Kristina Skalak, the Seabrook Island Club Marketing Director, and I took a trip to Houston last month to take part in the third annual meeting of the Franklin Club! This is an organization put together by PGA Magazine and includes a myriad of Developers, Broker and Marketing types from golf communities all over the country. We met at a new community called “Bluejack National” where Tiger Woods has just finished his first golf course designed in the United States.
The Franklin Club is an interesting group of real world entrepreneurs, and I am always struck by their overriding optimism and desire to search for new things that their clients want to see in today’s golf communities. There is never any doom and gloom talk about when the stock market will have its next crash or why golf rounds are down. Rather, it’s about the new ways communities are finding to provide a fun, family environment. We heard a lot of talk about “short courses,” the trend toward courses designed with no specific number of holes and with shorter holes so it can be played more quickly and by all members of the family.
When we took the tour of Tiger’s new full 18-hole course, we were surprised to find that it was purposely designed so players would find their balls quickly in the “rough” (if you could call it that.) He made it virtually impossible to lose a ball. The plan is to have low, smooth grass within the trees lining the fairways.
We also found “Blake’s Fishing Dock & Fish Camp” situated along a pond, right out on the golf course, where kids of all ages could learn to fish from a full-time Club fishing guide – right out of Old Man and the Sea.
Before getting ready to tee of the 12 hole par three, members take a minute at the “Jerky Shack” to have Jerky or Smoked Pork, and a beer or bourbon on tap. Even the golf carts were four-seaters, designed for full family use.
In the roundtable discussions, we heard stories about the same trends towards more active and family oriented activities, which complemented traditional golf, from communities in Snake River, to San Lucas, from Baldhead to the Bahamas and well beyond. We had a great time, thank you to the Franklin Club, PGA Magazine and Bluejack National for the invitation!
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