Gear Up for Drive-Through Prize Ceremonies

Patrick Bowers.

Singapore: Drive-through prize ceremonies could soon replace traditional prize-giving procedures at golf clubs, according to Patrick Bowers, a respected professional in the golf, resort development and sports management industries.

As golf clubs seek to combat the threat posed by the Covid-19 pandemic with new and appealing measures for their members, Bowers is suggesting an innovative approach to hosting the prize-giving ceremonies and handing out prizes at club events and corporate golf outings.

“I think the playing of the game on the course can be mitigated with things like not pulling out the pin and one person per cart. So, the actual playing of the game will be okay,” said Bowers, Founder and Chief Executive of Vantage Pointe, a specialised boutique firm offering strategic advisory for golf club developers, entrepreneurs and family offices.

More pertinent, says the former Managing Director and CEO at Singapore’s Laguna National Golf & Country Club, is how clubs and companies handle the camaraderie component of golf moving forward.

Bowers said: “It’s such a huge part of golf – shaking hands after the game, high-fiving when you make a putt, having beers together. That’s when a lot of the corporate business is done as well.

“So, how about having a drive-in style prize ceremony with everybody with their own cart assembled on the 18th hole with a big screen behind them? The winners drive up and take their prizes on a drive through basis from someone with gloves on their hands.

“We’ve seen innovative things done like that already with concerts where people come in their car to traditional drive-in sites for techno-concerts with a live DJ. These are the kind of things that companies and golf clubs are going to have to deal with as far as the camaraderie component.

“If you don’t have a vaccine, cramming 144 people into a clubhouse together is not going to be available. So, you’re going to have to have some creative ideas to deal with that.”

On a broader scale, Bowers credits those responsible for touting new initiatives for what golf courses and hotels of the future will look like.

He said: “One of the biggest challenges we’re going to see is that hotels, golf and tourism are very heavily skewed towards service. Those who offer fantastic service, put a lot of time and effort and finances into training, often see fantastic results, great ratings, go to the top of ‘100 best’ lists around the world.

“It’s going to be very interesting in this post Covid-19 world to see if there’s a pivot or a shift required to things like cleanliness and disinfectant and being the cleanest hotel and being the most sanitised hotel, as opposed to the one that walks you to your room with a handshake, or as opposed to a golf course that has four people greeting you at the front door. These are going to be some of the challenges they’re going to face.

“The golf industry and large hotel operators have put together some significant recommendations that can be very easily implemented. But it will require finances … and a huge sea change in the mindset because of the way in which the industry is used to operating.”

Bowers expressed his view during a LinksAsia webinar about the future of the golf industry in Asia, alongside Bill Lisle, AIA’s Regional Chief Executive, and Eric Lynge, Chief Executive Officer of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.

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