Desert Mountain 2 Golf
April 2017 Industry Report

Expanded Wellness Programming

Virtually each CNBC commercial break extolls the benefits of diversification in financial planning.

Private clubs are realizing the importance of appealing to a broader audience beyond a core golfer.

For example, private communities expanded fitness and spa areas by 22% to an average of nearly 15,000 square feet over the past three years.

Two of the more creative wellness ideas I have come across:


(1)  Most private clubs have Member/Guest Tournaments for golf and tennis. Consider establishing a Member/Guest Spa Event. Schedule the Spa Member/Guest event during slow periods on the calendar or when the weather favors indoor activities. At Frenchman’s Creek in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, their Spa Member/Guest “tee prize,” is a beach bag tote and a water bottle with fruit infuser.

(2)  Consider adding an aqua spin class with specialty bikes made in Italy that utilizes water as resistance or gyrotonic machines that stress rotational movement in many directions (great for the golf swing).


Is your club’s philosophy a Motorola Startac (circa 1986) or an iPhone 7s?

During my travels, I heard a story that crystalized in my mind the slow nature of our industry to embrace change. A guest was invited to play a “top-10” private club in the country. As he approached the front door of the clubhouse, the attendance politely asked if a cell phone was on his person. Responding yes…the attendant reminded the guest that the club had a no cell phone policy that extended to even having the phone on your person. The guest happily agreed to place his phone in the car and set out to the parking lot. He sat in the car…with the windows up…to call his wife to alert her that he would be “off the grid” for the next five hours. As he was talking to his wife, the attendant knocked on his window and reminded him – no cell phone calls on property – including in your car!


You may applaud the club’s firm stance or be as shocked as I at the disconnect from today’s societal expectations. As of 2012, 40% of private golf clubs had no female board members. Maybe a female perspective explaining the need to “keep in touch” is in order.


Did you know?

– The total landmass of golf courses in the United States equals about ½ the state of Connecticut.

– A typical 18-hole golf course produces enough oxygen to support 4,000 – 7,000 people.

– A golf course produces a cooling effect. During the hot summer months it can be 7 – 15 degrees cooler than an urban/downtown setting.

– The stimpmeter was developed in the early 1900s to measure the uniformity of green speed from one hole to another. It is best used to compare greens on the same course, not to compare greens from one course to another.

– In the 1960s putting green turf was typically cut at ¼ inch. Today, in tournament competition, it is 1/8 inch or less.



Be a part of Arnie’s Army

In 1959, Arnold Palmer was defending champion at the Masters. It was also the first year the tournament was televised. So to fill the gallery (in the early years the Masters did not sell out), Clifford Roberts, co-founder of Augusta National, offered free passes to any soldier who showed up in uniform. Many, not knowing golf, followed Arnie as defending champion.  One of the GI’s working the back-nine scoreboard announced the arrival of “Arnie’s Army” and the moniker stuck.


The Nolet family, creators of Ketel One Vodka, and Mr. Palmer had a multi-decade personal and professional relationship. In honoring Mr. Palmer’s  legacy, Ketel One is donating $100,000 to Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation.


I imagine you are always looking for special tee prizes or welcome amenities. I think I have a timely idea for your consideration.


Ketel One has created an Arnold Palmer Collector’s Edition bottle that reads, “Dear Mr. Palmer, This one’s for you.” The nostalgic black and white vignette of Mr. Palmer on the course is accented with his iconic signature and an open golf umbrella in red, yellow, white and green—his company logo since 1961.


I imagine the Palmer brand carries great nostalgia and respect with your members and demographic. I consider the bottle a keepsake not to be opened.


Ketel One has programming that can be deployed to your private club management in support of the Arnold Palmer Collector’s Edition bottle. For more information, please email Mark Rappel at


The next time you are having a bad day

For my current cover story on Lake Nona in Orlando, I was fortunate enough to interview Henrik Stenson. I asked him for a story that few knew about him. His answer:


“I turned my full attention to golf when I was 14 years old, but my success did have its fair share of speed bumps. As a teenager, I had long hair. During a golf camp, I overheard the instructor say, ‘I’ve never seen a girl hit the ball that far.’ I was upset, embarrassed, and a haircut soon followed.” – Henrik Stenson

Special offer: Mauna Kea Resort’s 44th Annual Pro-Am

Last year, 25 teams competed during Mauna Kea Resort’s Pro-Am, a Big Island of Hawaii tradition since 1972. Should you be able to field a team with only three paid members, your room, golf, most meals, and airfare up to $900 is covered – a value of $4,500 to you. For an invitation, please email me at



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