The Meadows at Mystic Lake, located in Prior Lake — MinnIt’s a history lesson, a scenic trip and a golf game, all in one. Fossil Trace Golf Club in Denver, Colorado includes views of the Rocky Mountains, Golden and Boulder Valleys. Golfers love the 12th green in particular. Course materials describe the sandstone pillars that emerge from the fairway and the 64-million-year-old trace fossils of palm leaves and triceratops footprints that are located on the sandstone walls nearby. This is a public course and was voted Golf Digest’s #2 Best New Public in 2003.Municipal - owned by a city, a town, etc.; open to anyone who pays greens fees. Resort - owned by a resort or hotel; accessibility varies; some resorts restrict facilities to guest use, some may sell memberships, and some are open to the public. Military, University/College and Corporate - These facilities are built for specific users (the military, students/faculty members or company employees). Users generally can bring guests. Like resort courses, facilities may be open to the public or they may accept membership. Residential/Community - owned or managed by a community or a community association, and generally used onlyBy residents and their guests. As a side note, many of the above courses may also operate on a “daily fee” or “pay-as-you-play” basis. “Many pay-as-you-play courses, resort Courses and/or private clubs are wellsuited to a variety of tournaments for both recreational events and various levels of tournament play,” says Doug Carrick of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. “Courses that host PGA Tour events are generally chosen for their location, their overall length and challenge, along with other facilities to support parking, large galleries, corporate tents, tournament merchandizing and sales etc.” Courses are also categorized by length. Shorter courses might include par three or executive courses, but competitive tournament play usually takes place on a championship course. According to Carrick, championship courses “are generally considered to be between a par of 70 and 72 for 18 holes and are of an overall length and quality that is suitable for staging a tournament that would provide a challenging test for skilled golfers. Championship courses can also be accommodating to everyday golfers of average skill.” “The qualities that separate a facility for fun recreational events from more competitive tournaments relate to many of the items noted above,” says Carrick. “The greatest emphasis for a competitive tournament course is the length and challenge of the course, the quality of the course layout, the quality of the course conditions (i. e., the level of maintenance) and the ancillary facilities (i.e., parking, clubhouse, location etc.).” Classification of Courses Courses may also be classified by setting, including topography as well as scenery. Links golf courses have rolling hills, no trees and expanses of open land. They are intended to resemble the courses in eastern Scotland where the game of golf originated. Parkland courses have lush greenery, few trees and turf that is kept very short. (This is a popular type of course, and can be found in many states in the U.S.) Mountain, prairie, forest, desert and oceanside courses are examples of facilities classified by the views the golfer has while playing. In these courses, golf is played not in the mountains, on the beach, etc., but players can see these things around them. (The general topography and slope of the course, however, may reflect some of the surrounding land; for example, a prairie course is rather flat). Heathland courses have gentle slopes and low shrubs; they are designed to resemble the inland courses in England and Scotland. Downs courses have gentle slopes and long, flat stretches of grass; they are designed to resemble the English downs. A Few More Hints Find out if another golf event is scheduled for the course on the same day, since it increases the possibility of confusion, crowding, etc. And of course, make sure the location you’re choosing has weather that is conducive to golf (or any outdoor sporting activity, really). Inclement weather (particularly thunderstorms) will ruin your event. Sheasa Lundy and Ricky Maher of American Civil Constructors in Littleton, Colorado say that the skill level of the golfers should always be taken into consideration when selecting a tournament venue, since “the main thing that makes a course more or less difficult is the topography. Typically, courses with more water play, that have more yardage to cover and fewer acres of turf are Pave System, Div. Of California Products Corp. in Andover, Massachusetts. “Asphalt and concrete are not zero-maintenance items. They become pitted and raveled either through wear or weathering.” Those who are planning a golf event should learn what amenities a course offers, and what will appeal to the type of client who will be playing. “For a corporate event needing a relaxing atmosphere, a semi-private or resort- style course may give the best results,” says Sheasa Lundy. “Laid back, plenty of drinks for everyone and prizes at the end, or a raffle, are typical. For a golf skill camp, choose a course with larger training areas, such as a large driving range, chippingMore difficult. Also, the general geography of the region is a factor. For example, courses in Arizona typically do not have many acres of turf and therefore, you may lose your ball more. The way a course is maintained affects the difficulty as well. The grass can be cut very short, resulting in faster greens, or left a little longer, which makes a shot more difficult.” Lundy and Maher claim that in general, private courses are more difficult than other types. “They are of a higher quality, more expensive, have more maintenance, and have fewer people playing on them. Public courses are usually built with the ‘average Joe’ in mind. They are more player-friendly and usually don’t have many special features that require high maintenance. The goal for a public course is to get in as many rounds per year as they can, so the grounds are not in great shape usually.” The event planner, say the experts, should travel through a potential course, keeping an eye out for things that might appeal (or not appeal) to users. “Cart paths are a neglected item at many facilities,” says Art Tucker of Plexi And putting areas. For a big charity fundraiser or tournament that will attract professional-level players, a high-end private course would probably work best.” A good course, says Jeff Bollig, should want a meeting planner’s business and be willing to work with them. “Golf courses are being extremely creative in attracting business,” notes Bollig. “It involves everything from reducing fees to adding value to the package such as free golf balls, free refreshments, free gifts, prizes, etc. Additional price breaks are given for catered meals. Coupons are provided to attendees for a reduced price for a return visit to the golf course. Some golf courses are providing a quick clinic or group lesson to a group who comes to visit. From the golf course superintendent perspective, the focus is on providing an enjoyable set up that provides the appropriate challenge, yet does not frustrate the participants.” Maybe your love of golf comes from years of playing. Maybe your acquaintance with the game simply comes from laughing at the antics of gophers, golfers and groundskeepers in Caddyshack. Either way, you want the event you’re planning to be a success for your players and, consequently, for you. The good news is that with the right amount of planning, you can score a hole in one.
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