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Tee Time!

Mastering the Tournament

By Toby Saltzman

Pace the Play: Chris Currie, golf manager at Vancouver Island’s Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa, says that planners often want to expedite the golf to facilitate receptions, meetings and fundraising auctions. Occasionally, Currie tucks greens with extra-large cups to quicken pace while reducing putts. Besides opting for a 9-hole round, planners often follow long meetings with a mixer on the resort’s 18-hole putting green.

Level the field: As signature events director of Ronald McDonald House BC and Yukon, Dayna Backus plans annual charity tourneys, often rallying non-golfer participation with a Texas Scramble format where each player in the foursome drives the ball, then plays from the best drive, then best successive shot until sinking the putt. Steven Young, director of golf at Fairmont Banff Springs’ 18-hole Stanley Thompson and 9-hole Tunnel courses, equalizes the playing field with quirky prizes: hit a bunker or water, the player’s name enters a draw; tee off with a hockey stick while wearing hockey gloves and helmet; advance your tee position by correctly answering questions relevant to the company’s brand. He’s also run a murder-mystery on the golf course, starting with the outline of a body in a bunker.

Energize hole sponsorship: Among Backus’ faves, besides hole-in-one or beat-the-pro games: the ChampionChip, chipping the ball into the hole from a select spot on the rough wins a car; bowling with a soccer ball to knock a pin off the green; and longest drive of a marshmallow, using a chipper or driver. To win a La-Z-Boy chair, participants shoot at the mechanism to make the chair recline.

Golf for dollars: Mei McCurdy, executive director, Whistler Blackcomb Foundation for registered non-profit charities, organizes the TELUS Golf Classic at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club. For the Monster Energy sponsor, the pro created a Monster Drive contest where players drive from a scaffold set on an elevated tee; players paid to participate and the longest drive won half the pot. Currie says CEOs often add extra prizes for golfers who correctly answer company-related trivia questions that are posted on the carts’ GPS.

Rethink fairway fare: Instead of lunch bags, McCurdy organizes sponsored food stations at every hole, offering champagne and oysters to burgers and beer to cupcakes.

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