament planning staff paves the way to make it seamless for the meeting planner," he said. With many tournaments utilizing Mission Inn's golfing amenities, some planners are ready to share their excitement with others. Jim Owen, di- rector of golf at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta and organizer of the NCAA Division III Men's and Women's Golf Championships, emphasizes his belief in the venue as an ideal locale for tournaments: "It's challenging to please so many people for a week but Mission Inn pulled it off … again. With two bona fide championship-caliber courses, honestly, I don't want to go anywhere else!" Shannon Stephens, events coordinator for Florida Farm Bureau Insurance, also offered high praise. Mission Inn's centralized location in the state and two quality courses make it the ideal spot to accommodate our statewide agency force," she said "We will hold our statewide meetings and golf event there again this year as we have for the last several and look forward to again enjoying the top-notch golf facilities and professional service we always have in the past." Setting Up A Tournament If you're interested in planning a tournament, there are some steps that you can follow to make it a seamless part of your event or an event by itself. Destination and hospitality officials offer their advice for setting it up. "You will need to identify the golf course and you have to identify the format you want to play," said Beverly Stewart, vice president of sales for the Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen Area CVB in N.C.—the destination officially known as The Home of American Golf. "Are you going to have four people at each hole or a twosome? What kind of start do you want? A shotgun start means that all teams start at a hole and go off at the same time. In addition, you have to determine the players' skill levels and put those who are at the same level of play together. If you have a scratch golfer with a zero handicap, you wouldn't TOP TIPS For Tournament Planners It's official: more and more planners are seeing the value in having a tournament as part of their event. Golf pros and meeting professionals at prestigious golf venues across the South have some advice for planners who are curious about adding a tournament to their events. Here are some of the top pieces of advice that may come in handy when you're ready to swing your event toward a tournament: ► Use the destination's CVB: it can pro- vide info on the best course and more for your tournament needs. ► Use the people at the resort and pro shops to help you plan the tournament. ► Attend as many events with tourna- ments incorporated as you can before planning your tournament to get some fun or maybe even out-of-the-box ideas. ► Add fun contests and prizes for less-serious tournaments and for those who aren't as competitive. ► Keep it fun! n A reinvented GOLF COURSE Famous for its golfing options, The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club recently opened a reimagined golf course for tourna- ments and other golfing fun for attendees. "Our championship golf course was dramatically – and beautifully – redesigned a year ago by golf legend and renowned course designer Jack Nicklaus, along with acclaimed course architect John Sanford, to challenge the best players but also be enjoyable for all golf- ers," said Jason Parsons, general manager of the property. "The course plays 'firm and fast,' with gently contoured greens, which allows for multiple hole locations and continuous movement that challenges all skill levels. As the par-71 course features five tees, ranging from 4,800 yards to over 6,900 yards, it is terrific for golfers of every skill level." n

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