2013 Tournament Planning Guide
Four Season Resort and Club
Dallas at Las Colinas
Let Us Be Your Guide
Scott Davey is still getting used to this weather.
No, he didn’t come from the North, where golf only happens about six months out of the year. Davey spent most of his life in Florida, where golf is played year-round as opposed to the two seasons (spring/summer, and the fall) found here.
Davey started in the golf business as a 16-year-old and played golf at Webber College in Florida. He graduated from there and began his career in the golf industry at a Tampa-area golf club. He worked his way up into the pro shop and then took a job at a golf club in Clearwater, Fla.
In 2000, he got one of the most revered posts that a Florida golf pro could have: head golf professional at the Doral Golf Resort in Miami. Davey stayed at the posh resort until 2004, when he became a general manager at a golf club in Melbourne, Fla. He stayed there for six years until he became a regional manager and oversaw six golf clubs in the Tampa area. That’s when he heard about an opening in the Dallas area for a general manager at Bear Creek Golf Club ... and took the job.
While Bear Creek does indeed host its fair share of charity and corporate golf tournaments, it only does about a third of the amount of golf events Doral does in a year. So it goes without saying: Davey knows a thing or two about how to run a golf tournament.
When you came to Bear Creek, I’m sure you were well aware of the reputation the golf club has as a tournament hub. What have you done to maintain that reputation, and even enhance it?
Our service levels here are utterly amazing. It’s like clockwork. We have a program that stresses customer service. We do videos, go through a lot of training and role playing. It’s an extensive program, but the feedback that we get from tournament coordinators we bring back to our departments so we can become better. And that helps us build relationships with those tournament coordinators.
When it comes to those tournament coordinators who have done this before, do you still guide them on what works best or leave it up to them?
No, we definitely guide and help them in any way that we can. With those coordinators it’s about being more efficient with things like registration, developing special events that they can do and making more money for their charities. We basically hold their hand a month before their event. Once they give us the pairings list, we tell them it all falls on us. We’ll set up the registration for them and do everything from there on in.
Sometimes, though, the number of players is the hardest thing to get from tournament coordinators.
What I do is call the tournament coordinator three weeks out and see where they’re at when it comes to players. Then every week I will contact them until seven days out, when I will assign one of my assistant professionals to their event. From that point on, it’s his duty to take over and run that tournament. We ask the tournament coordinator for the pairings 48 hours before their event and put them into our tournament-pairing program. Yet, we won’t tweak them until the day of the event. So if there are any changes, it’s really easy for us to do them.
What do you harp on with tournament coordinators regarding the day of their event?
Making sure they are happy, organized and understand that once they come to the property they know how the event is going to flow. Where the carts will be, how the bag drop will work, where they will go after the event, how it’s going to run, where to conduct the putting contests and how to run the shuttles to and from the range. The tournament coordinator will know that once they step foot on the property that everything is under our control and they’ll have nothing to worry about other than making their players happy. That’s the ultimate goal.
It seems tournament coordinators, especially the newbies, work feverishly on so many things that they forget who the tournament really helps. On the flip side, those who have done tournaments before also run into some issues along the way.
For those new to coordinating an event, figure out what the goal is for the tournament. Once they figure that out, pick a course and pick that staff’s brain and ask the appropriate questions about timelines, the day of the event, when to go on walk-throughs, etc. Ask about any and everything because it can be overwhelming. As for repeat tournament coordinators, try to make more money by sprucing up things with post-round events or contests. Take all the closest-to-the-pin winners and have a shootout for a cash prize or one of our hole-in-one packages. This raises more money while also creating a buzz.
I’m sure throughout your career you’ve seen some impressive prizes won either for first place or for making a hole-in-one.
When I was at Doral, someone aced the ninth hole from 185 yards out on the Blue Monster Course and won a $95,000 Hummer. I couldn’t believe it. That’s the most expensive thing I’ve ever seen won. I would have sold it back to the dealer and paid the taxes on the money.