March 2020 Industry Report

An analysis of the number of times a golf course photo was hash-tagged on Instagram reveals The Old Course at St. Andrews is the most popular worldwide golf facility on the social media platform. The most recognized American course on Instagram? Not unexpectedly is Pebble Beach Golf Links.

The power of six

Over the past decade, the drumbeat of private clubs adding non-golf amenities and family-friendly activities has grown louder. Many times facilities are forced to juggle scarce capital when evaluating which member enhancements to green light, often to the detriment of the game of golf itself. In a golf market as large as America’s (with an estimated 25 million players), there’s a niche in the marketplace to serve avid golfers solely looking for a quality, pure-play day on the links.

Dormie Network, with six highly regarded private golf clubs under its umbrella, established a mission to deliver the highest caliber golf experience where one membership provides full privileges at all facilities. Current facilities include Ballyhack in Virginia, ArborLinks in Nebraska, Briggs Ranch in Texas, Dormie Club in North Carolina, Victoria National (a Golf Digest Top 100 Course in America) in Indiana, and Hidden Creek Golf Club in New Jersey. More:

Aloha calling

The tradition of presenting a lei as a symbol of welcome was introduced to the Hawaiian Islands by early Polynesians. In Hawaiian custom, these garlands were worn by royalty to beautify themselves and note their class in society. The Plumeria (introduced to Hawaii by a German botanist in 1860) is one of most fragrant and prolific flowers found in leis.

“The flower has a rich history with a wide variety of meanings, including grace, new beginnings, and beauty,” explained Josh Silliman, director of golf at Mauna Kea Resort. “So, it’s fitting that our resort’s logo is the Plumeria. Mauna Kea symbolizes all the uplifting meanings the flower represents.”

Last year, 28 teams competed for almost $30,000 in cash and gift cards during the 46th annual Mauna Kea Pro-Am on the Big Island. The five-night, four-day event is a four-person, 54-hole tournament consisting of three amateurs and one professional. The 2020 Mauna Kea Pro-Am will take place December 8 – 13. Should you field a team, your room, golf, most meals, and even airfare are complimentary. For a formal invitation, email me at

Litigation case of the month

It has been more than four years since the refusal of an insurance company to reimburse the host of the Greenbrier Classic tournament in West Virginia for monies paid after two professionals aced the 18th hole. The payments were made pursuant to a promotion promising that all grandstand spectators would receive a cash prize in the event of a hole-in-one. The tournament sponsor acted rationally in securing an insurance policy… so it thought. It turned out, however, that the policy obligated the insurance company to pay only if the length of the hole was at least 170 yards. On the day in question, however, the tees were up on #18 and the hole played only 137 yards. Thus, the insurance company refused to pay. The court’s final decision? The contract was “clear and unambiguous” and agreed the hole-in-one insurance contract terms were violated. Lesson learned – read the fine print. It makes me think of the funny Geico Insurance commercials. The talking gecko is portrayed to be your friend. It is not. Contract terms are contract terms.

A Tiger’s roar in the Ozarks grows louder

In conservation circles, Johnny Morris, founder of Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri, is often referred to as a modern day Teddy Roosevelt for his commitment to protecting natural habitats for future generations. The resort’s Tiger Woods design, Payne’s Valley, named after Ozarks native and golf legend Payne Stewart makes its official opening this spring. More:

The Western Home of Golf in America

The Club at PGA West opened its first of six courses (five open for resort play) in 1986. As the development expanded and additional courses added, the community earned a well-deserved nickname “The Western Home of Golf in America.” A new option to consider if you are looking for a desert experience is to book with La Quinta Resort Leasing, allowing you and your family the opportunity to rent a home on property at PGA West and enjoy the amenities of La Quinta Resort & Club. More:

Longtime supporter of women’s golf

Last year marked the 12th consecutive year of increased play at French Lick Resort, an enviable statistic in a sport that has seen a slow, yet steady, erosion in participation. The resort will host two notable tournaments in July: the Symetra Tour Donald Ross Classic (for tomorrow’s superstars) and the Senior LPGA Championship (for past legends). “Our involvement provides competition for both ends of the spectrum,” expressed Dave Harner, director of golf operations. “We are proud to be a big supporter of women’s golf and it makes good business sense. After all, women are typically the key decision makers for recreational travel.” More:


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